Honeybees have been mysteriously disappearing across the planet, literally vanishing from their hives.
Known as Colony Collapse Disorder, this phenomenon has brought beekeepers to crisis in an industry responsible for producing apples, broccoli, watermelon, onions, cherries and a hundred other fruits and vegetables. Commercial honeybee operations pollinate crops that make up one out of every three bites of food on our tables.
Vanishing of the Bees follows commercial beekeepers David Hackenberg and Dave Mendes as they strive to keep their bees healthy and fulfill pollination contracts across the U.S. The film explores the struggles they face as the two friends plead their case on Capital Hill and travel across the Pacific Ocean in the quest to protect their honeybees.
Filming across the US, in Europe, Australia and Asia, this documentary examines the alarming disappearance of honeybees and the greater meaning it holds about the relationship between mankind and mother earth. As scientists puzzle over the cause, organic beekeepers indicate alternative reasons for this tragic loss. Conflicting opinions abound and after years of research, a definitive answer has not been found to this harrowing mystery.
- Best Documentary (Idyllwild Independent Festival of Cinema, 15th January 2011)
- The recording sessions for the US version were done on April 29 and May 13, 2010. The crew was in Los Angeles and they did it over the wire with Ellen in Halifax.
- The last bit of additonal narration was recorded on July 15, 2010 during Ellen’s Inception promotion tour
- Scarlett Johansson and Maggie Gyllenhaal were initially considered to narrate the US version of the documentary
- “I am extremely lucky to have been involved with a documentary called "The Vanishing of the Bees". Please check it out!” (First mention of the project on Ellen’s Facebook)
- “In other news, more recording will Ellen Page today! To our new followers, she is the lovely narrating voice of our film (U.S. version)! [...] We are truly blessed to have Ellen Page narrate our film!” (director Miryam Henein announced that Ellen joined the project via Twitter and Facebook)
- “This film offers us the chance to see the interconectedness of all life. [...] The message of the film is clearly there are imbalances we've created with our modern industrialized agriculture system and how we're hurting the life that gives us life and have lost that sense of connectedness. Hopefully, despite it being frightening, and it should be frightening, there's an opportunity here to regain that sense of connectedness." (Ellen on the documentary at the Los Angeles premiere on May 22, 2011; Source: twitter.com / hollywoodreporter.com)
- “Initially we contacted Scarlett Johansson...who actually has [bee] hives. We also approached Maggie Gyllenhaal who was interested in doing the narration. At the same time, I was praying to the bees. My friend Peter went to see [the film] and asked for a copy... He wanted to show it to a friend and he didn't tell me that his friend is Leonardo DiCaprio." At the time, "they were on the set of "Inception" and someone killed a honey bee... Ellen got really pissed off and gave him some schooling and told him, you shouldn't be killing honey bees. She watched [the movie] and she cried." (director Miryam Henein on how Ellen got involved in the project; Source blog.yourgardenshow.com)
- “The most important documentary film since An Inconvenient Truth.”
(Karen Krizanovich, Filmstar)
- “An essential documentary…If you like eating, see this film.”
(Daniel Etherington, Channel 4)
- “Verdict – Fascinating subject expertly covered.”
(Anna Smith, Empire)
- “A ‘bees knees’ of a film. Powerfully argued and very timely.”
(Richard Brooks, Sunday London Times)
- “Be advised, this is more than a documentary”
(Michael McCarthy, The Independent)
- “Alarming enough to convince you that this is an issue that needs action at the highest level.”
(Henry Fitzherbert, The Daily Express)
- “This Bee Movie has a real sting.”
(Naomi Christie, The Times)
- "Highly recommended. Provocative...smartly documents the unfolding of this disturbing phenomenon, the human costs, the frightening environmental and agricultural repercussions, and the scientific community's investigation into what is now known as Colony Collapse Disorder (CCD)."
(Educational Media Reviews Online)
- "Recommended. The film makes its points well as it discusses the value of bees, how they are raised, and the problems of monocultures and pesticide buildups in the soil and plant material."
(Science Books and Films)
- "Recommended. This fascinating program documents the spread of 'Colony Collapse Disorder' (CCD) and examines studies and research done by U.S., European, and Asian scientists. Excellent close-up photographs and computer animation demonstrate the plight of the bees and the effect on the honey, fruit, and vegetable markets."
- "Recommended. This enlightening documentary looks at the disappearance of the honeybee, whose significance goes far beyond producing wax and honey.... Footage shot throughout the U.S. - as well as in Europe, Asia, and Australia - makes it clear that this is a worldwide phenomenon. Vanishing of the Bees ends on an optimistic note, citing helpful steps that consumers can take."
- "This informative film will serve as an excellent springboard for classroom discussions. The program is very informative about CCD and the business of beekeeping in general."
(School Library Journal)