Description from TIFF 2012 catalog by Thom Powers:
More Than Honey has all the hallmarks of a great nature documentary. It employs the latest in filmmaking technology to observe phenomena undetectable by normal eyesight; and leaves us with a sense of wonder and awe mixed with alarm and urgency over the fate of the world’s bees. In recent years, several documentaries have taken on the crisis of the declining bee population (including Colony, which screened at the Festival in 2009), so it takes an extraordinary film to stand out and More Than Honey fits that bill. Academy Award–nominated filmmaker Markus Imhoof narrates with a personal perspective as the grandson of a professional beekeeper in Switzerland. He travels the world from Europe and the United States to Australia and China, photographing epic agricultural landscapes where bees do their work, and the microscopic honeycombs where they live.
On the journey, we meet beekeepers, scientists and agricultural entrepreneurs who share their passion and knowledge. It takes a unique character to devote themselves to bees and all the stings that go with the job. Imhoof is attuned to their quirks, humour and emotions. “I’m getting real comfortable with death on an epic scale,” says one beekeeper as he discovers a fresh case of colony collapse disorder. Despite years of research, the precise cause of colony collapse remains a matter of speculation. Is it parasites, fungicides, antibiotics, poor breeding, overwork or all of the above? More Than Honey is distinguished for its international perspective as Imhoof charts how the bee crisis is being experienced in different parts of the world. In the United States, specialists grapple with a rising population of so-called “killer bees.” In China, farmers now resort to human labour for pollinating crops. In Australia, the island has so far remained free of brood-destroying mites.
Certainly a lot more than honey is at stake. Without bees, modern society will be radically different and some question whether it can survive at all. As we grow more detached from nature, we need more films like More Than Honey.