!Khwa Ttu: The San Film Festival 2012

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In parallel with Encounters Documentary Festival !Khwa ttu San Culture and Education Centre hosts an “a la carte” festival of documentary films that focus on San peoples. From 8 – 24 June visitors to the centre are welcome to choose a film to be screened in the auditorium (50-seater), either on the spot or by making a booking: 076-890 8826 (Magdalena). Synopses of films are on the website. All screenings are free of charge.

Special focus weekends have been scheduled for film directors who specialize in the field of first peoples film making, such as Richard Wicksteed, the Foster Brothers and Richard Pakleppa, who have been invited to introduce their films and for Q&A sessions after the screenings. Regular updates will appear on Facebook. For a limited number of aspiring film makers Richard Wicksteed hosts a workshop entitled “Introduction to video production and distribution from remote areas for First People communicators” between 20-23 June 2012. Bookings” 076-890 8826 (Magdalena).

Selected films synopses:

My Hunter’s Heart (2011)

Craig & Damon Foster (SA)

My Hunter’s Heart, shot over three and a half years, the film explores the world’s most ancient shamanic culture which is severely threatened as their traditional way of life and skills have been taken away from them. It tracks the Khomani San of the Southern

Kalahari, the oldest living indigenous tribe in the world, who are genetically linked to every human being on Planet Earth. In modern times, their traditional nomadic way of life has changed and westernisation has severed their link to the land and the animals. The film follows younger members of the clan, /Urugab and his family, as they embark on an epic journey to try to recapture some of the knowledge and skills of their ancestors. the knowledge and skills of their ancestors

Voices of our Forefathers

Tom hart & Lee Garakara (SA) 10min

Integration of animation and real life images, the film focuses on the lives of the Khwe speaking San community in Platfontein near Kimberley. The film revolves around the relationship between a grandfather and his grandson, drawing on the animation skills of Lee Garakara.

Cosmic Africa (2002)

Craig & Damon Foster (SA) 1hr12mins

Cosmic Africa explores Africa’s traditional astronomy of times gone by. It’s a documentary film co-production between Cosmos Studios, Åland Pictures and Rogers’s production that both explores and sheds light on traditional African astronomy and in turn global understanding of the world’s oldest knowledge. During the invention of the film, the team’s heavenly assignment put them in contact with chiefs, archaeologists, storytellers, shamans, star lore experts and many others just to mention a few in different countries. Cosmic Africa introduces African star lore to the world.

Da Terra, do Fogo e da Água (2009)

Richard Pakleppa (Nam) 44min

“Of Land, of Fire and Water- Voices of Angola’s San” examines the lives of the Angolan San exclusively the !Xun community in southern Angola and raises universal human rights issues. According to Dr Vigilio Tyova’s words – he referred to the San in the first part of the film as, “Those who were here first and today are the last on the social ladder…” The government of Angola has finally recognised the !Xun San community as citizens of that country.

The Great Dance (Botswana)

Craig and Damon Foster 1hr1min

“Tracking is like dancing … you are talking with god when you are doing these things.” !Nqate is a hunter. His home is the Kalahari; his people depend on him for survival. This is his story, in his own words. A story of three San hunters at their most extreme limits of endurance, culminating in “the Chasing Hunt” – a ritual that has never before been revealed to the world outside of the Kalahari. Discover the extraordinary spiritual relationship between the hunter and the hunted. Marvel at the incredible wealth of knowledge of San people about the environment around them. This award winning film shares amazing insight into one of the world’s disappearing indigenous cultures and its battle for survival.

My Land Is My Dignity (2008)

Richard Wicksteed (Botswana) 57min

The San have lived in Botswana’s Kalahari since the dawn of time but the Government wants the San to drop their old ways and leave the Central Kalahari. After the negotiations broke down the San took the Botswana government to the High Court to fight for their rights. At the discovery of diamonds in the Central Kalahari Game Reservethe Botswana Government reversed its policy of taking development to San residents in the Reserve and launched a series of forced removals of these peaceful huntergatherers from an area where they have practiced their culture for ten of thousand years. A documentary on the fight by Botswana San/Bushmen to retain ancestral land rights in the Central Kalahari Game Reserve. Shot between 2004 and 2007

Where the First are Last

Richard Pakleppa & Americo Kwononoka (Angola) 28min

Little was known about the San in the last thirty years. They were the older of first inhabitants of Angola, the hunter – gathers, their linguistic and cultural identity are very different from the numerous Bantu groups. It was thought that many San have fled the country or died in the war. WIMSA, a network of San organizations of Southern Africa, sends consultants to meet with the communities in Angola to ask questions and hold discussions about sources of food, income, land use and rights, health, education and needs.

The needs assessment of San communities in Angola referred to in this video dairy was commissioned by Trocare Angola and WIMSA in cooperation with OCADEC (Benedito Quessongo Advocacy OCADEC)

Fresh From the Ground (2009)

Richard Wicksteed 12min

Documentary report on traditional plant knowledge systems and biodiversity issues in southern Africa, for IPACC and the Global Diversity Foundation (GDF).

Tracking in the Cyber Age (2009)

Richard Wicksteed 12min

Field report on the use of CyberTracker GPS tracking technology by indigenous peoples in ecological and cultural projects, for the Indigenous Peoples of Africa Co-ordinating Committee (IPACC).

Remapping Africa (2008)

Richard Wicksteed 12 min

Field report on participatory mapping by hunter-gatherer and nomadic pastoralist communities, for the Indigenous Peoples of Africa Co-ordinating Committee (IPACC).

The Will to Survive (2008)

Richard Wicksteed

Episode one of series titled The Art of God, series director Guy Spiller. Documentary on San cultural heritage and the state of San communities in southern Africa today. Producer: Origins Centre, University of the Witwatersrand. Completed 2007; broadcast by SABC TV.

Bushman’s Secret (2006)

Richard Wicksteed

Exploration of the relationship between San traditional healing and international pharmaceutical systems. Shot in 2003-6; screened at Encounters Documentary Film Festival South Africa 2006. Silver Dhow award at Zanzibar International Film Festival 2007 and Jury Prize for Documentary at Amazonas Film Festival, Brazil, 2007.

Iindawo ZikaThixo – In God’s Places (1996)

Richard Wicksteed

Documentary on the Bushman cultural legacy amongst the amaMpondomise, BaSotho & BaPuthi peoples of the southern Drakensberg.

For more information, visit the festival website.

Nathan Miller
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