4100 Redwood Rd #406
Oakland, CA 94619

Vanishing of the Bees

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Images

beebigFinFlatSM.jpg

Website

http://www.vanishingbees.com

Topics

Economy: Corporations
Environment: Animals, Atmosphere, Biodiversity, Conservation, Environmental Activism, Forests, Pollution
Health: Nutrition/Malnutrition
Human Development: Agriculture, Food, Labor, Urban
Information & Media: Culture, Science
Politics: Activism, Democracy, Ethics & Value Systems

Project Geography

US: National
International: Asia, Australia, Europe, North America

Identity Niches

Children, Women, Youth/Teen

Budget

Raised to date: $450,000.00
Estimate to complete: $250,000.00
Total Estimated Budget: $700,000.00
The budget numbers above are accurate as of 01/10/2010

Status

Distribution

Media Type

Video

Project End Use

Theatrical

Key Personnel

Maryam Henein
Co-director/Producer
Maryam has more than fifteen years experience working as an investigative journalist, a documentary and television producer and professional researcher. Her credits include producing documentaries for the BBC, Discovery, Robert Greenwald and Morgan Spurlock. As a journalist she has written for publications such as The Los Angeles Times, Science & Spirit Magazine, and The Cairo Times. The former Montrealer gained notoriety by breaking a story about Dodi Fayed’s imposter, who duped hundreds across North America andset a precedent in Canadian legal history.

Working in front of the camera, Maryam co-wrote and hosted a program for TLC about the Ark of the Covenant. Following a near death experience several years ago, Maryam delved into the science of nutrition and alternative ways of healing. She also became more conscious about the environment and went on to produce a piece onthe Exxon Valdez Oil spill for Robert Greenwald and The Sierra Club. She has worked developing numerous documentaries on topics ranging from Creationism to Family Annihilators. Her curiosity and tenacity energizes her work as adocumentarian. Currently, she has become enchanted by and devoted to the making of a film about the vanishing of the bees.

George Langworthy
Co-Director/ Producer

George has produced,directed and filmed documentaries on various topics including: the teenage environmental movement, alternative therapies for AIDS, sixteenth century philosopher Giordano Bruno, and rock stars like Devo, Sheryl Crow and the White Stripes. His award-winning short film BREEZEWAY premiered at the Sundance Film Festival and was broadcast on HBO, PBS, the BBC, and Canal +. As a cinematographer, his work has been seen on ABC’s 20/20 and the Warner Brother’s-produced Short Circuit DVD.

His work behind the camera includes feature length documentaries on the Austin music scene, a short documentary featuring Nobel Prize winning scientists, and award winning stop motion animation. George has edited several narrative feature length films, documentaries and music videos. He worked as a staff writer for the Channel Four’s Armstrong and Miller show and wrote thescreenplay for the feature film Cake, which garnered top awards in festivals nationwide. He brings passion, curiosity and creativity to his work as afilmmaker and strives to engage the minds of his audience as well as touch their hearts.

Tricia van Klaveren
Executive Producer
Tricia van Klaveren is the principal of Fully Loaded Pictures. She has produced/executive produced several feature films to date including: The Killer Inside of Me, Lying, The Heart is Deceitful above all Things; and I’ll Sleep When I am Dead. Currently she is in pre-production on London Fields based on the book by Martin Amis to be directed by Michael Winterbottom. Prior to producing, Tricia van Klaveren was an executive with an international film sales and financing company in Los Angeles, a senior  executive/boardmember of an entertainment technology company and an attorney in New York City.

Outreach/Engagement Plan(s)

NEW AGE OF INDEPENDENT DISTRIBUTION

This new age of independent distribution provides unprecedented opportunities. Hive Mentality Films will be adopting a hybrid distribution model, releasing Vanishing of the Bees in a semi-theatrical fashion.

PLAN BEE
Our plan is to handle the distribution rights for VOB on a split rights non-exclusive basis: Theatrical separate from television; non-exclusive DVD, VOD and online rights; and retain public performance and educational rights.

HYBRID THEATRICAL
We will self-release the film on a semi-theatrical basis. (See below – The Theatrical Premiere.) We are also open but do not require partnering with a traditional distributor to increase the theatrical reach of our film. This allows us to control the theatrical distribution of the film and promote the film more effectively, economically, and with a greater return on investment.


