In a deserted Macedonian village, Hatidze, a 50-something woman, trudges up a hillside to check her bee colonies nestled in the rocks. Serenading them with a secret chant, she gently maneuvers the honeycomb without netting or gloves. Back at her homestead, Hatidze tends to her handmade hives and her bedridden mother, occasionally heading to the capital to market her wares. One day, an itinerant family installs itself next door, and Hatidze’s peaceful kingdom gives way to roaring engines, seven shrieking children, and 150 cows. Yet Hatidze welcomes the camaraderie, and she holds nothing back—not her tried-and-true beekeeping advice, not her affection, not her special brandy. But soon Hussein, the itinerant family’s patriarch, makes a series of decisions that could destroy Hatidze’s way of life forever.
Medena zemja (Honeyland)
by Tamara Kotevska e Ljubomir Stefanov
North Macedonia 2019
Tamara Kotevska, born in 1993, is a Macedonian filmmaker. Together with Ljubomir Stefanov, who was born in 1975 and is also a Macedonian filmmaker, she spent three years in Bekirlija, North Macedonia filming Honeyland, a documentary about a female wild beekeeper, Hatidze. The film was originally going to be a documentary short about the Bregalnica river region when they came across the beekeeper. Stefanov had previously collaborated with Kotevska on the environmental film Lake of Apples (2017). His expertise within the filming field is in environmentalism and ecology. He has worked in the documentary field for approximately 20 years, mainly working on communication concepts and documentaries related to environmental issues for agencies from the United Nations, Euronatur and Swisscontact among others. Honeyland won three awards at the 2019 Sundance Film Festival and received two nominations at the 92nd Academy Awards. It is the second Macedonian film to earn an Oscar nomination after Before the Rain (1994).