When nomadic beekeepers break Honeyland’s basic rule (take half of the honey, but leave half to the bees), the last female beehunter in Europe must save the bees and restore natural balance.
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Hatidze breeds bees in the Macedonian outback. They have a mutually beneficial relationship: a woman always takes only part of the honey, sings to her bees, works without protective clothing and refuses technical innovations. Together with an elderly mother, preparing for death, they live without electricity surrounded by mountains. Hatidze takes honey for sale to the city, buys small pleasures for money: hair dye, a fan for a sick mother.
At some point, the Hussein family moves to a neighboring site: seven children, chickens, cattle, a trailer instead of a house. New settlers bring chaos to the quiet way of Khatidze and her bees, and when Hussein finds out what her neighbor is doing, she also decides to take up beekeeping, but his approach turns out to be much more rude …
The last female bee-hunter in Europe must save the bees and return the natural balance in Honeyland, when a family of nomadic beekeepers invade her land and threaten her livelihood.
Creators: Tamara Kotevska, Ljubomir Stefanov
Director: Tamara Kotevska, Ljubomir Stefanov
Star Cast: Hatidze Muratova, Nazife Muratova, Hussein Sam
Producer (s): Atanas Georgiev
Cinematographer: Fejmi Daut, Samir Ljuma
Production House: Apolo Media, Trice Films
Original network / Official Sites: Neon Dogwoof
Release Year: 26 July 2019 (USA)
Runtime: 89 min
Genres: Documentary, Drama
Country: Republic of North Macedonia
Language: Turkish, Macedonian, Serbo-Croatian, Bosnian
Honeyland documents the life of Hatidže Muratova, a Macedonian beekeeper of Turkish descent, who lives in the village of Bekirlija in the municipality of Lozovo. She is one of the last keepers of wild bees in Europe. Due to its location in a secluded mountain, the village has no access to electricity and running water. Hatidže lives with her 85-year-old, partly blind and bedridden mother Nazife, who is completely dependent on her daughter. Hatidže earns a living by selling honey in the country’s capital Skopje, which is four hours away from the village.
The atmosphere in the village changes when the nomadic rancher Hussein Sam arrives with his wife Ljutvie, their seven children, and their imported domestic animals. Initially, Hatidže maintains good relationships with the family and spends time playing with the children. In need of money, and inspired by Hatidže’s way of earning money, Sam takes an interest in wild beekeeping himself. Hatidže instructs him on collecting honey and provides him with several bees so Sam can start his own colony. Despite his initial success, one of Sam’s customers demands more honey than his bees can produce. Sam disregards Hatidže’s advice to always leave half of the honey for his bees and proceeds to sell the entire stock of honey. This leads to Sam’s colonies attacking Hatidže’s during the resource-scarce winter. Hatidže scolds Sam for ignoring her advice and her bee colony collapses. Soon after, her mother dies. As the nomadic family decides to move to another village, Hatidže remains alone in Bekirlija.