John Marshall ‐ The !Kung Project

John Mar­shall, film­mak­er and activist, is best known for his life­time involve­ment with the Ju/‘hoansi (!Kung Bush­men) of Nyae Nyae in Namib­i­a’s Kala­hari Desert. He first picked up a camera in 1949, at the age of 17, during the first of sev­er­al expe­di­tions to the Kala­hari orga­nized by his father, Lau­rence Mar­shall. The whole Mar­shall family - includ­ing John’s mother, Lorna, and sister, Eliz­a­beth Mar­shall Thomas - became engaged in a multi-dis­ci­pli­nary study of the Ju/‘hoansi. John applied him­self whole-heart­ed­ly to the task of film­ing, he was a nat­ur­al cam­era­man. His first film, The Hunters (1957), was an almost instant clas­sic of ethno­graph­ic film. John con­tin­ued his doc­u­men­tary record of Ju/‘hoansi, direct­ing his final shoot in 2000. He has since shot over 600,000 feet of film from which 26 films were edited. A KALAHARI FAMILY (2002) his epic six-hour series, tells the story of the Ju/‘hoansi from 1950-2000 and charts John’s evo­lu­tion from film­mak­er to activist. John con­tin­ued his advo­ca­cy work until short­ly before his death in 2005. His legacy - both in film and in the Ju/‘hoan com­mu­ni­ty - lives on. … read more

Bitter Roots

Adrian Strong
Great Britain, Namibia 2010 | 71 Min. | OmeU
Q&A with:
Adrian Strong
BITTER ROOTS is set in Nyae-Nyae, a region of Namib­ia locat­ed in south­ern Africa’s Kala­hari desert, tra­di­tion­al home of the Ju/‘hoansi. It updates the ethno­graph­ic film record begun in the … read more

The Hunters

John Marshall
Namibia, USA | 57 Min. | OmeU

THE HUNTERS, an early clas­sic in anthro­po­log­i­cal film, fol­lows the hunt of a giraffe by four men over a five-day period. The film was shot in 1952-53 on the third joint Smith­son­ian-Har­vard Peabody spon­sored Mar­shall family expe­di­tion to Africa to study Ju/‘hoansi, one of the few sur­viv­ing groups that lived by hunt­ing – gath­er­ing. The hunt is por­trayed in a mon­tage of dif­fer­ent hunt­ing scenes cap­tured on film. Although these took place at dif­fer­ent times and in dif­fer­ent places, over­all the sequence reflects the real con­di­tions. The film is an homage to hunt­ing, despite the fact that 80% of the !Kungs’ diet con­sist­ed of plants gath­ered by the women and men. The killed ani­mals were not only a source of much-needed pro­tein; they also pro­vid­ed cloth­ing, sinews, bags, and trade goods. The film does not cor­rect the false belief that the Ju/‘hoansi ter­ri­to­ry was defined by hunt­ing when in fact it was defined by reli­able sources of water and edible plants.