We met with Oscar-nominated director Markus Imhoof to discuss his new documentary, MORE THAN HONEY
The Honeybee Conservancy (HBC): What inspired you to create the documentary, MORE THAN HONEY?
Markus Imhoof: My family for more than a hundred years has been involved with beekeeping. The kick was learning about all of the bees dying around the whole world. Creating this film seemed to me more important than the fiction film on which I was working.
HBC: What do you hope MORE THAN HONEY has, or will, accomplish?
Markus Imhoof: I hope that the people will be aware how everything is connected, plant – insects – men – global trade – every consumer and member of a democracy. No one can think that they are a lonely star. Like the bees in the hive, we need the colony and are member of a colony. We cannot survive alone.
HBC: How dire is the situation for bees?
Markus Imhoof: We urgently have to take action. We have to change the way industrial agriculture is done. The consumer can help. After all, “we are what we eat”. If we are eating industrial junk only, what does that mean…?
HBC: What were some of the technical challenges of filming bees for MORE THAN HONEY?
Markus Imhoof: It’s much more difficult to film a bee than a beekeeper. The mating queen was the biggest challenge: we spent days on a scaffolding tower attracting drones with queen pheromones. Her wedding flight, which was 36 seconds, took more than ten days – and we only actually saw it one and a half times.
We also used mini-helicopters for some the flights. We filmed the bees in flight at 300 pictures per second. The result was a huge amount of footage. We spent two years shooting, which resulted in about 205 hours of footage. It took us one year to edit that film down.
HBC: Do you think hobbyist beekeepers can make a difference?
Markus Imhoof: Hobbyist beekeepers are key. Small-scale beekeepers are important to helping the bees. It is better to have 5000 beekeepers with 3 hives each than one beekeeper with 15,000 hives. The hobbyist beekeepers really can take close, personal care for their bees.
HBC: Is there a part of MORE THAN HONEY that you cherish the most?
Markus Imhoof: The bees being bigger than us!
MORE THAN HONEY website for more information.