The Shulgin documentary (Dirty Pictures)

Dirty Pictures follows underground hero and chemist Sasha and his wife, Ann Shulgin, as they travel to festivals and conferences to discuss the psychological qualities of MDMA, or better known as Ecstasy. Sasha, who went to Harvard at the age of 15, has spent his life trying to figure out all of the different aspects of Ecstasy and just how it can affect the human psyche.

In an interview director Etienne Sauret talks about the relationship he built up with the Shulgins during the 5 years he spent with them to film the ‘Dirty Pictures’ documentary. From the interview, what Sauret led to making this documentary:

In 2005 a friend who runs a drug prevention center in the UK wanted to bring Sasha to London to speak at a conference. When Sasha couldn’t attend, we went to California and made a short film for the conference. While filming, I found Sasha and his wife Ann to be truly unusual and endearing. Later, when I was editing the footage, my office interns kept stopping by and asking “who IS this guy?” I never thought Sasha, a wild man with white hair, big white eyebrows and a child-like smile would be so appealing to people in their 20’s, and I thought that if Sasha could stop them in their tracks and hold their attention, making a longer film about both Ann and Sasha was worth pursuing. I soon began to realize that there was a lot more to the story that I initially imagined.

The film premiered at the SXSW Music and Media Conference in Austin, USA and is already receiving good reviews (1 2 3) online. There are currently screenings throughout the US, more (European) screenings are planned. A DVD release date has not been set as of yet.

For the trailer and an exclusive Q and A with Sasha and Ann Shulgin, see the youtube channel of Dirty Pictures.