NON-EXCLUSIVE DVD/VOD/ONLINE
By keeping the right to sell DVD’s ourselves as well as partnering with a traditional company, we increase our outreach as well as our profit margins significantly.


THE THEATRICAL PREMIERE – ONE NIGHT, MULTIPLE CITIES
The theatrical distribution will begin with a one-night screening taking place in multiple cities across the United States follow with screenings in additional US cities and several key cities globally. We are scheduling our launch for Saturday, April 17th, a week before Earth Day. The main event, which we intend to broadcast via satellite, will most likely unfold in New York City with our main characters on hand as well as celebrity guests. Our goal is to reach at least one million people.


Centralizing the film’s premiere in this manner will attract a high level of publicity. Recently the documentary Age of Stupid held a one night premiere and reportedly attracted an audience of over one million people on that single night. This strategy also garnered the front page of several major newspapers and prompted thousands of other articles to be written about the film. Drawing great attention to the film through this massive worldwide event will launch our release and extend into the week of Earth Day (April 22).


With the momentum this publicized night will generate, we will start to distribute the film via several avenues simultaneously. We will make the DVD available for sale online. Retaining the DVD rights will allow us a much greater profit margin per unit sold than traditional distribution methods. We’ll sell the DVD on our site and at special events, splitting the sales with a company that will work directly with larger retail outlets.


TRADITIONAL THEATRICAL RUN
In addition to the one night premiere we will also we will also play the documentary in theaters. We’ll begin a platform release in New York, Los Angeles and other select cities. We are in the midst of developing this strategy and intend to start small and see how it goes. Under the new model of distribution, documentaries need not rely simply on theatrical returns; they attract a much greater attendance and profits by screening the film in a wider range of venues.



THE BUZZ OF THE HIVE
Central to promotion will be a widespread grassroots campaign. To generate a buzz and maximize support, Vanishing of the Bees is cross-pollinating with national non profits, environmental organizations, beekeeping groups, farms, woman’s associations, gardening clubs and many others. As Vanishing of the Bees presents and informs crucial issues relating to their goals, these organizations help themselves by helping the bees. In the new model of documentary distribution, they will be indispensable allies.


For instance, we recently partnered with the NRDC, Pesticide Action Network North America, The Honeybee Conservancy and Honeybee Native. They have set up special events promoting the film and generated awareness to key core audiences through their publications and websites. Online communities can also increase buzz, audience, and sales, potentially helping our film go viral.


Vanishing of the Bees helps further the cause of these organizations and they will support and endorse our film in a number of ways.
1 – The groups can exchange links, generating traffic for our website.
2 – The organizations and their members can write about the film in their blogs or post reviews on IMDB or any number of film sites.
3 – Moving into DVD sales the groups can participate in affiliate marketing. They will send out an email on our behalf, giving their members a discount with a code. Consequently when purchases are made in this manner, we give the group a small return for each sale.
4 – Promoting the film in the organization’s newsletter is an incredibly effective means of getting the word out about the documentary. We have already seen great spikes in traffic on our website as well as donations to the film as a direct result of being featured in newsletters such as the Organic Consumers Association and the world’s most widely read blog Boing Boing.
5 – The groups can show the documentary at conferences or chapter meetings.
6 – Working with us on the one night premiere, groups can organize large screenings in their town, and promote the premiere and other special event screenings with a blast to their mailing lists. This personalized marketing speaks directly to those most interested in the film and best of all it is free!
7 – During the film’s tour, groups can set up house parties, show the film or certain sections and sell DVD’s.
We are also forging relationships with bee-conscious companies that have a vested interest in saving the bees and educating the masses such as Haagen Dazs, Big Dipper Wax Works and Really Raw Honey.

A COMMUNITY OF CHANGE
In addition to the theatrical release, which will unfold from April to June, we’ll organize hundreds of event-style screenings across the nation. Many inspired citizens throughout the country have expressed interest in holding screenings for friends, family, work colleagues and their local communities. We will encourage this and help facilitate these possibilities. We will license the film to people for a tiered screening fee and then allow them to sell tickets and make a profit for their efforts toward promoting the documentary.


