Two sisters, struggling beekeepers, travel cross-country to film the story of honeybees weathering climate change. Bees in Bosnia and Herzegovina forage in the wilds, far from modern industry and agriculture, on the overgrown frontlines of the 90s war. And yet, their Muslim beekeepers describe a profound ecological disaster, quietly unfolding. Honey is vanishing. What keeps the beekeepers going are Islamic wisdom tales that treat plants and animals as the signs of the times and teach how to care for the world, even on the eve of apocalypse. The sisters’ journey starts from the hives in their mountaintop village and takes them across wilderness and wastelands that stand for the present state of the world at large: beautiful and battered, at once. Ever more unhoneyed.
Anthropologists also make films: to teach, to convey insights of their research projects through stories, to think through different media. Filmmakers also do research: to make compelling stories, to teach, to entertain, as well as to invite thinking. Beekeeping in the End Times is an independent film put together by two sisters and beekeepers. The production process blended the tools and tasks of anthropology and filmmaking to bring forth unusual, upbeat stories about multispecies love and human responsibility while seriously considering the signs of our world going to wrack and ruin. Courtesy of the Wenner-Gren Fejos Fellowship for an ethnographic filmmaking and a grant from the ACLS/Luce Program for Religion, Journalism, & International Affairs, the co-directors collected 72 hours of footage, filming beekeepers and shepherds at 32 locations in the mountainous, riverine, and Mediterranean sub-climates of Bosnia and Herzegovina. A gifted musician, Mirza Redzepagic, wrote a highly original score, which blends maqam music, Sufi invocations, Balkan lore, and industrial beats to build up an atmosphere of the final times with all the twists and surprises entailed by honey hunting through a post-war, developing country. The film is currently in post-production.
“Apocalypse is a Heartbreak” is a video companion to the keynote delivered at “Organizing for Apocalypse,” a workshop convened by ephemera & AlterEcos at Copenhagen Business School on December 8-9. The footage from the film (in post-production) and the talk explore the meaning of the heart and its darkest hours in Islamic eschatology and in Sufi practical metaphysics.
FILM SET PHOTOS