A Balinese woman with Tourette’s Syndrome struggles for acceptance (40 min)

The film focuses on Gusti Ayu Suartini, a young Balinese woman living with Tourette’s syndrome. Members of Gusti’s small rural community, who do not recognize her illness as a medical disorder, regard her with scorn or pity. Mired in loneliness, Gusti begins to question the meaningfulness of her existence after treatment by western and traditional practitioners fails.

The film, which follows her slow, painful, and courageous effort to create an independent life for herself outside her village, addresses the profound impact of family and community’s acceptance or rejection on the lifecourse of persons living with a neuropsychiatric disorder. The Bird Dancer focuses on the social stigma of neuropsychiatric disorder and the human suffering it entails.

Why am I like this? When do I get to be happy like other normal people? Why?
— Gusti Ayu Suartini

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Consulting Editor
Music Composer
Music Editor

Robert Lemelson
Robert Lemelson
Alessandra Pasquino
Dag Yngvesson
Pietro Scalia
Herbert Bennett
Malcolm Cross
Richard Henderson



  • Win­ner, Spe­cial Jury Prize, Cal­i­for­nia Film Awards, San Diego, CA, 2012

  • Win­ner, Award of Excel­lence, Acco­lades Film, Tele­vi­sion, New Media and Videog­ra­phy Awards, Los Ange­les, CA, 2012

  • Win­ner, Cine Golden Eagle Award, 2011

  • Nom­i­nee, Best Lim­ited Series, Inter­na­tional Doc­u­men­tary Asso­ci­a­tion Awards, Los Ange­les, CA, 2010

  • Win­ner, Sil­ver Screen Award, Nevada Film Fes­ti­val, Las Vegas, NV, 2010

  • Win­ner, Award of Excel­lence, Inter­na­tional Film Fes­ti­val for Peace, Inspi­ra­tion and Equal­ity, Jakarta, Indone­sia, 2010





  • Off­shoot Film Fes­ti­val, Fayet­teville, AK, 2012

  • Fall­brook Film Fes­ti­val, Fall­brook, CA 2013

  • Gig Har­bor Film Fes­ti­val, Gig Har­bor, WA, 2010

  • Soci­ety for Visual Anthro­pol­ogy Media Fes­ti­val, New Orleans, LA, 2010

  • Fin­ger Lakes Envi­ron­men­tal Film Fes­ti­val, Ithaca, NY, 2011

  • Glo­bians world+culture Doc­u­men­tary Film Fes­ti­val, Berlin, Ger­many, 2011

  • Tai­wan Inter­na­tional Ethno­graphic Film Fes­ti­val, Taipei, Tai­wan, 2011

  • Aware­ness Film Fes­ti­val, Los Ange­les, CA, 2012

  • Cincin­nati Film Fes­ti­val, Cincin­nati, OH 2012


  • International Conference on Psychology in Health, Educational, Social, and Organizational Settings: “Psychology in Changing Global Contexts”, Surabaya, Indonesia, 2013

  • Soci­ety for Psy­cho­log­i­cal Anthro­pol­ogy Meet­ing, Santa Mon­ica, CA, 2011

  • Soci­ety for the Study of Psy­chi­a­try and Cul­ture Annual Meet­ing, Seat­tle, WA, 2011

  • Clin­i­cal Ethno­graphic Sem­i­nar: uni­ver­sity of Chicago Clin­i­cal Ethnog­ra­phy, The Com­mit­tee on South­ern

  • Asian Stud­ies and the Com­par­a­tive Human Devel­op­ment Work­shop on Cul­ture, Chicago, IL, 2011

  • World Psy­chi­atric Asso­ci­a­tion The­matic Con­fer­ence, Istan­bul, Turkey, 2011


  • Rut­gers Uni­ver­sity, Intro­duc­tion to Cul­tural Anthro­pol­ogy Class, Newark, NJ, 2012

  • CSULA Tea & Sex Group, Los Ange­les, CA, 2012

  • UCLA Mind, Med­i­cine, and Cul­ture Group, Los Ange­les, CA , 2011

  • USC Mas­ters of Visual Anthro­pol­ogy Sem­i­nar, Los Ange­les, CA, 2010

  • Cal State Uni­ver­sity Long Beach, Long Beach, CA, 2011

  • Uni­ver­sity of Chicago, Clin­i­cal Ethnog­ra­phy Work­shop, Chicago, IL, 2011