Bee Nation

BEE NATION (Lana Šlezic, Canada). 78 minutes. Rating: NNN Doc fans with fond memories of Spellbound might be a little disappointed by.


BEE NATION (Lana Šlezic, Canada). 78 minutes. Rating: NNN


Doc fans with fond memories of Spellbound might be a little disappointed by this year’s opening-night feature. 

Like Jeffrey Blitz’s sleeper hit, Bee Nation follows a handful of kids as they prepare for a national spelling bee, but with a twist: these kids are from the Kahkewistahaw reserve in Saskatchewan. It’s the first time that province has held a spelling bee for First Nations children.

Director Lana Šlezic gets her story off to a great start, spending time with her young subjects at school and at home and getting them to relax and reveal themselves for her camera. But she can’t find a way to make the competition footage interesting, settling for long stretches of screen time of children spelling out words, flattening the film just when it most needs some tension.

Apr 27, 9:45 pm, Hot Docs Cinema Apr 28, 2 pm, Hot Docs Cinema May 6, 6:45 pm, Isabel Bader

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