Ongoing project about adolescence, stress, stress mechanisms and mindfulness. We follow a group of young people aged 15 to 20 as they undergo an eight-week MBSR program. There will be interview clips with the young people, with brain researcher Daniel Siegel, who has researched teen brains and stress, and youth researcher Niels Ulrik Sørensen, Aalborg University.
We want to show that stress can be handled and be prevented and that the brain in adolescence has a large capacity that can be strengthened by methods such as mindfulness training. It is expected to be completed in mid-2017.


Research shows that mindfulness-based stress reduction (MBSR) is an effective method to prevent stress, anxiety and depression. Many also feel that the method leads to improved quality of life and well-being. ” Mindful Medicine ” follows a MBSR group of eight weeks. Participants of the course have different backgrounds and reasons for participating . We follow three main participants – Rikke, Marlene and David. Rikke has BDS – bodily distress syndrome and struggling especially with fatigue and depression. Marlene has stress and migraine and David would like live more balanced. During the course they all discover new sides of themselves and we get a glimpse of that meditation is hard work – and sometimes can be frustrating. But the method opens a perhaps hidden way into a sense of community, connectedness and an opportunity to contain conflicting emotions.

Lone Fjorback is the MBSR teacher in the film. She is a consultant at the Aarhus University Hospital, conducts research and mindfulness treatment , and is the Director of Education at the Danish Center for Mindfulness at Aarhus University. In the film there are interviews with the founder of MBSR and professor of medicine Jon Kabat – Zinn and neuroscientist, Professor of Psychology and Psychiatry, and founder of the Center for Investigating Healthy Minds at the Waisman Center, Richard J Davidson. The film is aimed at all those with an interest in mindfulness and considering participating in an MBSR course .

” Mindful Medicine ” is produced by Mette Bahnsen , Persona Film, with financial support from TrygFonden. Persona film has since 2001 produced educational films , documentaries, ethnographic films for museums , hospitals, schools and universities. Mette Bahnsen has previously made films about mindfulness for children and educational films for schools and psychiatry.


The film shows how the daycare centre Tumlehøjen in Aarhus West is working to integrate attention to writing in several languages in everyday pedagogical practices. Work on biliteracy can contribute to the development of meta-linguistic attention in all children regardless of language background, and it is essential for children’s language development and for their general reading and writing acquisition. The film is intended for future and current educators, educational managers and parents of preschoolers – and everyone else with an interest in language education and language acquisition.
The film is produced by persona film for VIA University College in collaboration with Aarhus Municipality and with the support of the Danish Ministry for Children, Education and Gender Equality.
Organisation: Mette Bahnsen and Jens Haaning, persona film and Kitte Søndergaard Kristensen, VIA University College


Healthy Habits of Mind shows how kindergarteners at Oxford Elementary School in Berkeley, California are introduced to mindfulness during their school day. The students are taught mindful listening, mindful eating, mindful movement, and yoga by their classroom teacher. The film peeks into this course, taught by Mindful Schools Program Directors Megan Cowan and Chris McKenna. The movie also features leading neuroscientist Dr. Richard Davidson explaining how mindfulness affects brain function, and Megan explaining how mindfulness helps in schools. Mindful Schools offers courses for educators, psychologists, and parents to learn mindfulness and use it with children and adolescents.
Learn more at


For more info contact Christian Suhr

Descending With Angels

By Christian Suhr, 75 min, 2013
‘Descending with Angels’ explores perceptions of illness and healing among Danish Muslim. In particular, I examine categories of mental illnesses that in a Western context often are described by diagnoses such as depression, anxiety, stress, schizophrenia, etc. In an Islamic context many of these illnesses are perceived as divine trials. Often these illnesses are understood as the result of harmful attacks by spirits, evil eyes, or magic.
The source of healing is ultimately provided by the divine, which is addressed through the reading of Quranic verses, exorcisms, holy water, or the removal of dirty blood. I explore how these illnesses and their healing are experienced and understood by Muslim healers and patients. As part of my project I also look at how Muslim patients meet the Danish Psychiatric system. Here different interpretations of similar symptoms often give rise to conflicting discussions about possible treatments.
‘Descending with Angels’ is part of a PhD-project based on 18 months of ethnographic fieldwork among Danish Muslims. Filmmaking is used as a method to get close to human experience. Video allow us access to human emotions and sensations in ways that are almost impossible in traditional academic writing. In my research I try to exploit the qualities of both written and cinematic means of expression.
Overall, my project is about how humankind encounters the unknown and the invisible. Suffering is in its essence invisible and irreducible. In a healing process, it is, however, essential that the disorder is given some form or shape, so that action may become possible. Film production can also be understood as a means of giving a tangible shape to the invisible. In my work I explore how cinematic language and montage can be used creatively to evoke the invisible.