These screenings, which can take place in theaters, homes, churches, and event spaces, offer a direct connection to our core audience who then go off and spread our message on behalf of the bees and us. George, Maryam and other key figures will be in attendance at many of these screenings for Q & A as well as speak to local press. At the events we will also be selling DVD’s and again this will allow us a much greater return per unit than traditional distribution.

OUR HIVE’S WORKER BEES
To manage this growing community we will be hiring an outreach coordinator who will be responsible for alternative social media networking. Part of their duties will include dealing with groups such as NGO’s, organizing screenings, and managing interns and our growing mailing list. We are currently speaking to Lizzie Gillett who helped create a global phenomenon around her film Age of Stupid; and Caitlin Boyle and her company FilmSprout, who has extensive experience implementing large-scale, advocacy-oriented community and grassroots distribution campaigns for independent documentaries.


Our distribution team also consists of a foreign-sales agent, webmaster, and print and online publicists. We have also consulted with documentary guru Peter Broderick who endorsed our film as the ‘best bee film’ out there because of our grabbing visuals and grasp of the global scope of this crisis.


TRULY INDIE
We also intend on hiring a service deal company such as Truly Indie that help filmmakers act as their own distributor. They provide access to the right theatres in all major markets as well as custom craft marketing, publicity and advertising campaigns. Another possible company that can help us organize our one-night event across the country is Fathom.


P.R. PARTNERSHIPS
We will be using a traditional firm to contact the mainstream press. We will also be working with other niche P.R. companies. The Guerilla P.R. firm we used in the UK got us a tremendous amount of press very economically by involving celebrities in the cause. They were able to get Liam Gallagher, the lead singer of the band Oasis to speak out on behalf of the bees, as well as comedian Ricky Gervais. Across the board, our UK release was met with a tremendous amount of press on camera, in newspapers, magazines and online. In addition to traditional reviews, environmental journalists wrote about the film and the situation with the bees. Also, we got extensive coverage with our celebrity press.


This new distribution model will enable us to identify, reach and sell to niche audiences via online and offline partnerships in ways never before possible. In addition to providing us a much greater profit margins on DVDs, compared to DVDs sold in retail. We will be interacting with audiences in a new way, bringing them into the fold to then share the film with the global community.

Funders

NameAmountDate
Best Sweet $5,000.0007/01/2009
Strange Invisible Perfumes $5,000.0006/01/2009
The Ceres Trust $300,000.0005/05/2008
Individual Contributions$130,000.0005/05/2008
Haagen Dazs $10,000.0003/01/2008

Location

1837 grace ave
los angeles, CA, 90028

Short Synopsis

The Vanishing of the Bees, a feature-length documentary, takes a piercing look at the economic, political and spiritual implications of the world wide disappearance of the honeybee, a keystone species vital to sustaining our ecosystem.

Description/Treatment

Known as Colony Collapse Disorder, this phenomenon has brought beekeepers to crisis in an industry responsible for producing apples,broccoli, watermelon, onions, cherries, almonds and a hundred other fruits and vegetables. Commercial honeybee operations pollinate crops that provide one outof every three bites of food on our tables.

The documentary Vanishing of the Bees follows commercial beekeepers David Hackenberg and Dave Mendes as they strive to keep their bees healthy andfulfill pollination contracts across the U.S. The film explores thestruggles they face as the two friends plead their case on Capital Hill and travel across the Pacific Ocean in the quest to protect their honeybees.

Filming across the US, in Europe, Australia and Asia, this documentary examines the alarming disappearance of honeybees and the greater meaning it holds about the relationship between mankind and mother earth. As scientists puzzle over the cause, organicbeekeepers indicate alternative reasons for this tragic loss. Conflicting opinions abound and after years of research, a definitive answer has not been found to this harrowing mystery.

Following the story for three years, directors George Langworthy and Maryam Henein chronicle the innermost thoughts and feelings ofbeekeepers and scientists as they fight to preserve the honeybee and make it through another day. Combining interviews from around the world, animation, 50’s educational films and breathtaking nature cinematography, Henein and Langworthy present not just a story about Colony Collapse Disorder, but a platform full of solutions, encouraging audiences to be the change they want tosee in the world.

Click here to ask for more information about this project: