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Julie Eng, Daniel Zuckerbot and David Peck talk about their new film The Science of Magic, change blindness, assumptions, subverting reality, free will, doubt and the problems of perception.


Magic has become the latest investigative tool for scientists exploring human cognition, neurobiology, and behaviour. Across Canada, the US and Europe, our film follows researchers who are bringing magicians’ tricks into the laboratory.  With impossible magic, amazing facts, and opportunities for viewers to participate in the magic, this extraordinary exploration peeks behind the curtain into a fascinating world where ancient magic meets modern science.

Canadian magician and executive director of the arts organization Magicana, Julie Eng not only mystifies us with magic, she also takes us to Montreal’s McGill University to meet Jay Olson. He is one of the scientists spearheading this novel and powerful approach to experimental psychology.  On the streets of Montreal Julie and Jay use card tricks to help us understand how magic can be used to explore human consciousness. But these simple tricks have given way to more elaborate experiments.

We join Jay at the Montreal Neurological Institute for an extraordinary demonstration involving an MRI machine that can apparently not only read minds but can even use its electromagnetic fields to manipulate your most private thoughts.

Watch the trailer here.


Julie Eng is best described as a charming and enchanting performer who is passionate about her craft.

Both her peers and her clients consider this award-winning magicienne one of the up-and-coming performers of her generation. Her interest in magic began early; raised in a family of magicians, she has been a stage performer since she was a child. As she earned her Commerce degree, Julie’s true love for the unique art of magic blossomed into a career. And now, for over three decades, Julie has brought her magical expertise to thousands of private functions, festivals, conventions and special events around the globe.

Julie is also the executive director of Magicana – an arts organization and registered charity dedicated to the study, exploration and advancement of magic as a performing art. Inside of her work with Magicana, Julie is one of the founding organizers for two unique community outreach programs, My Magic Hands and Senior Sorcery. Julie was also a part of another one of Magicana’s productions, a theatrical show, Piff Paff Poof which was designed specifically to introduce the experience of the theatre to young families.

Over the years, Julie has developed a refreshing and distinctive style – a mix of elegance, surprise and humour – that has made her a popular entertainment choice. Whether on stage or mingling with her audience, Julie’s magic is distinguished by her dexterous skill, confident presentation and professional manner. Julie has also received accolades from her fellow magicians, who have invited her to perform at magic conventions across North America. She has been featured in, MAGIC, Genii and The Linking Ring, internationally distributed trade magazine.

Julie’s energetic performances are well suited to a multitude of venues: corporate receptions, trade shows and product launches, hospitality suites, conventions and client appreciation and development events. Julie’s style, charm and repertoire have consistently garnered high praise from her clients, including some of the largest and most creative companies in Canada and the United States.

Daniel Zuckerbort’s first experience in the Canadian film industry was in 1974 when, while studying history of science, religion and philosophy at the University of Waterloo, he got a summer job as a researcher for a documentary. Though only 20 at the time this was far from his earliest foray into the Canadian art scene. At the age of 15 he began working as an assistant in the technical crew at Theatre Passe Muraille. This was in 1969 and Passe Muraille was the centre of avante garde theatre.

In recent years Daniel’s specifically theatre related work has been limited to directing actors in some of his productions as well as having made a number of documentaries about performers. A working magician himself for some years, he taught magic privately and for the Toronto Board of Education. He is also one of the founding board member of Magicana a registered charity dedicated to the exploration of magic as a performing art and to increasing the public’s understanding and appreciation of this art. For more information see

From the early 80s, through much of the 90s he was also involved managing the organization and activities of large groups of volunteers. These activities included helping organize neighborhood newspapers in Canada and abroad (including England, Scotland, Iceland, and Jamaica). Daniel is fluent in Spanish. His interests in the history of technology have come to a happy meeting in his current experiments in textile production, dye chemistry and casting metal (copper, bronze, brass, and iron) using kilns and crucibles that he has built himself.

His creative endeavors are not limited to film or the forge. He is a writer in a range of genres and one of his short writings was published in the Spring 2011 edition of the literary journal Descant.


Image Copyright: Julie Eng and Daniel Zuckerbot and Reel Time Images. Used with permission.

For more information about David Peck’s podcasting, writing and public speaking please visit his site here.

With thanks to producer Josh Snethlage and Mixed Media Sound.