Awards and international festival screenings
Awarded for “Best Documentary Feature” at the Berlin Independent Film Festival (February 2015)
Awarded with the “Special Student Film Award” at the Göttingen International Ethnographic Film Festival (May 2014).
• ETHNOCINECA (Vienna, May 2015
• Ethnografilm (Paris, April 2015)
• World Film Festival (Tartu, March 2015)
• Days of Ethnographic Film (Ljubljana, March 2015)
• Berlin Independent Film Festival (February 2015)
• SVA Film and Media Festival (AAA, Washington, Dec 2014)
• American Academy of Religion – Screening at the Annual Meeting (San Diego, November 2014)
• Athens Ethnographic Film Festival (November 2014)
• Munich International Ethnographic Film Festival (November 2014)
• Sardinia International Ethnographic Film Festival (Nuoro, Italy, September 2014)
• Göttingen International Ethnographic Film Festival (May 2014)
• Beeld voor Beeld (Amsterdam, Dec 2013)
• CPH:DOX (Copenhagen, Nov. 2013)
• NAFA Film Festival (Bilbao, October 2013)
• RAI International Ethnographic Film Festival (Edinburgh, June 2013)

Additional screenings
• University of California, Berkeley, USA
• University of California, Santa Cruz, USA
• University of Southern California, Los Angeles, USA
• University of Manchester, UK
• University of Heidelberg, Germany
• Freie Universität Berlin, Germany
• KU Leuven, Belgium
• Atlas Stad Antwerpen, Free Hands, Belgium
• James Cook University, Cairns, Australia
• University of Copenhagen
• Aarhus University, Denmark
• Anatomisk Teater in Oslo, Norway
• A number of psychiatric hospitals and cultural centers in Europe
New Book: ‘Transcultural Montage’, co-edited by Christian Suhr and Rane Willerslev, afterword by George Marcus, New York: Berghahn 2013.
New article: ‘Can film show the invisible: The work of montage in ethnographic filmmaking’, co-authored by Christian Suhr and Rane Willerslev (Current Anthropology 43(3): 282-301).

Unity through culture

By Christian Suhr and Ton Otto
58 min, 2011
“The Intangible Culture Film Prize” + “Richard Werbner Award for Visual Ethnography”, RAI International Festival of Ethnographic Film, London 2011
Soanin Kilangit is determined to unite the people and attract international tourism through the revival of culture on Baluan Island in the South Pacific. He organizes the largest cultural festival ever held on the island. But some traditional leaders argue that Baluan never had culture. Culture comes from the white man and is now destroying their old tradition. Others, however, take the festival as a welcome opportunity to revolt against ’70 years of cultural oppression’ by Christianity. A struggle to define the past, present and future of Baluan culture erupts to the sound of thundering log drum rhythms.
“…the various disputes that come forth during the film will provide an excellent teaching tool and springboard for myriad discussions associated with issues involving kastom, tradition, change, authenticity, performance, identity, cultural politics, exchange, and the impact of the West on traditional societies.”  —Karen Stevenson, American Anthropologist, p. 534-536, September 2012

Documentary Educational Resources (DER, Watertown, USA)
The Royal Anthropological Institute (London, UK).

