Nevada City, California
photos courtesy of Whirled Beet Productions
The Quest for Local Honey (Part One) had its world premier yesterday at the Wild and Scenic Environmental Film Festival. Wild and Scenic combs the globe for the best environmental films; it is rare when a film made in Nevada City shares the stage. Such was the case when Quest screened to a capacity house. Filmmakers Karin Meadows and Jen Rhi Winders were there to share their process of making their first film and forming Whirled Beet Productions.
The Quest for Local Honey is an ambitious film, both in its form and content. A creative mix of narration, animation, traditional documentary footage, and captions, Meadows and Winders take us on a whimsical journey toward their better understanding of how to procure and secure local honey. Unlike many environmental films, it avoids the pitfalls of over-simplicity and the kind of “we’re sunk” mentality that leaves audiences hanging their heads in defeat. Instead, Saturday’s capacity house remained on the edge of its seat laughing, nodding enthusiastically, and appreciating the people who work with the bees.
Founding Whirled Beet Productions and producing The Quest for Local Honey took Meadows and Winders over three years. The two produced fundraisers and educational workshops along the way. (One workshop is featured in my article “Bee Summit: Experts Discuss the Honeybee’s Dilemma”:http://lightcapfarm.wordpress.com/2011/01/23/92/).
Although the film is locally produced with footage from Nevada County, Meadows and Winders weren’t content to leave the story in town. They traveled to Washington D.C. in the hopes of seeing the White House’s beekeeping operation. When they got the run around, they spent time with the beekeeper at the first president’s house, and were relieved to find that he didn’t have an in at the White House, either.
Nevada County locals will appreciate the appearances of Paule Castro, who provides narration as a sort of psychedelic, bee-friendly Alistair Cooke. (Remember him, from Masterpiece Theatre?) Local bee heroes such as Janet Brisson and Helena McDaniel offer their expertise. Integral to the success of the film is the soundtrack of local composer and musician Jay Tausig. His original score, mixed with occasional music from local singers like Chris Crockett, creates a seamlessness and spaciousness for the visually busy–but delightfully uncluttered–cinematography.
The Quest for Local Honey will screen in its entirety on February 25 at the Magic Theatre in Nevada City. If you’ve traveled to Wild and Scenic from out of town, you might want to book a hotel room now. And make a note to keep track of Whirled Beet Productions. This is Meadows and Winders’ debut film; I can only imagine what they’ll do next.