“A House Without Snakes” Premieres at Top Documentary Film Festival

It’s been more than two years since I drafted my application for the Fulbright-National Geographic Fellowship. I remember how a friend told me about the application a week or two before it was due, and I submitted everything in a last-minute frenzy of writing. Little did I know that I would actually receive the fellowship and embark on what has been one of the greatest – and most difficult – adventures of my life.

Now I stand at the end of the road. We locked picture earlier this week, and we’re shifting gears to music and sound design in preparation for the film’s world premiere at the Full Frame Documentary Film Festival in Durham, North Carolina. Here’s an updated trailer to celebrate! Check it out and please like the film on Facebook to receive updates: www.facebook.com/AHouseWithoutSnakesFilm

“A House Without Snakes” is about two young Bushmen in Botswana who struggle to build their futures in the wake of their people’s relocation from their ancestral homeland. Ketelelo looks to education as a way to reinvent himself and provide for his family. Meanwhile, Kitsiso wonders whether he should stay in his ancestral homeland to honor his father or seek a new life in town. The film is an intimate coming-of-age portrait that explores the tension between modernity and tradition through the lens of two individuals’ hopes and fears.

Ketelelo and his Grandmother
Ketelelo: “When I go through New Xade, I see a lot of hopeless faces. If you lose your land, then you are you? It’s upon us as the youth to find out who we really want to be.” (Photo credit: Daniel Koehler)

Full Frame released their schedule today. “A House Without Snakes” will screen two times during the festival:

Friday, April 8 at 1PM in Cinema 1

Saturday, April 9 at 5PM in the Full Frame Theater

I went to school at Elon University not far from Durham, and Full Frame was the first film festival I ever attended. I was wowed by the incredible stories I saw there, and I left each screening feeling inspired. “One day,” I told myself, “I’ll screen a film there.”

And now I am.

Of course, none of it would have been possible without the incredible support I’ve received along the way from mentors, family, and friends – thank you! And a special thanks goes to Fulbright and National Geographic for making the fellowship possible.

Daniel Koehler, of New York City, is one of five grantees selected from among 864 applicants for a Fulbright-National Geographic Digital Storytelling Fellowship, which is the first of its kind. He will film a documentary on the San living near the Central Kalahari Game Reserve in Botswana, focusing on the loss and change of their culture.

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