Film Festivals, Screenings & Awards
• The Archaeology Channel International Film Festival, USA, 2014
• Freiburger Film Forum, Germany, 2013
• Kratovo Ethnographic Film Festival, Macedonia, 2013
• European Association for Social Anthropologists Biennial Meeting,      EASA, Paris, 2012
• Anthropology in the World, Royal Anthropological Institute/British Museum Centre for Anthropology, London, 2012
• “The Intangible Culture Film Prize”, RAI International Festival of Ethnographic Film, London, 2011
• “The Richard Werbner Award for Visual Ethnography”, RAI International Festival of Ethnographic Film, London, 2011
• Taiwan International Ethnographic Film Festival, Taipei, 2011
• Society for Visual Anthropology Festival, AAA Meeting, Montreal, 2011
• Hawaii International Film Festival HIFF, Honolulu, 2011
• The International Festival for Ethnological Film, Belgrade, 2011
• VISCULT – Festival of Visual Culture, Finland, 2011
• Days of Ethnographic Cinema, Moscow, 2011
• The NAFA Festival, St Andrews, 2011
• IUAES/AAS/ASAANZ Conference 2011 Perth, 2011
• Royal Anthropological Institute Festival for Ethnographic Film, London, 2011
• Broadcast, Taiwan Indigenous TV, Taipei, 2011

Ngat is Dead

By Christian Suhr and Ton Otto co-directed by Steffen Dalsgaard
59 min, 2009
Jean Rouch International Film Festival, Paris 2008
What do anthropologists mean when they claim to study the cultural traditions of others by participating in them? This film follows the Dutch anthropologist Ton Otto, who has been adopted by a family on Baluan Island in Papua New Guinea. Due to the death of his adoptive father, he has to take part in mortuary ceremonies, whose form and content are passionately contested by different groups of relatives. Through prolonged negotiations, Ton learns how Baluan people perform and transform their traditions and not least what role he plays himself. The film is part of long-term field research, in which filmmaking has become integrated in the ongoing dialogue and exchange between the islanders and the anthropologist.
“Straddling the permeable genres of ethnographic, participatory, and narrator-driven documentary, this one-hour DVD will be an extremely useful teaching resource. It presents anthropological insights prompted by filmmaking grounded in long-term familiarity and involvement with a community. It also demonstrates the benefits of an anthropologically trained film crew. … As an ethnographic film that demonstrates the value and developing insights of long-term fieldwork,this is excellent.” — Mike Poltorak, University of Kent, Journal of the Royal Anthropological Institute, Volume 16, Issue 4, December 2010
Documentary Educational Ressources
Royal Anthropological Institute
Film Festivals, Screenings & Awards
• Freiburger Film Forum, Germany, 2009
• Royal Anthropological Institute International Festival of Ethnographic Film, Leeds, England, 2009
• “Prix du Patrimoine Culturel Immatériel”, Jean Rouch International Film Festival, Paris, 2008
• Beeld voor Beeld, Bogotá, Colombia, 2008
• DIEFF, Delhi International Ethnographic Film Festival, Delhi, India, 2008
• 13th Mostra Internacional do Filme Etnográfico, Brazil, 2008
• IV Moscow International Visual Anthropology Festival, Russia, 2008
• VISCULT 2008: The Festival of Visual Culture, Finland, 2008
• SIEFF, Sardinia International Ethnographic Film Festival, Nuoro, Italy, 2008
• XXII Pärnu International Film Festival, Estonia, 2008
• Beeld voor Beeld, Amsterdam, 2008
• Days of Ethnographic Film, Ljubljana, Slovenia, 2008
• Worldfilm: Tartu Festival of Visual Culture, Estonia, 2008
• BILAN, Jean Rouch International Film Festival, Paris, 2008
• The International Ethnographic Film Festival of Quebec, Canada, 2008
• XVI International Festival of Ethnological Film in Belgrade, Serbia, 2007
• TIEFF, Taiwan International Ethnographic Film Festival, Taipei, Taiwan, 2007
• NAFA, Nordic Anthropological Film Festival in Trondheim, Norway, 2007

ONLINE MBSR (Only in Danish Language)

This online course is a complete Mindfulness Based Stress Reduction course, developed by Lone Overby Fjorback Leading clinical consultant and senior scientist, PhD, CFM certified MBSR teacher, totalling nine weeks. ONLINE MBSR consists of eight sessions of one and a half to two hours duration and a contemplation session of 6 hours.
Each session contains a number of simply structured points consisting of video clips, text and audio clips, as you follow point by point.


