With this year’s Apollo 11, The Biggest Little Farm, and Amazing Grace, Neon has emerged as one of the finest distributors of non-fiction work and their streak will continue with this summer’s Honeyland, one of the best documentaries I’ve recently seen on the festival circuit.

Winner of the World Cinema Grand Jury Prize, a Special Jury Award for cinematography, and another Special Jury Award for Originality at Sundance this year, Tamara Kotevska and Ljubomir Stefanov’s documentary follows a beekeeper in Macedonia whose way of life gets disrupted in initially humorous, ultimately tragic ways.

Ryan Swen said in his New Directors/New Films review, “It is entirely to Stefanov and Kotevska’s credit that Honeyland rarely comes across as a simple “individual tradition vs. societal modernism” narrative, even if the outlines show themselves on occasion. Throughout, the emphasis is on base commonalities and the differences that arise organically, continually situating all of the people among the dirt and rocks of their shared environment.”

See the trailer and poster below.

Hatidze lives with her ailing mother in the mountains of Macedonia, making a living cultivating honey using ancient beekeeping traditions. When an unruly family moves in next door, what at first seems like a balm for her solitude becomes a source of tension as they, too, want to practice beekeeping, while disregarding her advice.

Honeyland opens on July 26.

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