Dear friends and supporters of A BUSHMAN ODYSSEY,
This update features a clip from the rough cut of A BUSHMAN ODYSSEY, and a news update on a recent brutal assault on Buks Kruiper, by a security guard at an Upington store. See http://www.iol.co.za/capetimes/san-man-strung-up-and-beaten-1.1466459#.URS2mLAq_mg.facebook
We trust and pray that Buks will make a full recovery. Buks, a master tracker, is Dawid Kruiper's surviving brother, and one of our lead characters,
The clip from the rough cut features Buks and Isak Kruiper, on our final shoot in the Kgalagadi Transfrontier Park (KTP) late last year. Shot by Director of Photography Karl Symons and editor Jo Higgs, the clip opens at the gate to the Bushman Heritage Section of the KTP, named by the Bushmen as the !Ae!Hai Kalahari Heritage Park.
Buks and Isak speak in Afrikaans, and the clip is not subtitled, so for those of you unfamiliar with Afrikaans, I give a translation below.
Buks speaks about the weather as a message from the spirit of his grandfather, Ou Makai, welcoming the Bushmen back into their ancestral home in the KTP. There is a rumble of thunder in the distance, and Buks says:
“See how the weather looks today. He looks beautiful and he speaks and says he has been away a long time. He longed so much to talk to us, with rain. He says he knows we are his children. Children of the Earth. The earth is dry and he wants us to live well. What he wants to tell us; he says he’s on his way to us. He says he will rain, and soon the earth will be green again. There will be food.
“I feel happy to hear him speak so, after a few dry months. Do you hear what he tells us?”
Then Isak Kruiper, Dawid’s half-brother, says:
“As we arrive here, the rain is here. We waited for the rain, for so many months, we waited for rain, and it’s a very good sign. The spirit is good, the crossing (into the Park) is here and we feel it’s such a happy moment to be on the ground again, inside the Park, being greeted by the rain.”
We hope you enjoy the clip. It seems it takes a while to load, so please be patient and alert us if you are unable to download, in which case I'll upload a lower-res version.
The rough cut is proceeding well, but we still have a long way to go; we estimate we'll complete it by mid-April.
We're working with 90 hours of footage and many more hours of archive, in three languages, so you'll appreciate the volume and complexity of the task at hand - the multiple story-lines and themes, covering five generations of the Kruiper family's history.
Editor Jo Higgs is doing beautiful work, and we are also being assisted by super-talented script and video editor Brenda Goldblatt, who recently joined the team.
Please address any queries you may have to me. We will update again in due course, and as any further news develops.
With thanks and kind regards
Director, A Bushman Odyssey
The attached stills from the last shoot were taken by Grant Ashfield(c) .
Since our last update we've been to Botswana to film Jon and Buks Kruiper with Nharo San/Bushman traditional healers; and for the past weeks have been logging, translating and preparing the edit script from the roughly 70 hours of footage shot over the past two years.
It's been a daunting task but we are now ready to begin the edit.
Kuru Dance Festival Shoot
In August we traveled to the Kuru Dance Festival in Botswana with Dawid's brother, Buks, and son, Jon, who Dawid appointed to follow him as leader of the Khomani Bushman community.
The Kuru Dance Festival is a powerful celebration of San/Bushman culture - we filmed wonderful dance sequences as well as poignant meetings between Buks and Jon and the Nharo San healers Xgaiga Qomotca and Xhara Xoma, both of whom knew Dawid Kruiper.
Buks and Jon discussed Dawid's death with Xgaiga and Xhara, and ways to strengthen Bushman traditional culture in South Africa's Khomani Bushman community. They agreed on further cultural exchanges between their communities, and shared medicinal knowledge.
Xhara and Xgaiga and their healing dancers then performed a traditional trance healing dance for Buks and Jon, during which they worked on healing the Kruipers of their many physical and psychic ailments. This process will hopefully continue into the future.
The footage we filmed at Kuru makes for a poignant and uplifting closing sequence to A Bushman Odyssey. We include some frame grabs from this shoot with this update.
Tragically, just two weeks after our return to South Africa from Botswana, Buks' wife /Nate passed away in the Kalahari after a long illness, and we had to bid farewell to yet another member of the dwindling group of Kruiper family elders ...
Editor: Jo Higgs
After filming in the Kalahari during Dawid Kruiper's funeral and at the Kuru Dance Festival in Botswana, we returned to Cape Town and began organizing the edit process. We appointed talented and passionate Cape Town based editor Jo Higgs of Go Trolley Films to edit A Bushman Odyssey.
