Mar 052012

2003   58 minutes

DANCES OF ECSTASY is a sensory journey into the mesmerizing world of trance and ecstasy. Filmmakers Michelle Mahrer and Nicole Ma travelled to traditional and modern day rituals to discover what is the altered state experience which people seek through dance. In these rituals, Whirling Dervishes from Turkey, Orisha priestesses from Nigeria and Brazil, shaman healers from the Kalahari and Korea, and dancers in a Gabrielle Roth workshop in New York pulse to the same beat as thousands of young people at an all night techno dance party in an Australian forest. DANCES OF ECSTASY celebrates the universal human experience where rhythm and dance unite us. DANCES OF ECSTASY is an innovative documentary blending exciting dance rituals, evocative imagery, interviews, and a spellbinding global music soundtrack. The film is an inspiration to dance, and to reconnect with a sense of the sacred that many have lost touch with in modern life.

Director/Writer: Michelle Mahrer
Producer/Writer: Nicole Ma
Cinematography: Paul Elliot & Michelle Mahrer
Editor: Sioux Currie

Produced with the assistance of Film Finance Corporation Australia, the Australian Broadcasting Corporation, ZDF Enterprises, Nederlandse Programma Stichting, Anna and Erlo Van Waveren Foundation, Australia-Korea Foundation

DANCES OF ECSTASY DVD (2 DVD set 240 minutes total)

DVD 1 features the one hour documentary, the complete Sufi Zikir Ceremony and personal in depth documentaries about each of the rituals – including San of the Kalahari Namibia, Orisha ceremony Nigeria, Candomble Ritual Brazil, and Kut Ritual Korea.

DVD 2 includes a do it yourself video ’THE POWER WAVE” led by Gabrielle Roth and 80 minutes of global grooves music tracks with leading artists such as Cheb i Sabbah, One Giant Leap, James Asher, Banco do Gaia, Bob Holroyd and others accompanied with psychedelic visuals by D-Fuse.


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dances_of_ecstasy_450x331Dances of Ecstasy

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Mar 042012

2002   30 minutes

Spider, an Aboriginal elder, returns with his family to the Great Sandy Desert of Western Australia, to visit the sacred waterhole where he communicates with his ancestors through Kurtal – the Snake Spirit. This poetic documentary provides a rare and moving insight into the ceremonies and practices of a resilient Aboriginal community intent on maintaining it’s strong cultural and spiritual links with the past.

Directors: Nicole Ma & Michelle Mahrer
Producer/Writer: Nicole Ma
Cinematography: Warwick Thornton, Michelle Mahrer & Cameron McGrath
ABC Exec Producer: Richard Moore

Australia –
International –

Produced with the assistance of the Australia Council for the Arts, ABC TV, Australian Film Commission, Film Victoria, Screenwest and the Lotteries Commission of Western Australia and financed with the assistance of ATSIC through Mangkaja Arts Resource Agency Aboriginal Corporation.

spider_paintedKurtal Snake Spirit

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Mar 032012

1996   14 minutes


A whimsical gothic fairytale set in a strange timeless reality. A woman makes a meal while her husband and child lie asleep, their heads resting on a dusty dinner table. The meal preparation becomes a recipe for her own inner journey.

Writer/Director Michelle Mahrer
Producer: Nicole Ma
Cinematography: Lisa Rinzler
Production Design: Carol Wells
Composer: Antony Partos & Elena Kats-Chernin
Sound Design: Paul Healy, Andrew Lancaster

Cast: Arlo Duff, Bernd Naber, Angela Idealism
Produced with assistance by Australian Film Commission


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