THE DIVIDED BRAIN is the mind-altering documentary inspired by the book, “The Master and His Emissary” by Iain McGilchrist. It features Iain McGilchrist with duelling scientists that include V.S. Ramachandran, Onur Gunturkun, Jill Bolte Taylor, Leroy Little Bear, Colwyn Trevarthen, and more plus the former Archbishop of Canterbury, Rowan Williams, actor John Cleese, and your brain.

Read on to learn about the film and meet the creative team. 

THE DIVIDED BRAIN documentary

Once in a generation someone puts forth a seemingly audacious idea that completely changes the way we see the world around us.

Dr. Iain McGilchrist might just be that person.

He has been compared to Charles Darwin and Sigmund Freud. His recent book “The Master and His Emissary” – 20 years in the making – has been praised by some prominent scientists and thinkers as “a dazzling masterpiece” and possibly “the book of the century”. Yet others remain unconvinced.

 

THE DIVIDED BRAIN is a mind-altering odyssey

 

Iain McGilchrist and Jill Bolte Taylor

Iain McGilchrist and Jill Bolte Taylor with Jill’s collection of brain sculptures. “The Divided Brain” documentary

THE DIVIDED BRAIN is a mind-altering odyssey about one man’s quest to prove a growing imbalance in our brains, and help us understand how this makes us increasingly unable to grapple with critical economic, environmental and social issues; ones that shape our very future as a species.

THE DIVIDED BRAIN follows McGilchrist on a journey of discovery as he travels to meet his biggest champions and critics and defends his unique vision of the implications of his theory. Dr. Ian McGilchrist is a soft-spoken British psychiatrist and neuroscientist but one who may have uncovered an insidious problem with the way our brains function. He believes that one half of our brain – the left hemisphere – is slowly taking power, and we in the Western world are simultaneously feeding its ambitions. This half of the brain is very proficient at creating technologies, procedures and systems, but it cannot understand the implications of these on the people and the world around it.

Has our society been hijacked by the left hemisphere?

 

Is it too late?

McGilchrist knows that if he is right, we may be creating the technologies and the conditions that will spell our own downfall. With the clock ticking on critical issues, he must make his case and find ways to restore the balance before it’s too late?

Meet the man at the centre of the story, Dr. Iain McGilchrist

Iain McGilchrist

Iain McGilchrist

Author, "The Master and his Emissary: The Divided Brain and the Making of the Western World"

Iain McGilchrist is a psychiatrist and writer who practiced in London, but now lives on the Isle of Skye, where he continues to write and make a living by lecturing.

He is committed to the idea that the mind and brain can be understood only by seeing them in the broadest possible context, that of the whole of our physical and spiritual existence, and of the wider human culture in which they arise – the culture which helps to mould, and in turn is moulded by, our minds and brains.

He was a late entrant to medicine. After a scholarship to Winchester College, he was awarded a scholarship to New College, Oxford, where he read English. He was awarded a Prize Fellowship of All Souls College, Oxford in 1975, teaching English literature and pursuing interests in philosophy and psychology. He then went on to train in medicine. He was formerly a Consultant Psychiatrist of the Bethlem Royal and Maudsley NHS Trust in London. He is a Fellow of the Royal College of Psychiatrists.

He has published original articles in a wide range of papers and journals on topics in literature, medicine and psychiatry. His first book, “Against Criticism”, was published by Faber in 1982 and deals with issues of the wholeness, uniqueness and embodied nature of the work of art, which are continuous with his current concern, the relationship between the history of ideas and shifts in brain hemisphere function, the subject of “The Master and his Emissary: The Divided Brain and the Making of the Western World.”

Meet the Creative Team

Vanessa Dylyn

Vanessa Dylyn

Producer

A successful producer of award-winning high-concept documentaries and factual programming, Vanessa’s recent credits include Into the Inferno (Netflix), a Werner Herzog documentary about our relationship with volcanoes, The Woman Who Joined the Taliban, for the CBC, and Leslie Caron: The Reluctant Star – an arts documentary on the career of Leslie Caron, star of An American in Paris, for ARTE and TVO; and .

Amongst her recent projects is the Gemini-winning film The Musical Brain featuring Sting and other stars like Feist, Michael Buble and Wyclef Jean. This film was a thrilling revolutionary investigation into how the brain reveals why music is so important to us. Vanessa also produced The Mystery of San Nicandro, a feature-length film for CBC’s Documentary channel about a story of mass conversion to Judaism in Italy; and Fixing My Brain, the story of Barbara Arrowsmith who re-wired her own brain, one of the highest-rated films in the history of CBC’s strand The Lens.

Previous to her television career, Vanessa was an actor and theatre producer who adapted works for the stage, including several novels of the Booker Prize winner, Julian Barnes.

Manfred Becker

Manfred Becker

Director

Manfred grew up in postwar Germany. After studying journalism and film at the University of Dortmund, he arrived in Toronto in 1983 for a one-year practicum at a commercial production house and decided to stay in Canada. He began his long association with the National Film Board, co-editing The Journey with Academy Award winning director Peter Watkins (Berlinade, TIFF 1987). In 1991, Manfred became principal editor for Barna-Alper Productions for their non- fiction work.

In 2001 Manfred decided it was time to step into the light and create his own films. He has directed and written a dozen documentaries for television, which have been screened at festivals around the world, and received numerous nominations and awards, like Fatherland (Munich Filmfest 2007), which received the Donald Brittain Gemini for best social-political Documentary in Canada.

In addition to directing his own, Manfred continues to edit and write for filmmakers Thomas Wallner, Velcrow Ripper, Nettie Wild, and others. Manfred also teaches at the Film & Video Department of York and Ryerson Universities as well as the Seneca and Humber Colleges.

Stephen Milton

Stephen Milton

Writer

Stephen recently produced five of the eight hour-long episodes in season two of History Television’s popular Museum Secrets series. He wrote and produced Aftermath: Population Zero (highest rated program for Nat Geo in 2008); he also developed the subsequent Aftermath: The Series, and co-wrote two of the episodes. Milton also produced two seasons of Discovery’s Mean Machines series.

As the producer of Convoy, co-produced with the UK’s Darlow Smithson, he wrote the final episode. Milton wrote and produced two World War One two-hour specials for History Television, Passchendaele: The Underground War and Digging up the Trenches.

Ian Kelso

Ian Kelso

Creative Lead, Digital

Ian is a writer and creative producer working almost exclusively in digital. Over the past two decades he has overseen the development of large consumer websites, niche retail apps and cross-platform interactive documentaries. Ian is currently producing a location-based service for motorcycle riders called Sync Ride that features eight original mini-documentaries commissioned from filmmakers around the world. In other lives Ian writes regular motorcycle reviews, runs a neuroscience-based educational game company and is currently co-founding a new startup in the area of augmented reality. Ian has a Bachelor of Fine Arts from York University in Toronto.

Cathleen MacDonald

Cathleen MacDonald

Producer and Technical Lead, Digital

Cathleen MacDonald (Working Animals series, Moving On series, Animal IQ Test) is a creative entrepreneur in broadcast, digital media, and distribution. She is the founder of Motion Picture Enterprises where she produces screen-based stories that reveal the human and natural worlds and challenge assumptions. She is a former distributor with VEC-Criterion Pictures, serves as a juror and mentor for industry organizations and funders, is the Chair of the technology group StartupReactor, and is on the Board of Directors for the Oakville Festivals of Film and Arts. She is currently producing the drama series, Alive, about teens who are struggling with mental illnesses and Greening the Brownfields, a documentary about rehabilitating contaminated industrial lands and converting them to urban greenspaces.

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