Jo has a Masters Degree – MFA in Film and Television (UCT, 2004) and graduated Honours cum laude in Film Theory & Practice (UCT, 2002). She has edited, produced and directed many fine productions and is committed to the vision of A Bushman Odyssey.
From Jo Higgs' Bio:
"Jo Higgs is a filmmaker who believes whole-heartedly in the power of good stories to change the world.
"The years following her Master’s degree at the University of Cape Town in 2004 have been filled with extraordinary adventures, from the rainforests of the Congo Basin to international coverage of the FIFA World Cup 2010.
"Jo has been a journalist, fixer, editor, producer, camera operator and director for both local and international television networks, including Reuters and the BBC.
"In Cape Town, she heads up production house, Go Trolley Films. She enjoys lecturing in documentary making at various training institutions. She has been described by Duane Clarke (Director, CSI Miami) as having a ‘great gift for storytelling’.
"'Men From Atlantis' is her first internationally acclaimed documentary. 'Driving William', her second, was completed in April 2011.
"Her vision is to marry entertainment with social consciousness – to tell valuable stories that she hopes will effect positive change."
More about Jo here: http://gotrolley.com/
We look forward to completing A Bushman Odyssey with Jo ...
We will be editing til at least the end of November, and will keep you, our backers, updated of progress from time to time during this period. Please bear with us if updates are infrequent, as this phase of post-production requires intense concentration on the work at hand. We will upload clips from selected sequences as we go.
Please direct any queries you may have to us via Kickstarter, or via my email: firstname.lastname@example.org.
With many thanks for your continued support.
WE TRAVELLED to the Kalahari for Dawid Kruiper's state funeral on June 30, 2012, and stayed on with the Kruiper family and Bushman community after everyone had left, sharing their sense of loss, and mourning, and their determination to continue walking the path to the dream Dawid pioneered and wished his descendants to realise.
Dawid's dream remains alive amongst his family and Bushman followers, and with us as film-makers. This dream is embodied in Dawid's will to return to the wilderness with his people, to record the truth of his ancestral story, and to regenerate his ancestors' traditional knowledge through initiatives such as the veldskool he pioneered on the Bushman lands inside the Kgalagadi Transfrontier Park.
One of Dawid's last wishes was for the often hidden truths of the Kruiper family's ancestral story in the Kgalagadi wilderness to be recorded so his descendants could know their origins, and to place on record the Bushman version of history so often overlooked by the historians of cultures which dominated and exterminated the Bushman peoples of Southern Africa. He was confident that he would achieve this through recording his story for A BUSHMAN ODYSSEY and in the book to be published by Patricia Glyn.
During a visit to the Kalahari for Ouma Gcuna Rooi's funeral earlier this year, I spent a memorable evening with Oupa Dawid on Witdraai. He was relaxed and happy and, surrounded by friends, family and children, he reminisced happily about our journey through the Kagalagadi wilderness during filming for A BUSHMAN ODYSSEY and expressed deep satisfaction that we had recorded his story for posterity.
Dawid was aware of and deeply grateful for the phenomenal support from backers on the Kickstarter campaign, and knew his story would be shared with his people and the world via A BUSHMAN ODYSSEY.
Dawid's funeral was a huge event attended by a wide diversity of fellow Bushmen and friends, Nama and KhoiSan groups, government officials and a police honour guard, churchfolk, journalists, NGO representatives and admirers. The footage we filmed at the funeral and with Dawid's family afterward will form a moving and poignant part of the story we tell in A BUSHMAN ODYSSEY.
Dawid was buried on Witdraai farm, on the Khomani land claim which he piloted to fruition in 1999.
Dawid Kruiper leaves a powerful social and spiritual legacy which we honour as we proceed with post-production.
A BUSHMAN ODYSSEY is scheduled for completion by early November. We will upload selected clips during the edit process.
We are trying to organise a trip with the Kruiper family to the Kuru San Dance Festival in Botswana next month, during which the family would receive spiritual healing during a traditional San/Bushman healing dance ceremony. Costs are however a concern and we are trying to raise further funds for this journey. We will keep you posted.
Stills by Director of Photography Karl Symons, & by Delme Cupido of the Open Society Initiative of Southern Africa (OSISA). OSISA has also kindly backed post-production on A BUSHMAN ODYSSEY.
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