Robert Lemelson

Robert-Lemelson

Robert Lemelson

Adjunct Professor

Office: 387 Haines Hall

Email: lemelson@ucla.edu

Phone: 310-454-5904

Personal Website


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Biography

I am a psychological anthropologist who has worked in Southeast Asia, particularly on the islands of Bali and Java in Indonesia, for most of my career. My work explores the relationship of culture and history to trauma, psychiatric illness, structural and gender-based violence, and their relationship to subjectivity and phenomenology. I am also a visual anthropologist and ethnographic filmmaker with over twenty years of experience conducting fieldwork and producing longitudinal film studies. In 2007, I founded Elemental Productions, an ethnographic documentary film production company. I have completed over a dozen films on a wide range of topics including mental illness, polygamy and gender-based violence, the sex trade, genocide, kinship and ritual, and trance and possession. I am president of the Foundation for Psychocultural Research, a Los Angeles-based philanthropic organization that focuses on the integration of the social sciences and neuroscience since 1999.

Profiles

Documentary Educational Resources

IMDB

Websites

Elemental Productions

The Foundation for Psychocultural Research

The Lemelson Foundation

The Robert Lemelson Foundation

Films Available

Documentary Educational Resources

Elemental Productions

Amazon

Films Released

Movements and Madness (2006)

40 Years of Silence: An Indonesian Tragedy (2008)

Afflictions: Culture and Mental Illness in Indonesia series (2010-2011)

Shadows & Illuminations (2010)

Family Victim (2010)

The Bird Dancer (2010)

Kites and Monsters (2011)

Memory of My Face (2011)

Ritual Burdens (2011)

Jathilan (2011)

Standing on the Edge of a Thorn (2012)

Ngaben: Emotion & Restraint in a Balinese Heart (2012)

Bitter Honey (2015)

Films In Production

Reflexivity (2016)

Sacrifice (2016)​

Research

Transcultural psychiatry, ethnographic film, Indonesia (Bali, Java), mental illness, traditional healing, trauma and social violence, neuroanthropology

Publications

“Fear and Silence in Burma and Indonesia: Comparing Two National Tragedies and Two Individual Outcomes of Trauma” by Lemelson, R., and Thein-Lemelson, S. in Ataria, Y., Gurevitz, D., Pedaya, H., and Neria, Y. eds. in Interdisciplinary Handbook of Trauma and Culture. 2016.

“Afflictions: Psychopathology and recovery in a cultural context” by Lemelson, R., and Tucker, A., in  Kirmayer, L., Lemelson, R., and Cummings, C. eds. in Revisioning psychiatry: Cultural phenomenology, critical neuroscience and global mental health. 483-514. 2015.

“Integrating Psychological and Visual Anthropology: Issues Raised in the Production of the Film Series Afflictions: Culture and Mental Illness in Indonesia” by Lemelson, R., and Tucker, A., in Ethos Journal: Volume 43, Issue 1, 6-39. 2015.

“Anak PKI!: Multigenerational Trauma in a Javanese boy” by Lemelson, R., Ng, Emily and Supartini, N. in Worthman, C., Plotsky, P., Schecter, D. and Cummings C. in Formative Experiences: The Interaction of Caregiving, Culture, and Developmental Psychobiology Cambridge: Cambridge University Press. 2010.

“Children and Post Traumatic Stress Disorder” by Lemelson, R. in Shweder, R. et.al. eds. in Chicago Companion to the Child. Chicago: University of Chicago Press. 2009.

“Neuropsychiatric Disorders and Traditional Healing in Indonesia: The Question of Efficacy” by Lemelson, R. in Maldonado, M. ed. in Psychiatrists and Traditional Healers: Unwitting Partners in Global Mental Health. London, UK: John Wiley & Sons. 2008.

“Epilogue: Trauma and the Vicissitudes of Interdisciplinary Integration” by Kirmayer, L, Lemelson, R., Barad, M. in Kirmayer, L, Lemelson, R., Barad, M. eds. in Understanding Trauma: Integrating Cultural, Psychological and Biological Perspectives. Cambridge: Cambridge University. 2007.

“Understanding Trauma: Integrating Cultural, Psychological and Biological Perspectives” by Kirmayer, L, Lemelson, R., Barad, M. eds. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press. 2007.

“Trauma in Context: Integrating Biological, Clinical and Cultural Perspectives” by Lemelson, R., Kirmayer, L, Barad, M. in Kirmayer, L, Lemelson, R., Barad, M. eds. Understanding Trauma: Integrating Cultural, Psychological and Biological Perspectives. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press. 2007.

“Cultural Formulation of Psychiatric Diagnoses: The Spirits, Penyakit Ngeb and the Social Suppression of Memory: A Complex Clinical Case from Bali” in Lemelson R, Suryani L.K. Culture, Medicine and Psychiatry. 30(3): 389-413. 2006.

