“My Garden of a Thousand Bees" at St. Ambrose University -- January 29.

Sunday, January 29, 2 p.m.

St. Ambrose University's Galvin Fine Arts Center, 2101 North Gaines Street, Davenport IA

A beautiful and informative documentary that found its inspiration during the shelter-in-place phase of the COVID-19 pandemic, My Garden of a Thousand Bees serves as the second presentation in River Action's annual QC Environmental Film Series on January 29, the film created when wildlife filmmaker Martin Dohrn set out to record all the bees he could find in his tiny urban garden in Bristol, England, filming them with one-of-a-kind lenses he forged on his kitchen table.

A story of surprise and revelation, My Garden of a Thousand Bees kicked off Nature’s 40th season on PBS, and follows Dohrn during the COVID-19 lockdown of spring and summer 2020 as he became bee-obsessed and developed relationships with individual bees. Filming more than 60 species, from Britain’s largest bumblebees to scissor bees that are the size of a mosquito, Dohrn observed how differences in behavior set different species apart from each other. Eventually, he even got so close to the bees that he could identify individuals just by looking at them.

Viewers will marvel at moments timely captured in My Garden of a Thousand Bees, such as bees laying tiny eggs preparing for the next generation, green-fanged spiders feasting on male flower bees, and a female yellow-faced bee attacking a Gasteruption wasp to protect her nest. Other fascinating behavior featured in the program includes two male bees fighting each other over a female, different species of bees competing over territory, and one literal busy bee building a nest with a shell and hundreds of sticks. Intrigued by the intelligence of one particular wood-carving leafcutter bee, Dohrn dubs her “Nicky” and sees life at her level as she leaves a lasting legacy in the garden.

Filmmaker Dohrn has produced specialized, landmark natural-history programs for more than 20 years. During this time, he has collaborated with Terra Mater, Discovery, Earth Touch, the BBC, and National Geographic, and has also won several awards, including an Emmy for cinematography’ on the film Great Migrations. Leading the field in natural history low-light filming and macro, Dohrn and his team at the Ammonite Films company he founded have painstakingly crafted gamc changing filming techniques to gain insight into the natural world. With a range of world-renowned tech including the Colour Starlight Camera and Frankencam, Ammonite can deliver 4K, color footage from some of the darkest locations on Earth.

My Garden of a Thousand Bees will be screened in St. Ambrose University's Galvin Fine Arts Center on January 29, admission to the 2 p.m. showing is $5, and more information is available by calling (563)322-2969 and visiting RiverAction.org/filmseries.

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