Gregg Lillie
Chapman University student Gregg Lillie, of Vineland, says the two weeks he spent in Africa filming a documentary on the San Bushmen were ‘life-changing.’ Gregg Lillie photo

When Vineland’s Gregg Lillie went to Chapman University last year to study film, he basically enjoyed just watching documentaries. Now, after filming one in Africa for two weeks, he wants to be a documentarian.

Lillie, entering his junior year at the Orange, Calif., university, spent about two weeks in the Kalahari Desert in Botswana with fellow students filming the lives of the San Bushmen.

The young student was awarded a scholarship from an anonymous donor who pays for three groups of students to make documentaries that could raise awareness and possibly aid various African causes.

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Lillie’s group was lucky to have Bushman activist Roy Sesana as a guide, since he broke down the barriers between the students and the indigenous people. The film will show that many San Bushmen simply want the choice to live off the land, despite the government’s attempts to assimilate them, Lillie said.

The 15- to 20-minute film will debut at the college around Thanksgiving and then be submitted to film festivals for consideration.

“The idea is to actually help the people you are making the films about,” said Lillie, who conducted interviews, recorded sound and helped edit the documentary. “The big picture is to get their story out there and put pressure on the government to let them have what they need. It was life-changing. I never knew I wanted to make documentaries until I realized how you live what you are documenting. It gives you a feeling that you are not helpless and you can do something for people.”

Short Stories

Local R&B group 120 recently was nominated for an Underground Music Award. The trio will compete in an online voting contest for the title of Best Male R&B Group. 120 consists of Chris “Niko” Morton and Lorence “Babyboy” Green, of Atlantic City, and Delaware’s Ron “Tarius” Mahoney. Those who wish to show support for 120 can visit and click on the “UMAs” icon to vote. Voting continues until Sunday. The award will be announced during a ceremony Aug. 22 in New York City. ... The skies are looking a little clearer for local underprivileged children, thanks to the team at Greater Wildwood Elks Lodge 1896. The organization recently presented North Wildwood’s Children’s Fresh Air Home with a $20,000 check, bringing the total it has donated to the nonprofit to $32,000. The Children’s Fresh Air Home provides programs for children struggling with family or community issues.

Short Stories compiled by Emily Brill.

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