DER Documentary

Sastun: My Apprenticeship With A Maya Healer

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by Guido Verweyen
color, 20 min, 2002

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Sastun tells the story of American herbalist Rosita Arvigo, whose quest to explore the healing powers of plants led her to the rain forest of Belize where she befriended one of the last remaining Maya shamans, Don Elijio Panti. While learning his secrets during her apprenticeship she unearthed her lifes work: to preserve Don Elijio's ancient healing knowledge and to bridge the gap between science and traditional healer's wisdom. Funded by the National Cancer Institute in New York, Rosita Arvigo is in a race against time, scouring the tropical rain-forests of Central America in search of cures for many deadly diseases like AIDS and Cancer, before they are wiped out by deforestation.

About The Filmmaker
Born in the US and raised in Germany, Guido Verweyen started his film career as a cameraman for German Television, documenting events like the conflict in Yugoslavia. He was then awarded two scholarships from the German Government to study at the American Film Institute. Upon graduation, Guido worked as Director of Photography on many commercials, music videos, and features, including the Academy Award nominated documentary The Man On Lincoln's Nose. His commercial directing efforts earned him numerous awards and eventually led to his co-founding and creating content for Studio M, a new competitor to MTV.

Film Festivals, Screenings, Awards
Cine Golden Eagle Award, 2005
Audience Favorite Award & Honorable Mention – Best Film, Archaeology Channel Int'l Film & Video Festival, 2004
First Place – Forests Category, Earthvision Environmental Film Festival, Santa Cruz, CA, 2004
Best Documentary Award, Big Bear Lake International Film Festival, California, 2003
Best of Show, Platinum Aurora Award Winner, 2003
International Sasà Award, Environmental Film Festival, Italy, 2003
Telly Award, 2002
Southside Film Festival, Bethlehem, PA, 2009
Latin America Environmental Media Festival, Tulane University, New Orleans, 2005
Fingerlakes Environmental Film Festival, Ithaca, NY, 2004
Moondance Film Festival, Colorado, 2004
Heard Museum Indigenous Film Festival, Phoenix, 2004
Images of Healing: Film Festival on Health & Wellness, Toronto, 2004
Latino Film Festival, San Francisco, 2003
Brattleboro Environmental Film Festival, Vermont, 2003
Slamdance Film Festival, Utah, 2002
Palm Springs Native American Film Festival, 2002
Academy Foundation Screening Series, UCLA, 2002
DOCtober, 2001

Related Films
Juliette of the Herbs
Uncle Poison
Kau Faito'o: Traditional Healers of Tonga

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Supported By Massachusetts Cultural Council National Endowment for the Humanities National Endowment for the Arts