Special Screenings
Traveling Festival


The Shaman’s Apprentice
(54 minutes) Suriname/USA
Director/Producer: Miranda Smith
Abigail Wright


For more than twenty years Dr. Mark Plotkin has searched the Amazon for plants that heal. He is an ethnobotanist, a scientist who studies the relationship between indigenous people and plants. He set out on a mission to find a cure for diabetes, a disease that killed both of his grandmothers. The Shaman's Apprentice charts the story of Mark's discoveries, and looks at the astonishing ability of native people to manage their environment. People of the forest have become sophisticated chemists by necessity, utilizing plants for every aspect of their lives. Often, the entire knowledge of a tribe resides in the mind of the shaman–the tribe's doctor and spiritual leader. But the shamans are also the most endangered species in the Amazon. Marooned in time by the loss of traditional ways, many of the native healers have no apprentices. Most are old, and each shaman's death is a kind of extinction. It is these shamans that Mark seeks out, hoping to save their precious knowledge, for it may be vital to the world's future.


Miranda Smith is president of Miranda Productions, Inc. She directed and produced The Shaman's Apprentice, and she produced, directed, and co-wrote the 1997 documentary on coral reefs, Canary of the Ocean. For My Father's Garden, Miranda executive produced and directed, and narrated the home movie segments of the film. She directed and produced Wilderness: The Last Stand and Voice of the Amazon, about the destruction of forests in the Americas. She wrote, produced, and narrated the 16mm film Cowboys' Claim and has produced theatre for New York's Off-Broadway. With Realis Pictures, Miranda co-produced a three-film series on the Brazilian rain forest: Amazon Journal, Contact, and The Journey of Chief Wai-Wai.

Contact Information:

John Hoskyns-Abrahall, President
Bullfrog Films
P.O. Box 149
Oley, PA 19547
Phone: 800-543-FROG
Email: john@bullfrogfilms.com



©2003 United Nations Association Film Festival