Tag Archives: nswezi

Kusamira: the Book is Available NOW!

At long last, the project at the center of my ethnographic research focus since 2006 is finally published. Get your copy now, stay tuned for multimedia components to come (beyond the film), and get in touch if you’re interested in discussing this work with colleagues and students!

Need a little teaser? Head over to the University of Illinois Press Blog for an interview about the project.

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Birth of an Ancestor (film)

I’ve been on hiatus here a while, but there truly wasn’t much interesting content to post, and I wasn’t just sure who was still reading. Alas, several folks have landed here and found my other work, so I’m back to share some updates. This is the first; more to come soon…

A few years ago, I got some great support at Claflin University to turn materials from my fieldwork into a documentary film called Birth of an Ancestor. Apart from an excellent digital video course I took from a tremendous teacher at Florida State a few years prior, the only experience I had was hours of participant observation during field research. It turns out half the battle is having great material to shoot. The other half, as every reluctant post-production editor learns, is having decent gear and good conceptual habits. Evidently I was able to cobble together some combination of these to produce this film.

I showed part of it at the conclusion of the grant period at a collaborative exhibition we did at Claflin’s Arthur Rose Museum, and later that same year, Claflin funded an opportunity to do follow-up work in the village where I shot the initial footage. Well, I finally finished the project, and 2020 pandemic lockdown gave me time to find a few festivals and a distributor for it. Word to the wise first-time filmmaker: FilmFreeway is your friend. If you make content for academic audiences, you should also know that conferences, distributors, and festivals abound, so no excuses: get your stuff out there. Check out the Birth of an Ancestor trailer here.

Over the summer, this thing made its way through a few independent film festivals, and this morning I was delighted to learn that the film earned Silver honors at an indie festival in Atlanta!

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