Online program in MBSR for Adolescence under preparation. With Lone Fjorback and Daniel Siegel. Will be released late 2017.

Want a Camel, Yes?

This documentary takes us to the pyramids in Giza, Egypt. We are
shown the interaction between cameldrivers and tourists. Through price
negotiations, conversations and interviews, we get an insight into how
they imagine and understand each other and what they think constitute
a good trip to the pyramids. 2004. 36 min.
Distribution: Persona Film
Danish subtitles.

Jutta Ravn, 2000

A short documentary about Jutta Ravn, who lived all her life on the farm she was born. The film is an optimistic portrait about her life with the dog Rita and her struggle to get her old tractor started.
Read the article: “Guidelines for producing a short documentary” P.O.V. Nr. 13, March 2002


The film follows the children in a Preschool in Denmark, who will attend school next year. The teachers have the last three years, worked structured with presence, slowness and immersion. The children get during the day breaks doing breathing exercises or artistic work. The Teachers can see that it helps the children to calm down. Presence and immersion does not come by itself in an institution – it requires conscious work of teachers.

THE LINGUISTIC DIMENSION, 2011 (Danish language)

An educational film about second-language education in elementary school. The film consists of 6 chapters from various subjects where teachers at Sølyst School in Silkeborg integrate language teaching into the subjects. The film is produced with support from the Danish Ministry for Children, Education and Gender Equality and Lærerstandens Brandforsikring in collaboration with Filmkompagniet and VIA University College.


Four different stories about living with bipolar disorder, both as a patient and caregiver. Interviews conducted by Krista Nielsen Straarup, Clinic for Mania and Depression, Aarhus University Hospital, Risskov.

MINDFULNESS DVD COURSE (MBCT), 2010 (Danish language)

Mindfulness is aimed at all who would like to train their skills in being in the moment and finding inner peace. It is a powerful and proven tool for stress and anxiety reduction and in the prevention of depression. DVD course is a self-help program designed for home training in Mindfulness. During the introduction and session meetings of the films you meet Lotte, who took the mindfulness training course to get through a period of illness with cancer; Lis, who after her husband’s death has had anxiety attacks and depression, and Jens, who took the course in connection with smoking cessation.
During the 8-week DVD course, you can mirror yourself in their experiences and their journey through the 8 sessions.
See more on
Cognitive group


Golden moments are moments of excellent human contact, where the child feels recognised and senses that he or she is worth caring about. What children essentially need is high quality interaction with adults. Research shows that we are not so appreciative in our interactions with children as we might think. ICDP is unique because it provides eight concrete offerings of what good interaction is. Through video feedback, training is provided on the eight synergistic themes and the educator becomes more conscious about doing what is beneficial for the children. Video feedback is incredibly important because only when you see the child’s reactions in slow motion can you see what is really happening in the relationship.
persona film was responsible for co-organising and editing.

WHY DO WE NEED SPORT AT SCHOOL?, 2009 (Danish language)

Sport is much more than exercise. It’s a school subject equal to other subjects in elementary school. Teaching should be versatile and give students knowledge, experiences, and reflections. persona film was responsible for the editing and co-organisation.


“This documentary presents two young people, Helle and Emil, who have been diagnosed with schizophrenia. “They explain in their own words how it feels to be psychotic, to get diagnosed, to go into treatment and live with the disease, and the family talks about how it has been for them. “These personal contribution make a strong impression … “ (extract from review in Ugeskrift for Læger, 2008; 170 (34): 2589. The film can be purchased for DKK 100 at Psykinfo, Risskov. persona film was responsible for organising and editing.
Read the review here:




Three films of 20 minutes duration for each target audience: One for teachers, one for parents and one for students. Everyone must participate when the school is developing a movement policy. Each version of the film ends with three questions which pave the way for a joint debate.
The film shows lots of concrete examples of movement and provides inspiration for how we can achieve a healthier school day. Brain researcher Kjeld Fredens explains why it is important to get the body moving. persona film was responsible for editing and co-organisation. still image