Feature Story | 1-Jul-2024

Award-winning film The Underground Astronaut (2023) about evolutionary biologist Toby Kiers free to watch worldwide

Documentary short shows Kiers’ pioneering research on mycorrhizal fungi, which play a crucial role in combating climate change

Stichting Ammodo

The 2023 short documentary The Underground Astronaut by Dutch filmmaker Madeleine van der Werf shows trailblazing evolutionary biologist Toby Kiers at work. As a founder of SPUN, Kiers is the world’s leading proponent and researcher of underground mycorrhizal fungi networks, which play a vital but underappreciated role in sustaining life on Earth and mitigating climate change. After a run at international festivals, the film is now free to watch online from anywhere in the world. 

The Underground Astronaut (2023)
Directed by Madeleine van der Werf
Evolutionary biologist Toby Kiers takes us along on her epic quest to map the world’s underground fungi networks and understand their behaviour before it’s too late.
Watch now.

Over the past year, The Underground Astronaut screened at various international festivals, including Go Short Film Festival (Nijmegen), SILBERSALZ (Halle), St. Louis International Film Festival and DOCVILLE (Leuven). At SCINEMA International Science Film Festival Australia, The Underground Astronaut won the prize for Best Short Film. At SILBERSALZ the film was part of a nomination for Best Science Series.

"It is extraordinary to see this film shared across the world. It allows people to understand why fungi are so important. Since we founded SPUN in 2021, more people are advocating to protect the underground. We are excited for all that is ahead." – Toby Kiers

For a press kit including biographies, credits and stills, click here.

About Ammodo Docs

The Underground Astronaut is part of Ammodo Docs, a series of short documentaries which challenge you to experience the world of original minds in arts and science. Three other science films which can now be streamed for free worldwide are Moving Mountains (about measuring climate change at extreme heights in the Himalayas), The Guts of the Neuroscientist (about the value of gut feeling in psychological sciences) and The Mystery of MS (about the puzzling quest to discover the cause of MS).

About Ammodo

Ammodo is a foundation supporting the development of arts, architecture and science by contributing to innovative projects in arts, projects in social and ecological architecture, and cutting-edge scientific research. Ammodo also produces documentaries to increase the visibility of pioneers in these fields. Find out more at ammodo.org.

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