KALANDA - The Knowledge of the Bush

In some parts of West Africa, hunting is much more than killing animals. A donso is no common hunter, but a healer, a diviner, a ritual specialist and amulet maker. KALANDA - The Knowledge of the Bush is a unique initiatory journey into the knowledge of donsoya from the perspective of the filmmaker. It was filmed during a year of research in Burkina Faso, thanks to the filmmaker's initiation and practice of donsoya. His teacher becomes a narrator who carries him and the viewer through a variety of experiences that show the richness of the knowledge of donsoya. The camera and sound recording techniques work to position the viewer in the shoes of an apprentice: the whole documentary mixes autobiography and reconstruction, continuously blurring the line between teachings and fiction. Filming involved the hunters in a collaborative process, layering observational footage, experimental video, out-of-sync sound and still photography.

  • Lorenzo Ferrarini
  • Lorenzo Ferrarini
  • Lorenzo Ferrarini
  • Lorenzo Ferrarini
  • Project Type:
  • Runtime:
    1 hour 2 minutes
  • Completion Date:
    June 1, 2014
  • Production Budget:
    6,000 USD
  • Country of Origin:
    United Kingdom
  • Country of Filming:
    Burkina Faso
  • Language:
  • Shooting Format:
    Digital HD
  • Aspect Ratio:
  • Film Color:
  • First-time Filmmaker:
  • Student Project:
Director Biography - Lorenzo Ferrarini

Lorenzo Ferrarini is a filmmaker, photographer and sound recordist based at the University of Manchester, where he teaches Ethnographic Documentary at the Granada Centre for Visual Anthropology. Before moving to Britain he studied anthropology and ethnomusicology in Italy, where he collaborates with the LEAV – Ethnomusicology and Visual Anthropology Laboratory at the University of Milan. He completed two extensive researches on Egyptian migrants in Italy (2007-2008) and donso hunters in Western Burkina Faso (2011-2012). In both cases he used radically participatory methods, sharing everyday practical activities and the conception of his media projects. His previous documentaries include the experimental short “A Migrant’s Tale” (2008) and the feature “The Sambla Baan” (upcoming).

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Director Statement

This film emerges from a year of research in Burkina Faso. In order to study donso hunters, I had undergone initiation and become one myself, starting an apprenticeship with master hunter Adama Traoré. The idea I had was then to represent this process of learning donsoya in its different aspects, using ambiguously my point of view or that of some generic novice hunter. So I continuously mixed fiction and autobiography, documentary and reconstruction. I made my closest teachers and friends among the hunters part of the conception and realisation of the film, screening the footage to them and incorporating their suggestions and feedback. In particular my teacher Adama assumed the role of narrator, connecting the various sections with his reflections and memories. The result is a complex, multi-layered film, which continuously plays with ambiguities: observer vs. participant point of view, biography vs. documentation, authentic vs. enacted, public vs. esoteric.