Weaving together Bushmen folklore, art, song and story, Song of the Kalahari takes viewers on a journey through the wilds of the Kalahari Desert, exploring the beauty and struggles of a hunter-gatherer people in a rapidly changing world. This film is being created in collaboration with Kalahari Bushmen as an avenue to provide direct benefit for the Bushmen communities we are working with.
The story of Song of the Kalahari is based on historical facts and personal first-hand accounts. The vision of Song of the Kalahari is to use the power of dramatic storytelling to create positive awareness about the value and relevance of the Bushmen culture, while also providing meaningful insights into the Bushmen way of life, reaching audiences worldwide through an engaging, relatable animated film.
The medium of animation was chosen by the creative team as the best avenue for this story, both to provide a unique visual style and to protect the anonymity of the Bushmen working with us. Bushmen who take a stand against the human rights abuses they are facing are often targeted and punished by government reprisals. An animated film allows the Bushmen’s stories to be shared without calling unwanted attention to any specific village or person.
This animated trailer is a “proof of concept” production test that demonstrates the software and techniques that will be used to make Song of the Kalahari. The artistic style of the finished film will continue to evolve. The production is excited to be working with Bushmen painters and artists to further develop a visual look for the film based on contemporary Bushmen art.
Folklore and the oral tradition of telling stories is central to the Bushmen culture and how they relate to each other and the world around them. Song of the Kalahari is woven from such stories shared by the Bushmen, bringing forward their personal experiences, their spiritual traditions and their ecological knowledge and relationships with the plants, animals, the natural world, and a modernizing Africa as it encroaches on those spaces.
To create a cohesive narrative from the different story elements, Song of the Kalahari will be told from the perspective of a Bushmen hunter named Du. The film tells the story of Du’s life, transcending time, beginning with the cosmological origins of the Bushmen people and traversing the history of this hunter-gather people as Du ages, until the story reaches today.
The visual look for Song of the Kalahari will be informed and inspired by ancient Bushmen rock art found across Southern Africa, as well as contemporary Bushmen Art reflecting the styles of current Bushmen artists. The production is excited to have developed a relationship with several Bushmen artists who have offered to share their unique visual style to inspire the Creative Team.
“Giraffe Dance” by Bushmen Artist Jan Tcega John
The above print was a gift to the Creative Team from the Kuru Art Project by one of the artists we will be working with, as a sign of friendship.