Get out your popcorn. Film directors Carter Gunn and Ross McDonnell’s bee movie “Colony” is out on DVD. Avoiding the quirky approach of “Vanishing of the Bees”, Carter and Ross allow you to experience the reality of California beekeepers facing threats of Colony Collapse Disorder and the declining US economy in 2008-2009. Certainly not a downer, the film also captures the excitement of life challenges, nature, agriculture, and successes hard fought.
I had the opportunity to meet Carter and Ross over dinner at the 2007 Heartland Apiculture Society conference in Kentucky. They were just about to set out on their cinematic journey West after setting up connections with beekeepers and soaking up bee culture every minute they could. It’s inspiring to see this project so well completed and now available for the masses. Featuring Bee Informed Stakeholder Advisory Board member David Mendes and beekeeping newcomers Lance and Victor Seppi, this film focuses our attention on their reality. The agenda is the beekeepers’ story, not the agenda of the story tellers, which is refreshing within this globally impassioned subject. Still full of artistic representation, the balance between the story and the film is near perfection. Capturing complexities instead of placing simplistic explanations on ‘what’s wrong with the bees?’, this film does a better job at explaining modern beekeeping problems then much of what I’ve seen.
The film is a couple of years old now and some of the open ended questions left in the film have surely been answered since then. Such as, is Bayer co-operating with the beekeeping groups featured in the film? Were the Seppi’s able to continue to grow their beekeeping business? But these stories are for another time; until then check out this film today.