In Development

We are currently in the early stages of project development for a new fiction film,with the working title, GODLESS.


South Africa, 1949. The genocide of the last native Bushman clans by gangs of land-grabbing colonialist farmers, is in full swing on the vast plains of the Kalahari Desert. The teenage grandson of a white Afrikaner patriarch is forced to make a bitter choice between the colonial worldview of his ‘own people’ and the condemned family of the Bushman girl he loves.

The Story

GODLESS is set in the last days of ethnic cleansing of the native San people in the Southern Kalahari of Southern Africa. In Bushman cosmology, life is a dream that is dreamt by our ancestors: ‘There's a dream dreaming us’. Their existence may one day only be remembered in images as fleeting as the dream that is dreaming us. This story represents a few fleeting moments in the passage of that dream.

It’s the winter of 1949. In the vast red, rippling dunelands of the Kalahari Desert, the land-grabbing and fencing practices of white settlers have permanently disrupted the lives and migration paths of the native population and wildlife. Hunting and over-grazing by large flocks of sheep have depleted the natural resources to critical levels. The few remaining native Bushmen clans in the region are forced to raid the white farmers’ flocks to avoid starvation. The farmers react with relentless violence. When a shepherd at Hebron, the farm of patriarch Paulus Treurnicht (60s) is killed during a Bushman stock raid, the cup is full. Paulus and his son, Silas (40s), call together an armed posse to put an end to the ‘Bushman plague’ and rid the territory of the Bushmen who have lived on these plains for thousands of years.

Paulus’ grandson, Thomas (16), and contemporaries Kleintjie (Little One) and Meisie (Little Girl), the teenage children of Bushman farm labourers, grew up like brothers and sister on plains of Hebron. Thomas and Kleintjie have learnt everything they know about hunting from Meisie’s father, Witbooi, a legendary tracker who, with his wife, Oortjies (Little Ears), works for Paulus under slave-like conditions. Both Thomas and Kleintjie harbour a secret love for the lovely Meisie. A racially impossible, implicit love is uncovered by Meisie’s jealous conduct following Thomas’ visit to Marda, the teenage daughter of a neighbouring farmer. The innocent, forbidden love grows with fits and starts as the tension between the Bushmen and farmers accelerates and both Thomas and Meisie begin to realise they will inevitably be forced to choose sides.

Paulus and his posse rely on Witbooi’s tracking skills to hunt down the elusive ‘wild’ Bushmen. The trackers initially co-operate in the manhunt, but the conflict of interest soon becomes evident as Paulus discovers that they are consistently being led down false trails. After the gruesome massacre of an entire Bushman clan, Witbooi refuses to continue to participate in the manhunt. He is punished with a vicious lashing for insubordination. The same night, after a tribal trance dance, in which Thomas participates, Witbooi, his family and Kleintjie vanish from Hebron, leaving no trace under the bloated full moon hanging over the sacred hill known as Boesmanskop. Now, on the eve of manhood, Thomas, the future heir of Hebron, is faced with the moral predicament of participating in the execution of his ‘Bushman family’ or standing up against his ‘own white tribe’.

The last, relentless leg of the manhunt leads the posse to the sacred grounds at the top of Boesmanskop. Being the closest point to the stars, the hilltop is the ‘station’ from which the souls of the Bushmen can depart to join their ancestors amongst the stars. It is here that the posse surrounds Witbooi’s family and a gravely injured Kleintjie. When the Bushmen refuse to surrender, Silas executes Kleintjie at point blank. In the same instant, Witbooi appears out of nowhere and slays Silas with a poisoned arrow from his bow. In this final moment of the Bushman ‘dream that is dreaming us’, Thomas takes a desperate stand against his own tribe to protect Meisie, but the massacre that follows culminates in the eradication of the last native Bushman clan of the Southern Kalahari. Meisie dies in Thomas’ arms. After the massacre, Thomas buries his Bushman family in the traditional Bushman way on top of the sacred hill in preparation for their journey to become stars in the African sky.


Writer/director HEINRICH DAHMS has completed the screenplay with the support of the Netherlands Film Fund, where it has also been approved for the next development phase, namely PROJECT DEVELOPMENT. We are currently looking for production partners for the further development of the project.

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