University Relations

A Documentary Film: Keepers of the Bees, inspiring a generation of beekeepers (Picture of student holding honey catcher full of bees)

Keepers of the Bees Trailer from UNCW Ofc of Univ Relations on Vimeo.



More screenings coming soon...

Past Screenings

Oct. 28, 2019 - Premiere
UNCW Campus
Lumina Theatre

December 3, 2019
UNCW Main Campus
Morton Hall, Bryan Auditorium
March 5-7, 2020
2 screenings- North Carolina State Beekeepers Association Spring Meeting
New Bern, NC



In 2017, a group of UNCW students founded the UNCW Beekeeping Club. They’d been inspired by the passion of Dr. Anthony Snider, an associate professor in Environmental Sciences. But they would ultimately find themselves on a journey to expand their environmental awareness, learn the biological and public intricacies of beekeeping, and follow in the footsteps of generations of beekeepers before them.

The emerging beekeepers soon discovered they would be joining a much larger community: farmers, scientists, legislators and hobbyists in North Carolina who work together to ensure the honey bee population thrives. This is an ecosystem that affects the agriculture of our state and, ultimately, the food on our tables. The honey bee is one of the most important contributors to our environment, and their survival depends on beekeepers. What started as an interest in creating a club has evolved into a passion for cultivating and protecting a species and a sense of duty to honor the sacred legacy of beekeeping.


This project started as a short documentary on the creation of the UNCW Beekeeping Club, but as we learned about the robust beekeeping system in North Carolina we knew there was a bigger story to be told. This story originates from the passion of UNCW Professor Dr. Anthony Snider. During his classes, he shared his knowledge of bees with his students and they became inspired to become beekeepers themselves. The interest was so great that they seized the opportunity to create a club on the campus of UNCW. The Beekeepers Club was formed with support from the university’s administration. We were there to capture the installation of the first hive in 2017, and the story grew from there. Maddi Ruff, the founding President, became a prominent voice of the story as she shared her passion for bees and educating a new generation of beekeepers.

We couldn't deny that beekeeping was bigger than the club itself. North Carolina has the most beekeepers in the U.S. - primarily hobbyists, but also sideliners and commercial beekeepers. The North Carolina Department of Agriculture is also a major support system for the beekeepers. The state even has an apiculture program at NC State that does research on the health of honey bees. As we began to uncover all these layers of the beekeeping community and their environmental impact, the story took shape. It’s not just about the bees, but about the keepers of the bees.


produced, directed and edited by Jesse Bradley

cinematography by Bradley Pearce and Krista McKinney

photography by Jeff Janowski and Bradley Pearce

motion graphics by Bradley Pearce

color correction and sound editing by Krista McKinney

graphic design by Bradley Pearce and Tom Cone

original artwork by Mary Bernardo

promotional marketing by Brittany Garshnick