Monday, March 19, 2012

Bees in the Movies

A couple of years ago, we were hit with a wave of movies about bees. Alas, most were uninteresting to, or otherwise unsuitable for, kids. Seinfeld’s BEE MOVIE was just junk, from a factual standpoint. VANISHING OF THE BEES and COLONY both sought to address the terrifying issue of Colony Collapse Disorder (CCD), but wound up sounding like propaganda (and poorly organized propaganda, for grown-ups, to boot).

Still, there are some pleasant and informative (and free!) options out there for the kindern. Here are a few of my picks:

NEW YORK CITY BEEKEPER, a 3-1/2 minute film hosted by two young boys who visit a Manhattan beekeeper on his rooftop. It’s the perfect length and slant for the very wee. 

CITY OF BEES, a mini-mini-documentary of 1-1/2 minutes that visits a country beekeeper. Also suitable for the extra-young. 

PBS’s excellent 50-minute documentary SILENCE OF THE BEES, observes the life of the American honeybee, and discusses how it’s crucial to our existence. While it also touches on CCD, it does so in more measured tones, suitable for older kids with broader attention spans who won’t freak out at the implications of crop loss to humanity. You can find excerpts of it on youtube – an 8-minute version, and a couple of 2-1/2-minute versions about the waggle dance and “the importance of bees,” are perfect for medium-size kids who can grasp medium-size concepts.

Finally, my friend the beekeeper John Howe was featured in a 15-minute documentary a few years ago. Titled ROOFTOP BEES, it’s available for purchase from the filmmaker. 

Know of another bee flick that’s great for kids? Write in and let me know!

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