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The Heartbreaking, Hopeful, and Hypnotic Tale of a Wizard Named Oz

Self-appointed wizard Oberon Zell-Ravenheart raises unicorns and practices magic in a new documentary by Danny Yourd.

by Tanja M. Laden
May 9 2017, 5:14pm

Where does a wizard find knowledge? Is it from arcane teachings handed down over centuries in the form of books? Maybe sacred wisdom is rooted in some kind of inner knowing that provides a path to the light. Or perhaps still, one can find enlightenment, power, and healing somewhere as unlikely as Second Life, just as with 21st century wizard, Oz. Titled simply The Wizard Oz, a new 23-minute documentary profiles the self-appointed wizard Oberon Zell-Ravenheart, aka Oz, offering a glimpse into the mind of a rare man who thrives off stories and legends, and yearns to pass them along.

The film recently won best short documentary at the Boston Sci-Fi Film Festival and is directed by Danny Yourd, who produced Almost Holy, featured in the Tribeca Film Festival in 2015, and Blood Brother, a Sundance Grand Jury winner in 2013. Yourd decided to make a film about Oz in 2014, after reading a VICE story on the wizard's magic school, the Grey School of Wizardry, which takes place entirely on Second Life. The article inspired Yourd to dig deeper and read a biography of Oz called The Wizard and the Witch: Seven Decades of Counterculture, Magick & Paganism, which eventually led to the making of the film.

Alternately heartbreaking, hopeful, and hypnotic, Yourd's documentary is a touching look at Oz, a wise man who has given his life to studying and understanding the murky interstices of myth and magic. "His life story flowed like a fairytale," Yourd tells Creators. "It was so strange and bizarre, but also human and fascinating."

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