Filmmaker & Animal Lover
Today Joel is a professional filmmaker and photographer. He started his own film and photo production company in Denver, Panoptic Productions LLC. He also works with NBCUniversal as a media technician for their international broadcasting division. In April 2022, he visited campus as part of a Communication Studies alumni panel. A video recording of that alumni panel is available on our website here.
Growing up in Denver, Joel loved animals. During his time at CSU, he was torn between studying zoology and film studies. Through Hive to Honey, he was able to merge his two passions into one successful project.
Hive to Honey
Joel’s documentary film Hive to Honey features award-winning Berthoud, Colorado apiary Bee Squared. Owner and operator Beth Conrey takes the audience on a tour of her facility, shows off her bees, and walks through the process of extracting and bottling honey. Joel directed, produced, shot, and edited the entire documentary to advocate for pollinators like honeybees.
Pollinators are in global decline. This is a problem that extends beyond just beehives. “When bees, bugs, and other pollinators die, so do the plants they pollinate,” Joel explains. But in Hive to Honey, beekeeper and businesswoman Beth shows how we can all work to strengthen pollinating communities and thus our environment.
“I’ve been filming small businesses in Colorado for a while. I like to choose businesses that move the needle, and make change,” Joel says. “I love how Beth, the owner, is involved in nonprofit organizations that help fight pollinator decline. She has spoken at CSU about bees to the agriculture department. She keeps her finger on the pulse and wants to educate everyone on the issues at hand and give people solutions to help.”
There are many causes of pollinator decline. In Hive to Honey, Beth explains five of these causes and how we can help, from simple, everyday tasks to more complex solutions.
The film also focuses on the step-by-step production of honey. “The way bees produce the honey in their hives and the methods Beth uses to harvest is fascinating,” Joel says. “Nobody really knows how the whole process works, so I wanted to document this.”
On October 16, the Lyric in Fort Collins hosted a private screening of Hive to Honey. The Lyric created two signature cocktails especially for the event with honey from Bee Squared, a Bee’s Knees with Beth’s chili-infused honey, and an espresso martini with Beth’s espresso-infused honey. More products from Bee Squared were also available for purchase.
Associate Professor Julia Khrebtan-Hörhager, “one of my professors who set me on this filmmaking path,” Joel says, attended the screening. She also enjoyed some honey from Bee Squared herself!
Joel is in the process of applying Hive to Honey to several film festivals, and he hopes to potentially screen it in schools as a way to educate students about addressing global pollinator decline.
“I loved working on this film,” Joel says. “I’m really passionate about this subject and I want to show and educate the world!” Film has proven to be the perfect medium for Joel to spread the word and advocate for the environment.