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Swarm Season

The entangling of myth, daily ritual, and the natural order resonates throughout this moving documentary and debut feature from filmmaker Sarah Christman. “On a remote volcanic island, ten-year-old Manu and her mother catch swarms of wild honey bees in order to breed disease-resistant colonies. [Manu’s] father is taking part in a native Hawaiian movement to protect the sacred Mauna Kea mountain from the construction of a massive telescope. On the nearby slopes of Mauna Loa, six NASA scientists are participating in a year-long mission designed to prepare for life on Mars. Meanwhile, the Kilauea volcano is stirring. . . .

“When bees swarm, the colony reproduces like a cell by splitting in two. Half of the hive flies off in search of a new home, while the other half stays behind. The intricate workings of the honeybee hive offer a prismatic view of a precarious reality for Hawaii and beyond. If honeybees—one of the most resilient and cooperative species on the planet—are being pushed to the point of extinction, what kind of future do humans have on earth?” (Sarah Christman). (2019, 86 minutes)