“Traditional Healing and it’s Discontents: Efficacy and Traditional Therapies of Neuropsychiatric Disorders in Bali” by Lemelson R. in Medical Anthropology Quarterly 18(1): 48-76. 2004.

“Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder in Bali: The Cultural Shaping of a Neuropsychiatric Disorder” by Lemelson, R. in Transcultural Psychiatry. 4(30) 377-408. 2003.

“Strange Maladies” by Lemelson, R. in Psychology Today. December 2001.

Awards & Grants

Distinguished Teaching Award, 2003

40 Years of Silence: An Indone­sian Tragedy
Win­ner, Award of Merit, Acco­lades Com­pe­ti­tion, 2009
Win­ner, Award of Excel­lence, Indie Fest, 2009
Nom­i­nee, Most Inno­v­a­tive Pro­duc­tion, His­tory Mak­ers Awards, New York, NY 2011
Win­ner, Best For­eign Fea­ture, Ore­gon Film Awards, 2012
Win­ner, Award of Excel­lence, Canada Inter­na­tional Film Fes­ti­val, Van­cou­ver, BC, 2013
Nom­i­nee, Best Edit­ing in a Doc­u­men­tary Film, St. Tropez Inter­na­tional Film Fes­ti­val, Nice, France, 2013
Win­ner, Best Asian Doc­u­men­tary, Endeav­ours Doc­u­men­tary Film Fes­ti­val, Sin­ga­pore, Sin­ga­pore, 2013

Afflic­tions: Cul­ture & Men­tal Ill­ness in Indonesia
Afflic­tions 2010 / Nom­i­nee, Best Lim­ited Series, Inter­na­tional Doc­u­men­tary Asso­ci­a­tion Awards, Los Ange­les, CA, 2010
Afflic­tions 2010 / Win­ner, Sil­ver Screen Award, Nevada Film Fes­ti­val, Las Vegas, NV, 2010
Afflic­tions 2010 / Win­ner, Cine Golden Eagle Award, 2011
Afflic­tions 2011 / Win­ner, Award of Excel­lence, The Indie Fest, 2011
The Bird Dancer / Win­ner, Award of Excel­lence, Best Shorts Com­pe­ti­tion, 2011
Afflic­tions 2010 / Win­ner, Spe­cial Jury Prize, Cal­i­for­nia Film Awards, San Diego, CA, 2012
Afflic­tions 2010 / Win­ner, Award of Excel­lence, Acco­lades Film, Tele­vi­sion, New Media and Videog­ra­phy Awards, Los Ange­les, CA, 2012
Shad­ows and Illu­mi­na­tions / Win­ner, Award of Excel­lence, Best Shorts Com­pe­ti­tion, La Jolla, CA, 2012
Rit­ual Bur­dens / Win­ner, Bronze Award for Short Doc­u­men­tary, Pres­tige Film Awards, 2012
Afflic­tions 2011 / Semi-Finalist, Moon­dance Film Fes­ti­val, Boul­der, CO, 2012
Kites and Mon­sters / Win­ner, 2nd Place Short Doc­u­men­tary Com­pe­ti­tion, “Best Edit­ing,” “Best Sound Design,” Los Ange­les New Wave Film Fes­ti­val, Los Ange­les, CA, 2013
Afflic­tions 2010 / Win­ner, Spe­cial Jury Prize, Cal­i­for­nia Film Awards, San Diego, CA, 2013
Shad­ows and Illu­mi­na­tions / Hon­or­able Men­tion, Sun­set Film Fes­ti­val, Los Ange­les, CA, 2013
Afflic­tions 2010 / Win­ner, Award of Excel­lence, Inter­na­tional Film Fes­ti­val for Peace, Inspi­ra­tion and Equal­ity, Jakarta, Indone­sia, 2013

Jathi­lan: Trance and Pos­ses­sion in Java
N/A

Ngaben: Emo­tion & Restraint in a Bali­nese Heart
Win­ner, Hon­or­able Men­tion for Doc­u­men­tary Short, Inter­na­tional Film Fes­ti­val for Peace, Inspi­ra­tion and Equal­ity, Jakarta Indone­sia, 2013

Stand­ing on the Edge of a Thorn
Nom­i­nee, Best Documentary-style Real­ity Pro­duc­tion, Impact Media Awards, New York, NY, 2013
Win­ner, Stu­dent Choice Award, Frozen River Film Fes­ti­val, Winona, MI 2014

