Healing Landscapes in Berlin: Seven Film Portraits of Healers in the City

Hansjörg Dilger, Kristian Petersen, Werkstatt Ethnologie

Berlin Healing Landscapes. Photo Credit: Miriam Tamayo.

The anthropological film project “Healing Landscapes in Berlin” features seven different portraits of healing personalities in Germany’s capital city, each of them being interviewed and filmed in their respective professional environment. The healers identified themselves as an Arabic energy healer (Khloud Zaher-Iraqi); a Russian-Tibetan physiotherapist (Aleksej Zasuhin); a Korean healing practitioner (Cha-Hee Nam); a Brasilian Candomblé priest (Murah Soares); an Ayurvedic healing practitioner from Sri Lanka (Saroya Kubisch); a German shaman who was trained in Mexico (Anja Gundelach); and a Colombian painter and spiritual teacher (Viviana Ponce de León).

The documentary portraits were produced in 2012 by the Werkstatt Ethnologie in close collaboration with the Institute of Social and Cultural Anthropology (IFSCA) at Freie Universität Berlin (under the supervision of Kristian Petersen and Hansjörg Dilger). In each film, students from the IFSCA’s research areas Medical Anthropology and Visual and Media Anthropology worked together with a healer, and presented her or his specific healing practice through the healer’s own words, as well as by filming his or her particular approach to – and site(s) and tools – of healing.

The short films were published originally on a DVD collection titled “Sibyllenwurz und Speisedampf – Heilmethoden mit Migrationshintergrund” for the exhibition with the same name about migration and adaptation of healing methods in Berlin. This initiative is currently followed up by the Werkstatt’s mamacura visual project on the use of kitchen remedies for the purpose of „scientifically proven“ and accessible self-help[1].

The short films are now made available online for the first time with English subtitles on the Blog The seven portraits will be published as a weekly series, starting on October 11, 2018.


Khloud Zaher-Iraqi (by Emma Ashby, Stéphane Morey, Laura Schödermaier; 15:40 min)


Aleksej Zasuhin (Raffaele Gallo, Katharina Frucht, Christine Graf; 10:03 min)


Cha-Hee Nam (Lefteris Fylaktos, Raffaele Gallo, Thomas John, Lena Lau; 8:35 min)


Murah Soares (Sandra Draheim, Elina Foteinou, Lisa Snoek; 10:54 min)


Saroja Kubisch (Rick Flynn, Anna Koller, Julie Tabbers; 12:20 min)


Anja Gundelach (by Louisa Schubert, Lefteris Fylaktos, Cecilia Pachoud; 8:07 min)


Viviana Ponce de León (Sara Ferrari, Ilse Pelkmans, Lidia Rossner; 13:00 min)


Acknowledgments by the blog moderators:

The blog moderators would like to thank the Werkstatt Ethnologie for initiating this film project in 2012 and for kindly granting permission to publish the seven short films on this blog. Thanks is also owed to the seven healers and the students at the Institute of Social and Cultural Anthropology at Freie Universität Berlin for the collaborative realization of this film project. A big thank you goes to Karoline Buchner and Manuel Cosme for the translation and transcription of the film conversations, as well as to Claudia Quigua for the English captioning of the films.


[1] For further background information see:; the DVD can be ordered at:

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