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Mike Poltorak


Mike Poltorak is an award winning independent documentary filmmaker and medical/visual anthropologist whose work explores the theme of social health through text, ethnographic film and interactive transmedia. His projects emerge out of long term involvement, community engagement and feedback and include documentaries on Tongan comedy (Fun(d)raising: The Secret of Tongan Comedy, 2010), volunteerism in a Swedish alternative community (One Week West of Molkom, 2013) and the dance form of contact improvisation (Five Ways In, 2014). His latest documentary on  mental health and spirituality in Tonga (The Healer and the Psychiatrist, 2019) won the SVA Best Feature Film Award 2020 and has screened in many global documentary, indigenous and ethnographic film festivals. As a teacher of visual anthropology and ethnographic filmmaking he has won national, faculty and student led prizes.  He has also taught social and medical anthropology at the Universities of Sussex, Kent and University College London. His publications in key regional and medical anthropology journals on mental health, traditional healing, vaccination, public psychiatry and healing efficacy are cited widely. He gained his MSc in Medical Anthropology and PhD in Social Anthropology at UCL.  

The Healer and the Psychiatrist can be viewed as part of the RAI Film Festival from the 19-28 of March [] or by personal request to


More information and access to Project Pouono can be found here: 

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