I’m invariably cautious – even cynical – about beekeeping movies. But I just saw one that breaks the mold and restores faith in the potential for delivering a great story about the honey industry without lies and exaggeration. The one-hour documentary Lawyers, Guns & Honey delivers. It’s one of the very few bee films which you can watch, learn from, and enjoy without getting irritated that the producers hadn’t done their homework.
I need to thank a regular reader of this blog, Susan, for suggesting this film. It apparently came out on Netflix yesterday (January 5). She had a few comments which I’ll share. Here’s Susan:
“It seemed to get most of the facts straight as I know them—the trans-shipping from China with falsified papers through other ports, the adulteration and contaminants, the sheer demand that can’t possibly be met by real bees, etc. It only shows the industrial side of the honey biz, with a side on the migratory pollinator biz, so innocent citizens might believe there is no other kind of honey out there except mostly the “warehouse blended”variety—which gets quite a long look. And there are NO women beeks shown—only a couple women in secretarial roles.”
I felt the same way upon watching the documentary. (Although, I have to add that one of the women was a high-power international sales rep who ended up in prison and the other is president of a large bee farm. Like Susan, though, I didn’t actually see any women in bee yards.) Susan’s summary also touches on the one weakness in the documentary – the focus is on commercially handled honey, though there is a piece on Clint Walker’s farm where the audience gets a glimpse of honey made and sold locally by a beekeeper. However, the goal of the production was to explore global, industrial-scale honey activity.
Netflix describes the film as a look at “the new global honey business and largest food fraud investigation and prosecution in history — a scam known as Honeygate.” There is much more – including bee thefts in California and the almond pollination business. A lot is squeezed into one hour and a few things are left out, but the omissions don’t lessen the impact of this documentary.
Lawyers, Guns & Honey is an absolutely great film. It’s well-researched and well-photographed, resulting in a compelling story. Watch it. If you have Netflix, the film is the first release in the new series “Rotten.” It is on in the USA and here in Canada – hopefully in other countries as well. I don’t give away accolades very often. This documentary deserves everyone’s attention. Recommend it to your friends.