MARK MADISON: Hi. I'm Mark Madison, and today is May 10th, 2011 and we're talking today with Taggart Siegel, who's a filmmaker, whose most recent film was called "Queen of the Sun: What Are the Bees Telling Us".
Taggart, thanks for coming out to the National Conservation Training Center. Appreciate you showing your film out here this evening.
TAGGART SIEGEL: Thanks, Mark.
MARK MADISON: I guess the first question is: What are the bees telling us?
TAGGART SIEGEL: They're actually telling us a lot. I mean, where the bees are going right now, they're actually saying, let's-- I'm going to disappear if you don't start looking at the way we're treating them. And so bees have been really knocked down systematically by every system we put in place in agriculture, for example, and bees are-- they've kind of had enough. So from pesticides to mechanized beekeeping to trucking bees across the country is really hard on bees to over queen breeding, to feeding bees corn syrup, genetically engineered corn syrup. Oftentimes the bees are given that. And as Michael Pollan says, nothing more viscerally offensive than feeding the creators of honey genetically engineered corn syrup.
MARK MADISON: That's another great quote from Michael.
What does the film look like, for viewers that might want to go see it?
TAGGART SIEGEL: It's a really uplifting film, too. So it's not all doom and gloom. It's beautifully shot. There's characters from all over the world, from France, a beekeeper that tickles his bees with his mustache, to a woman dancing with 12,000 bees. But then we get very serious with Gunther Hauk, who is a biodynamic beekeeper and very philosophical and very-- like really guides us in what colony collapse is and what's caused it.
So even in New Zealand I loved the family that their whole family are beekeepers, the father, the mother, and the three daughters, and they roll their wax and sell it to support their ponies, their horses.
MARK MADISON: Why should we care about bees?
TAGGART SIEGEL: Bees are really what's keeping us alive, bees and all pollinators, and without them we could really-- the earth will not be the same. Birds will die out. Plants will die out. And eventually the ecosystems will collapse. There will certainly be things alive on earth, but it won't be the same earth that we see.
So one out of four bites that we eat are from bees, and we don't want to lose these valuable creatures. And not only that, our forests, we want to keep them intact, too, and so bees are the crucial link to our environment and they are the canary in the coal mine.
MARK MADISON: Who is the target audience for the film?
TAGGART SIEGEL: It's everybody. I really feel that this film needs to be seen by everybody, just as Rudolph Steiner says in the film, everybody needs to be a beekeeper or interested in bees because they are what's keeping us alive. So my feeling is that it could be for a scientific audience. It could be for somebody that's really interested in philosophy or in bees or in history. I really feel it kind of combines a lot of elements in this film to keep it kind of light and also heavy, and then at the same time, let's get us out of the mess.
MARK MADISON: Taggart, if people wanted to find out where the film is showing, how could they learn that?
TAGGART SIEGEL: Well, you could come to queenofthesun.com, come to our web site. You could Facebook us and like us. There's over 5,000 people now following us. It's a kind of film where it's grass roots oriented, where all these great organizations help get the word out, and also individuals that really care about the environment.
MARK MADISON: Thank you very much, Taggart. It's an extraordinary film. I had the pleasure of watching it a couple nights ago with my family. We all really enjoyed it. The title of the film is "Queen of the Sun: What Are the Bees Telling Us?" It's in semi-wide release, I guess, around the country, including here in Shepherdstown, West Virginia, and we hope to bring it back here. And, Taggart, we will be going to queenofthesun.com?
TAGGART SIEGEL: Yes, and it's opening in New York and L.A. on June 10th and June 17th, getting ready for Pollinator Week, which is June 20th. So we're going to be celebrating that with the bees.
MARK MADISON: Can't think of a better way to celebrate Pollinator Week. Go see "Queen of the Sun," and, Taggart, thanks for bringing the film out here for a screening.
TAGGART SIEGEL: Thank you very much, Mark.
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