March Meet Up (Honeyland Movie Showing)
It portrays the life of Hatidže Muratova, a wild beekeeper in the remote mountainous village of Bekirlija, North Macedonia and follows her lifestyle and the changes therein after the arrival of a nomad family in the neighbouring house. Originally intended as a government-supported documentary short about the region surrounding river Bregalnica in the central region of the country, the documentary’s area of focus changed course upon the encounter between the filming team and Muratova. Honeyland received its world premiere at the 2019 Sundance Film Festival on 28 January.
Filming of Honeyland lasted for three years, with the directors collecting a total of four hundred hours of footage. Several environmental topics are explored in the documentary such as climate change, biodiversity loss and exploitation of natural resources. Two different ideologies are contrasted with the documentary’s main protagonists, namely humanity’s balance with the ecosystem portrayed through Muratova and consumerism and resource depletion portrayed through her neighbours. The main focus of the directors when filming were the visuals and during the editing process, the audio track was not used. As such, Honeyland contains elements of several documentary styles, including fly on the wall, direct cinema and cinéma vérité. The documentary also portrays the protagonist’s relationship with her bed-ridden mother and her neighbors.
Honeyland received widespread and universal critical acclaim from film critics who praised the directors’ attention to visual details and the universal message of nature conservation. The documentary also received numerous prizes at award shows in Europe and the United States. It was the only film to win three different awards at the 2019 Sundance Film Festival. It was nominated for the Best International Feature Film as an entry from North Macedonia, and for the Best Documentary Feature at the 92nd Academy Awards, making it the first documentary in history to receive a nomination in both categories. It marks the country’s second nomination at the Oscars since Before the Rain (1994). As of February 2020, the documentary’s worldwide gross is US$847,595.