Bitter Roots

The film 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 1950s by John Marshall, whose films documented 50 years of change, and who together with Claire Ritchie, established a grass-roots development foundation, which Adrian Strong joined in the late 1980s. Shot in 2007, two years after Marshall’s death and including footage from his films, Bitter Roots documents the return of Strong and Ritchie to Nyae-Nyae where they observe the erosion of a community-led development process following the imposition of a new agenda by the World Wildlife Fund, which prioritizes wildlife conservation and tourism over subsistence farming.

Adrian Strong

In 2011 Adrian completed his PhD on filmic representation of the Ju/’hoansi of Nyae-Nyae (in Namibia, Africa) focusing on 50 years of filmmaking by John Marshall. His book, based on this thesis, entitled “Filming Real People: John Marshall, Ju/’huansi and the Bushmen myth” is published by Intervention Press. Adrian has also worked with Indigenous communities in Australia, teaching filmmaking in Far North Queensland and making films about ‘Contact period’ Rock Art for Griffith University with Australian archaeologists and Aboriginal traditional owners. His most recent film is a feature documentary called ‘Fantome Island’ featuring the return of Joe Eggmolese to Fantome Island, a leper colony in Far North Queensland where he was incarcerated for ten years as boy in the 1940s and 1950s. Adrian also holds Masters degrees in Physics and Mythology. Currently, he runs a B&B, Mas Saint Joseph, in the south of France.