Hot Docs 2017: Our Review of ‘Bee Nation’

Posted in Festival Coverage, Hot Docs 2017, Movies by - April 24, 2017
Hot Docs 2017: Our Review of ‘Bee Nation’

It really comes down to the power of education.

Opening up this edition of Hot Docs; Bee Nation takes us on a journey from the Kahkewistahaw First Nation Reserve in Saskatchewan for the province wide First Nations Spelling Bee which many of them hope will take them to the Nationals in Toronto as they all hope to hit the right words which could set them down on a road to success and off the reservation.

Ultimately an inspirational story for young and old and the importance of always trying to better ourselves no matter what situation we find ourselves in.  Director Lana Šlezic takes great care in fashion an engaging and compelling story that makes it more about the subjects then making any kind of broadsided political statement.

It’s a well shot affair and it never languishes on the conditions in the reservation but instead crafts a rather beautiful narrative on the importance to improve one’s way of life.  The subjects come across as natural and likeable very quickly thanks to Šlezic’s deft direction in making sure that these stories weren’t maudlin or heavy handed in anyway while still be very personal.  And on the flip side of it all it teaches an important lesson to both young and old to never judge a book by its cover and let people’s accomplishments speak for themselves no matter their socio-economic upbringing, using the spelling bee as a tool for unity, tearing down any preconceived racial barriers that might be in front of them.

Ultimately, Bee Nation is a really smart crowd pleaser because it hits all the right notes to send audiences home happy, with charismatic kids trying to better their lives and a support system that sees the big picture about helping these kids and improving their potential future.

This post was written by
David Voigt is a Toronto based writer with a problem and a passion for the moving image and all things cinema. Having moved from production to the critical side of the aisle for well over 10 years now at outlets like, Criticize This, Dork Shelf (Now That Shelf), to.Night Newspaper he’s been all across his city, the country and the continent in search of all the news and reviews that are fit to print from the world of cinema.
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