HomeNews & Views Foreign Flick Friday: Fulbright Fellow’s Documentary Follows Indigenous Youth in Botswana

Foreign Flick Friday: Fulbright Fellow’s Documentary Follows Indigenous Youth in Botswana


As Daniel Koehler recalls, creating A House Without Snakes was “one of the greatest—and most difficult—adventures” of his life.1 His documentary, however, was almost never created.

Koehler was the recipient of the 2014-15 Fulbright-National Geographic Digital Storytelling Fellowship, one of the most prestigious film fellowships in the world. The recent graduate had only heard of the fellowship shortly before the application closed. With a little luck, a lot of ambition, and plenty of determination, Koehler was accepted and embarked on a journey to Botswana where his film would come to life.

Overseas, Koehler found two young men just as ambitious and determined as himself. In the film, Ketelelo and Kitsiso, indigenous Bushmen being pressured out of their ancestral home, question their supposedly predetermined paths and what is expected of them. The film follows both men’s journeys as they discover the lives that they each want to live—while addressing the shift between generations and changes in the greater society surrounding them. To achieve their dreams, they must make important, and sometimes difficult, decisions.

{{Looking for tips on how to use films or shows to improve your language skills? See our inaugural Foreign Flick Friday post.}}

The documentary, produced in the indigenous Khoisan as well as English, uses a style of filming that allows audiences to form their own opinions about each young man’s choices, shedding light on the complexity of two striking coming-of-age portraits.

A House Without Snakes debuted at the 2016 Full Frame Documentary Film Festival, the first film festival Koehler ever attended, and won a Special Jury Award at the Sidewalk Film Festival.2

It’s movie night, so grab the popcorn and watch this trailer with us. Then tell us what you think @LeadWLanguages on social media.

Feeling inspired? Watch the full film here.

Is someday creating a documentary like A House Without Snakes one of your dreams? Have you got other language-related goals for which you’ll need support? Attending a degree program in your target language, studying abroad, completing a creative project, or something else…?

The first step to being awarded a fellowship or scholarship is to apply! Discover our Grants & Scholarships page for links to fellowships, scholarships and resources to get you started on the application process.