About the Project Team


The driving force behind this project are filmmakers Eric Lake and Athena Gam, an experienced creative team dedicated to bringing this compelling vision to the big-screen and beyond.

Eric-BushmenEric Lake is a producer and co-founder of Emerging Beyond Films, which he launched to create films that promote social change and shift widespread consciousness through the power of narrative storytelling. During his development deal with producer John H. Williams and Vanguard Films, Eric oversaw the development of live-action and animated films, working with several Oscar Best Animated Feature nominated directors.

An alumni of the California Institute of the Arts (CalArts), Eric has worked on animated feature films for Warner Bros., Fox, Starz Media, and Disney. He was instrumental in setting up animation studios for Vanguard Films & Animation in Los Angeles, London and Vancouver. In addition to his work in the film industry, Eric is an owner and financial manager of a successful drug and alcohol treatment business in Newport Beach, California.

Athena-BushmenAthena Gam is co-founder of Emerging Beyond Films and is passionate about working with indigenous peoples and sharing stories that evoke, awaken, and inspire. As a screenwriter who has written and developed live-action and animation screenplays, working with Shrek producer John H. Williams, Oscar nominated stop-animation film director Mike Johnson (The Corpse Bride) and Oscar nominated animated feature film director John Stevenson (Kung Fu Panda).

In professional theater, Athena worked with influential playwrights such as Athol Fugard (Blood Knot), August Wilson (Fences) and playwright, producer and television series creator, Jon Robin Bates. Athena is a graduate of the California Institute of the Arts and has directed a number of low-budget live action and animated films and documentaries.

Anna Festus, Project Advisor for Song of the Kalahari, is Ovambo and Khomani Bushmen of the “Red Dunes” people of the southern Kalahari. She is a cultural liaison for the Khomani in South Africa and has traveled worldwide as a representative of her people. Anna has been a fieldworker for the South African San Institute (SASI) and served as personal assistant to her uncle, the late notable traditional Khomani Bushmen leader, Oom Dawid Kruiper. Anna is currently writing a book on the history of her people as well as working on the creation of a veldschool and an eco-tourism project for the Khomani Bushmen in Upington, South Africa.

Nicole-BushmenDr. Nicole Apelian, Project Advisor, is a cultural anthropologist and Southern Africa specialist, whose ongoing relationship with the Bushmen has led to the study and implementation of restorative cultural programs to preserve Bushmen intergenerational knowledge. Her doctorate is focused in Cultural Anthropology within the field of Sustainability Education. She is currently working on an ethnobotanical study of Bushmen plant uses in the Kalahari Basin and is one of the primary guides for her company Eco Tours International. Nicole is a founder of the Origins project, an initiative working to bring a deepening sense of pride and self-determination among San Bushmen communities in the Kalahari.