Two young Italians decide to devote themselves in natural, ecological, chemical-free beekeeping. They start full of passion. They try, succeed, fail, try again. This experiment tests their strength, their knowledge and their friendship, in Rossella Anitori and Darel Di Gregorio’s documentary The Time of the Bees, which was screened on Saturday, March 10 2018 at Tonia Marketaki theater, as part of the 20th Thessaloniki Documentary Festival.
The film forms part of this year’s TDF tribute “Brave New World”, implemented by the Operational Program “Public Administration Reform” and co-financed by the European Union (European Social Fund) and Greek national funds.
After the screening, the audience had the opportunity to talk with the Italian film directors who attended the event. Asked about the use of chemicals in the traditional beekeeping methods in Italy, the filmmakers said: “The use of chemicals is quite common in Italian beekeeping, which means that many people are now seeking alternatives. Both approaches, though, the traditional and the alternative one, deal with common problems, since very often a whole honey bee colony is wiped out before having time to bear fruits”, Rossella Anitori said. On his part, Darel Di Gregorio said that a large number of independent beekeepers have shown interest in this particular documentary, contributing significantly to the crowd-funding campaign launched for the film’s financing.
Consequently, the two film directors noted that their documentary was the product of a very close relationship with the two main characters, as well as the autonomous community they were living in. “We were recording their life from very close for a period of three and a half years, we were able to see their reactions and thoughts. The first contact with them was very easy, since Darel had been a member of this community in the past for six years, while I have written a book about this kind of communities in Italy”, Rossella Anitori said. She stressed that her Anthropology studies played a part in the way she approached and filmed the two main characters, and explained that the documentary was based on respect towards them and the least possible interventions.
Darel Di Gregorio said that the material was more than 70 hours long, which made it extremely difficult to make the final selection. “At first, we had though to include interviews with the main characters in the final copy of the film, but we chose to rather show the feeling, than the details of what was happening”, he said. As he explained, the key concept in the documentary is time, that alters, forms and molds human relations and plans. “As you may have noticed, our documentary initially revolves around bees and alternative beekeeping, but eventually takes a different path, emphasizing more on people and their interaction”, he concluded.