Sister Bee is a feel-good documentary that explores the wonder-sparking aspects of beekeeping through the eyes of six women whose beekeeping styles range from analytic to intuitive. Starting with spring queens and ending with the fall honey harvest, Sister Bee follows the arc of the beekeeping year while providing a visual intro to beekeeping and a deeper look at how working with bees changes people.
“Beekeeping has made more humble. It’s probably slowed me down in certain ways. I’d say it’s made me a better person, but how, I’m not sure . . . “
Sister Bee opens with beekeepers getting ready to work their colonies. One beekeeper tapes closed a hole at the neck of her bee suit because, “once they crawled in there and that’s no fun.” Another enters her colony glove-free. A third laughs as she hoists a six-year-old boy to peer inside her tallest hive. “There she is! There she is!” says another when she finds the queen. Light moments give way to challenges as beekeepers risk stings and reprobation while retrieving feral colonies from structures and coping with absent queens.
“There’s just a kind of magic around the queen. She’s like the Holy Mother, right? If she’s not well, then nothing is well in that world.”
Summertime sound effects and an uplifting score of vocal music, antique whistling songs and acoustic guitar unify the Sister Bee documentary into a feel-good experience that celebrates honeybees, beekeepers and the changing seasons. Mortality, sisterhood and the palpable sense of connectedness some beekeepers experience while working with honeybees are addressed.
“Maybe, now that I think about it, there’s something spiritual about being out there with those bees. You can see there’s something controlling things . . . and they’re alive!”
Running Time: 29 minutes 50 seconds
Shooting Format: Mini-DV and 16mm
Completed: July 2006
Country: United States
The Sister Bee documentary team would like to thank:
The Boulder County Arts Alliance and the Boulder Arts Commission for their financial support.