78 minutes – Documentary
Festival release date: April 27, 2017 (Hot Docs)
Bee Nation isn’t about the plight of the small, winged, vital insects, but bee as in a quilting bee or in this case a spelling bee. Set in Saskatchewan, this documentary is about the first province-wide First Nations Spelling Bee where winners in their various age categories vie for a chance to compete with Canada’s best at the National Championships in Toronto. While the focus is on the young competitors, writer-director Lana Šlezic broadens her lens to include their families, which allows us a chance to see into the lives of neighbours we generally know nothing about. Turns out we share so much in common, especially when it comes to our kids. Hope, encouragement, support, opportunity. The gentle nudge that gives them the confidence to take the next step and the hug that says any outcome is okay as long as you’ve tried your best. Bee Nation was selected to open the 2017 Hot Docs Film Festival in Toronto.