Remembering John Marshall

Remembering John Marshall

Remembering John Marshall (2006, 16 min.) is a short documentary I directed and edited in collaboration with Alice Apley. The film presents a brief portrait of John Kennedy Marshall, the late documentary filmmaker and activist who began his career in the 1950s documenting the lives of the Ju/’hoansi people of Namibia—among the last remaining hunter-gatherers—for anthropological audiences. In the 1980s Marshall became an activist helping the Ju/’hoansi fight for land and water rights. He made important contributions to cinéma vérité filmmaking and leaves behind an extensive ethnographic film archive including over twenty films on the Ju’/hoansi beginning with The Hunters (1957) and culminating with A Kalahari Family (2003).

The film weaves together photographs, film clips, archival footage, and interviews with family, friends, and colleagues including Elizabeth Marshall Thomas (John’s sister and author of The Old Way), Robert Gordon (Anthropologist and author of The Bushman Myth), Alexandra Eliot Marshall (John’s Wife), Cynthia Close (Executive Director, Documentary Educational Resources), Sandeep Ray (Editor, A Kalahari Family), Karma Foley (Editor, A Kalahari Family), Jayasinhji (Bapa) Jhala (Visual Anthropologist), and Rakhi Jhala (Filmmaker).

The project began as an article Alice Apley and I wrote shortly after John’s death and then it evolved into a series of video interviews.

The film is distributed by Documentary Educational Resources.

Selected Screenings

  • John K. Marshall Retrospective, DocsDF, Mexico City, 2012
  • Approaches from Anthropology and Ethnographic Film, Seville, Spain, 2008
  • European Association of Social Anthropologists’ Film, Video & New Media Festival, Slovenia, 2008
  • EthnoFilmfest, Berlin, 2007
  • Society for Visual Anthropology/AAA Conference, Washington DC, 2007
  • Plymouth Independent Film Festival, Massachusetts, July 18-22, 2007
  • Washington DC Independent Film Festival, 2007
  • International Ethnographic Film Festival of the Royal Anthropological Institute, UK, 2007, Finalist
  • Tribute to John Marshall, Museum of Fine Arts, Boston, April 2006
  • Woods Hole Film Festival, Massachusetts, 2006
  • Vermont International Film Festival, 2006
  • Northampton Independent Film Festival, Massachusetts, 2006
  • The Tank, New York City, 2006
  • Mediating Practices Conference on Visual Anthropology, Temple University, Philadelphia, 2006

Press Clippings

  • “John Kennedy Marshall: The best documentarian you never heard of,” by Clara Long, The Patriot Ledger, July 19, 2007.
  • “Getting Interviews to Tell the Story,” by Hermine Muskat, New England Film, July, 2007.
  • “Northampton Film Fest,” by Gerald Peary, The Boston Phoenix, December 1, 2006.
  • “Remembering John Marshall,” by Carol Patton, Imagine, May 15, 2006.
  • “Remembering John Marshall premiered on April 5th.,” by Michele Meek, New England Film, May, 2006.


Directed & Edited by Alice Apley & David Tamés

Produced by David Tamés & Cynthia Close

Associate Producer: Tamar Skowronski; Assistant Editors: Cristina Bauer, Sharon Perpignani, Tamar Skowronski; Archival Research: Cristina Bauer, Sharon Perpignani, Alice Apley; Interview Production Crew: Cristina Bauer, Stephen Oldford, Sharon Perpignani, Tamar Skowronski. Special Thanks: Karma Foley, Glorianna Davenport, Brittany Gravely, Eric Rolph, Robert Gardner, Jane Wiener, Boris Carrete, Aimee Corrigan, Richard Leacock, Beth Epstein, Alex Huth, Rule Broadcast Systems, Sweet Finnish in Jamaica Plain; Produced with support from Documentary Educational Resources and the Center for Digital Imaging Arts at Boston University. Photographs courtesy of Alexandra Eliot Marshall, Cynthia Close, Karma Foley, Documentary Educational Resources, and Marshall Family Archives; Archive footage courtesy of Smithsonian Institution Human Studies Film Archives; Film clips from The Hunters, A Joking Relationship, N/um Tchai: The ceremonial Dance of the !Kung Bushmen, If It Fits, A Kalahari Family, N!ai: Story of a !Kung Woman, and Pittsburgh Police Series, courtesy of Documentary Educational Resources.