Festivals
40 Years of Silence: An Indone­sian Tragedy
Boston Inter­na­tional Film Fes­ti­val, Boston, Mass­a­chu­setts, 2009
Amnesty Inter­na­tional “Films That Mat­ter,” Ams­ter­dam, Nether­lands, 2009
Glo­bians World + Cul­ture Doc­u­men­tary Film Fes­ti­val, Berlin, Ger­many, 2009
Inter­na­tional Film Fes­ti­val of Thai­land, Phuket, Thai­land, 2009
Tai­wan Inter­na­tional Doc­u­men­tary Film Fes­ti­val, Taipei, Tai­wan, 2010
XIX Inter­na­tional Fes­ti­val of Eth­no­log­i­cal Film, Bel­grade, Ser­bia, 2010
Psy­chocin­ema Fes­ti­val, Jakarta, Indone­sia, 2010
Kingston New York Film Fes­ti­val, New York, New York, 2012
Inter­na­tional Film Fes­ti­val for Peace, Inspi­ra­tion and Equal­ity, Jakarta, Indone­sia, 2012
Win­ner, Award of Excel­lence, Canada Inter­na­tional Film Fes­ti­val, Van­cou­ver, BC, Canada, 2013
Nom­i­nee, Best Edit­ing in a Doc­u­men­tary Film, St Tropez Inter­na­tional Film Fes­ti­vals, Nice, France, 2013
Win­ner, Best Asian Doc­u­men­tary, Endeavors Doc­u­men­tary Film Fes­ti­val, Sin­ga­pore, Sin­ga­pore, 2013

Afflic­tions: Cul­ture & Men­tal Ill­ness in Indonesia
Afflic­tions 2010 / Win­ner, Sil­ver Screen Award, Nevada Film Fes­ti­val, Las Vegas, NV, 2010
Afflic­tions 2010 / Gig Har­bor Film Fes­ti­val, Gig Har­bor, WA, 2010
Afflic­tions 2010 / Soci­ety for Visual Anthro­pol­ogy Media Fes­ti­val, New Orleans, LA, 2010
Afflic­tions 2010 / Fin­ger Lakes Envi­ron­men­tal Film Fes­ti­val, Ithaca, NY, 2011
Afflic­tions 2010 / Glo­bians world+culture Doc­u­men­tary Film Fes­ti­val, Berlin, Ger­many, 2011
Afflic­tions 2010 / Tai­wan Inter­na­tional Ethno­graphic Film Fes­ti­val, Taipei, Tai­wan, 2011
Afflic­tions 2010 / Soci­ety for Visual Anthro­pol­ogy Media Fes­ti­val, New Orleans, LA, 2011
Afflic­tions 2011 / Third World Indie Film Fes­ti­val, Mil­pi­tas, CA, 2011
Shad­ows and Illu­mi­na­tions. Jean Rouch Inter­na­tional Ethno­graphic Film Fes­ti­val, Paris, France, 2011
Afflic­tions 2011 / Cinesol Film Fes­ti­val, Har­lin­gen, TX, 2012
Afflic­tions 2011 / Moon­dance Film Fes­ti­val, Boul­der, CO, 2012
Shad­ows and Illuminations / Los Ange­les Inter­na­tional Under­ground Film Fes­ti­val, Los Ange­les, CA, 2012
Shad­ows and Illu­mi­na­tions / Rich­mond Inter­na­tional Film Fes­ti­val, Rich­mond, VA.
Afflic­tions 2010 / Aware­ness Film Fes­ti­val, Los Ange­les, CA, 2012
Afflic­tions 2010 / Cincin­nati Film Fes­ti­val, Cincin­nati, OH, 2012
Afflic­tions 2011 / Cinesol Film Fes­ti­val, Har­lin­gen, TX, 2012
Afflic­tions 2011 / Semi-Finalist, Moon­dance Film Fes­ti­val, Boul­der, CO, 2012
Shad­ows and Illu­mi­na­tions / Win­ner, Best Doc­u­men­tary Fea­ture, Los Ange­les Inter­na­tional Under­ground Film Fes­ti­val, Los Ange­les, CA, 2012
Shad­ows and Illu­mi­na­tions / Win­ner, 1st Place Doc­u­men­tary Fea­ture, Los Ange­les Reel Film Fes­ti­val, Los Ange­les, CA, 2012
Shad­ows and Illu­mi­na­tions / Nom­i­nee, Hon­or­able Men­tion, Rich­mond Inter­na­tional Film Fes­ti­val, Rich­mond, VA, 2012
Fam­ily Vic­tim / Sun & Sand Film Fes­ti­val, Biloxi, MS, 2012
The Bird Dancer / Off­shoot Film Fes­ti­val, Fayet­teville, AK, 2012
Kites and Mon­sters / World­Kids Inter­na­tional Film Fes­ti­val, Mum­bai, India, 2012
Mem­ory of My Face / San Fran­cisco Shorts Film Fes­ti­val, San Fran­cisco, CA, 2012
Mem­ory of My Face / Spe­cial Men­tion, Caserta Ethno­graphic Film Fes­ti­val, Caserta, Italy, 2012
Shad­ows and Illu­mi­na­tions / Win­ner, Award of Excel­lence, Best Shorts Com­pe­ti­tion, La Jolla, CA, 2012
Rit­ual Bur­dens / Win­ner, Bronze Award for Short Doc­u­men­tary, Pres­tige Film Awards, 2012
Mem­ory of My Face / North­ern Cal­i­for­nia Inter­na­tional Film Fes­ti­val, Modesto, CA, 2013
The Bird Dancer / Fall­brook Film Fes­ti­val, Fall­brook, CA 2013
Kites and Mon­sters / Win­ner, 2nd Place Short Doc­u­men­tary Com­pe­ti­tion, “Best Edit­ing”, “Best Sound Design”, Los Ange­les New Wave Film Fes­ti­val, Los Ange­les, CA 2013
Kites and Mon­sters / Hum­boldt Film Fes­ti­val, Hum­boldt, CA 2013
Mem­ory of My Face / Amoroso Teatro Film Fes­ti­val, Italy, 2013
Afflic­tions 2010 / Win­ner, Spe­cial Jury Prize, Cal­i­for­nia Film Awards, San Diego, CA, 2013
Shad­ows and Illu­mi­na­tions / Hon­or­able Men­tion, Sun­set Film Fes­ti­val, Los Ange­les, CA, 2013
Afflic­tions 2010 / Win­ner, Award of Excel­lence, Inter­na­tional Film Fes­ti­val for Peace, Inspi­ra­tion and Equal­ity, Jakarta, Indone­sia, 2013
Memory of My Face, Aceh Documentary Film Festival, Aceh, Indonesia, 2015

