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Vanishing Cultures Bushmen of the Kalahari
Year:  2005
Running Time:  55 minutes
Country:  USA/Botswana
Genre:  Documentary
Venue:  Tiburon Library, 1501 Tiburon Blvd., Tiburon
Cast:  Michael York
Director:  Paula Ely

Description:
  [Screening @ Tiburon Film Society]

The San people, more commonly known as Bushmen, are believed to be the earliest inhabitants of southern Africa. They have lived for 80,000 years as hunter-gatherers in the Kalahari Desert, and are well-known for their expert survival skills in a harsh environment. Their unique clicking languages and their astonishing method of healing through trance dancing have made them a source of worldwide fascination to both curious Westerners and anthropologists.

Despite their amazing abilities, the Bushmen have long faced pressures from more dominant tribes and European settlers. These nonviolent people have been overpowered and enslaved for hundreds of years, and now cattle ranches, diamond mines, and tourism projects have confined the San to a small portion of the land they once freely roamed. This marginalized and impoverished community faces a great deal of discrimination, as they are often seen as primitive and uncivilized. These vanishing people have even been forcibly evicted from their last remaining homeland, relocated into settlement camps and required to depend on governmental and outside aid.

In the face of these challenges, the Bushmen have now begun to stand up to reclaim their heritage, their land, and their dignity. They have recently recognized an economic benefit to their distinctive knowledge and cultural traditions, and have developed several projects to preserve their culture while making their way in the modern world, from hunting and cultural safaris to sales of indigenous arts and crafts. The San are also engaged in a desperate legal battle to recover a small portion of their native homeland in the central Kalahari before their culture is lost forever.

“Vanishing Cultures: Bushmen of the Kalahari” visits the troubled San community whose once thriving culture is now facing extinction. This one-hour documentary takes a never-before-seen look at the fascinating history, the brutal struggles, and the seemingly impossible challenges of the Bushmen of the Kalahari.

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Festivals & Awards:

- LA Femme Film Festival, Beverly Hills
- Global Peace Film Festival, Orlando
- Gulf Coast Film Festival, Best Documentary, Houston
- Globians World and Cultures Festival, Potsdam, Germany
- Reel HeART International Film Festival, Toronto, Canada



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