Mama Irene, Healer of the Andes, is the story of a remarkable 84 year old Shaman (Healer) from Peru who draws upon indigenous knowledge and traditions in danger of being lost forever. This film is not only a vital document of endangered wisdom; it is also a story about Women empowerment and a testament to living harmoniously with Mother Earth.
Director Biography – Elisabeth Möhlmann, Bettina Ehrhardt
— Producer, Co-Director, Co-Writer
New York-based Elisabeth Möhlmann is the founder of Blaze a Path Productions, and a former actor and stage director. Born in Munich, Germany, Elisabeth grew up in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil and studied philosophy before moving to New York City to study acting at the Lee Strasberg Theater & Film Institute. She later returned to New York City and established a successful real estate career before meeting Mama Irene. That fateful encounter helped heal Elisabeth from a debilitating illness, and ultimately sparked the creation of this project. Mama Irene has granted Elisabeth the exclusive rights to document her life and healing crafts.
MAMA IRENE, Healer of the Andes is Elisabeth’s debut as a filmmaker.
Documentary film producer and director Bettina Ehrhardt holds a Master’s degree in French Literature and a diploma in Film Studies both from Lyon 2 University.Her favorite subjects range from ethnology. nature and politics to the arts. Passionate about music, she has made several films dedicated to composers and conductors like Claudio Abbado, Zubin Mehta, Kent Nagano, Pierre Boulez, Luigi Nono, Helmut Lachenmann, Bernd Alois Zimmermann. Her films are broadcast on channels as diverse as ZDF, Arte, WDR, BR, Radio Canada, RAI and were awarded on international documentary film festivals. In 2009 she founded bce films & more GmbH. A tireless traveler, by taste and profession, Bettina Ehrhardt is based in Munich.
ELISABETH MÖHLMANN, CO-DIRECTOR
In 2014 I was living in New York City, suffering from debilitating exhaustion. None of the medical specialists I had consulted were able to help. My friend Carl Hyatt, a photographer who has been traveling to Peru for decades, had an idea. He consulted a healer he knew in Cusco, Puma SingonaQuispe. Puma in turn consulted his coca leaves:
“Elisabeth has to visit Cusco immediately and work with Mama Irene in ceremony. Otherwise, she will end up in a bad way. “
And so I traveled to Peru. The experience was transformative. I returned to New York City energized and strong. Thus began my journey with Mama Irene.
In 2016, Mama Irene invited me to be her first “Western student.” I had the privilege of witnessing her selflessly healing patients with extraordinary wisdom, love and compassion. And although I have been deeply connected with nature all my life, I learned from Mama Irene an entire new dimension on how to live in harmony with Mother Earth and the mountain spirits.
I began to realize that Mama Irene was teaching me secrets she had never shared with anyone, let alone a Westerner. With her blessing, I decided to make this documentary, to share the story of this remarkable woman and her knowledge and wisdom.
BETTINA EHRHARDT, CO-DIRECTOR
When Elisabeth approached me and asked if I might want to realize a film about Mama Irene together with her, showing me the first material she had already shot, I was immediately taken in by Mama Irene’s youthful charm, her smile forming dimples in her cheeks. And by her strength: She overcame many hardships in a world dominated mostly by men, nevertheless built on feminine wisdom.
Mama Irene, Healer of the Andes, is a true mystic – she turns to Pachamama and to the mountain spirits in her prayers, in her pilgrimages. And the Mountain Gods appear in her dreams and talk back to her, she says, “like normal people”. So I happily participated from afar in Elisabeth’s film project through my eye and ear as a filmmaker and story teller, listening and watching, combining themes and imagining a possible dramaturgy for the film. Our goal was to present Mama Irene’s story to a wider audience, thus paying homage to the thousands of years old Incan healing traditions. Worshipping Pachamama, Mother Earth as the feminine figure of abundance is ever more important in our nowadays world.
It was Elisabeth who did all the shooting in Peru. A last shoot was planned for March 2020: all of us together, in and around Cusco. Covid cancelled this. Thus I began, with my wonderful editor Monika, to edit what we had, Elisabeth assisting. Mama Irene’s presence captured us absolutely.
In the end TorstenBönnhoff, whom I had approached, joined in and became Elisabeth’s partner in this venture – it seems like Mama Irene’s spirit brought us all together to realize this movie. My biggest wish now is to meet her in person. I wish the film an audience interested in the art of healing and in a woman’s passionate approach to life. And I wish Elisabeth much luck in her new career as a filmmaker.