Magic Trip

In 1964, Ken Kesey, the famed author of “One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest,” set off on a legendary, LSD-fuelled cross-country road trip to the New York World’s Fair. He was joined by “The Merry Band of Pranksters,” a renegade group of counterculture truth-seekers, including Neal Cassady, the American icon immortalized in Kerouac’s “On the Road,” and the driver and painter of the psychedelic Magic Bus. Kesey and the Pranksters intended to make a documentary about their trip, shooting footage on 16MM, but the film was never finished and the footage has remained virtually unseen. With MAGIC TRIP, Oscar-winning director Alex Gibney and Alison Ellwood were given unprecedented access to this raw footage by the Kesey family. They worked with the Film Foundation, HISTORY and the UCLA Film Archives to restore over 100 hours of film and audiotape, and have shaped an invaluable document of this extraordinary piece of American history.


ALEX GIBNEY (Director/Producer/Screenwriter) Alex Gibney is the winner of the 2008 Academy Award for Best Documentary for Taxi to the Dark Side. In 2006, Gibney wrote, produced and directed the Oscar-nominated film, Enron: The Smartest Guys in the Room, which received the Independent Spirit Award and the WGA Award.

He has directed Client 9: The Rise and Fall of Eliot Spitzer; Magic Trip and The Last Gladiators. His most recently released films are Mea Maxima Culpa: Silence in the House of God, a story of sex abuse in the Catholic church and Park Avenue: Money, Power and the American Dream, which examines the stratification of wealth in America. He just completed We Steal Secrets: The Story of WikiLeaks for Focus Features.

ALISON ELLWOOD (Director/Screenwriter/Editor)

Alison Ellwood is an award winning documentary director, producer and editor.   Alison made her feature-length directorial debut in 2011, with the psychedelic doc, “Magic Trip:  Ken Kesey’s Search for a Kool Place,” which premiered at the Sundance Film Festival.  In 2013, she directed two feature docs:  “History of the Eagles: Parts 1 & 2,” about the rise and demise of the classic American rock & roll band, the Eagles; and “No Limits,” a film about the death of freediver Audrey Mestre for the new ESPN series Nine for IX.  Other feature-documentary film credits include producer/editor of the Academy Award nominated “Enron:  The Smartest Guys in the Room,” “Gonzo:  The Life and Work of Dr. Hunter S Thompson, ” “My Trip to Al Qaeda,” “Casino Jack and the United States of Money” and “Catching Hell” for ESPN films, which was nominated for a Sports Emmy Award.  Alison’s television documentary directing credits include the Emmy Award winning series “American High,” “The Travelers” and “Sixteen.”  Her television producing credits include “The Human Behavior Experiments,” “The Residents,” “30 Days” and “Brick City.”