Jathi­lan: Trance and Pos­ses­sion in Java
Parnu Inter­na­tional Doc­u­men­tary and Anthro­pol­ogy Film Fes­ti­val, Parnu, Esto­nia, 2012
Days of Ethno­graphic Cin­ema, Ljubli­jana, Rus­sia, 2012
Inter­na­tional Film Fes­ti­val of Cin­e­matic Arts (Shorts and Micro Cin­ema) Los Ange­les, Los Ange­les, CA, 2012
Sun­screen Film Fes­ti­val, St. Peters­burg, Florida, 2013

Ngaben: Emo­tion & Restraint in a Bali­nese Heart
Sara­sota Film Fes­ti­val, Sara­sota, Florida, 2013
Russ­ian Anthro­po­log­i­cal Film Fes­ti­val, Eka­ter­in­burg, Rus­sia, 2013
Win­ner, Hon­or­able Men­tion for Doc­u­men­tary Short, Inter­na­tional Film Fes­ti­val for Envi­ron­ment, Health and Cul­ture, Jakarta, Indone­sia, 2013
Fes­ti­val Inter­na­tional du Film Ethno­graphique du Que­bec (FIFEQ), Que­bec, Canada, 2014
Ethno­grafilm, Paris, France, 2014
Frozen River Film Fes­ti­val, Winona, MI, 2014
Eth­nocineca Ethno­graphic and Doc­u­men­tary Film­Fest Vienna, Vienna, Italy, 2014
Espiello Inter­na­tional Ethno­graphic and Doc­u­men­tary Film Fes­ti­val of Sobrarbe, Aragon, Spain, 2014
Inter­na­tional Fes­ti­val of Etho­log­i­cal Film Bel­grade, Bel­grade, Ser­bia, 2014
Rural Route Film Festival, New York, 2014

Stand­ing on the Edge of a Thorn
New­port Beach Film Fes­ti­val, New­port, CA, 2013
10th “Eyes and Lenses” Ethno­graphic Film Review, War­saw, Poland, 2013
Parnu Inter­na­tional Film Fes­ti­val, Parnu, Esto­nia, 2013
United Nations Asso­ci­a­tion Film Fes­ti­val, Stan­ford, CA, 2013
Aper­ture Asia Pacific Inter­na­tional Ethno­graphic Doc­u­men­tary Film Fes­ti­val, Mel­bourne, Aus­tralia, 2013
Ethno­grafilm, Paris, France, 2014
Frozen River Film Fes­ti­val, Winona, MI, 2014
6th International Festival of Anthropology Film Festival, Vancouver, BC, Canada, 2014

Bitter Honey
Days of Ethnographic Film, Ljubljana, Slovenia, 2015
FIFEQ, Montreal, Quebec, 2015
AAS Film Expo, Chicago, 2015
ETNOFILM, Croatia, 2015
RAI International Festival of Ethnographic Film, Bristol, UK, 2015
Taiwan International Ethnographic Film Festival, Taipei, Taiwan, 2015
Tiburon Film Society, Sausalito, CA, 2015
RAI International Festival of Ethnographic Film at USC, Los Angeles, USA, 2016

Degrees

M.A., University of Chicago (1987)

Ph.D., University of California Los Angeles (1999)