On Wednesday, April 22nd, Earth Day will be celebrated around the world. We will be celebrating at GLN, too. Everyone in the LA area is invited to a free film screening of the documentary Vanishing of the Bees at the West Hollywood Library located at 625 N. San Vicente Blvd. The screening begins at 7:15 p.m.: don’t be late.
An exclusive group of panelists will be on hand that include: Dorit, Founder of Green Lifestyles Network, who will be acting as moderator; Holly Mosher, award-winning executive producer/director; and Maryam Henein, investigative journalist, filmmaker and entrepreneur.
Recently I spoke with Holly Mosher about the film Vanishing of the Bees. “Earlier in my career, I had helped produce commercials for a few pesticide companies. I learned quite a bit from working with farmers, who were getting pushed into contracts with the pesticide companies that were usually three to five years long. I also worked on a commercial for terminator seeds by Mycogen. A terminator seed would not germinate until it is sprayed with their particular chemicals. This is what scared me the most. What were we doing to nature and our food supply? A few years after I had gotten out of producing commercials, I came into contact with Maryam Henein, one of the co-directors of Vanishing of the Bees. She was looking for an executive producer for the project and I thought it was the perfect way to give back.” Ms. Mosher relayed to me. I was fascinated.
Holly Mosher is a rare and gifted individual, who quoted George Orwell in her college entrance exam, that art should always have a political message. Her concern for the world began early. At the age of 13, Mosher read Diet For A New America by John Robbins and The Jungle by Upton Sinclair and became a vegetarian. That was only the beginning of her determination to make the world a better place through her actions. In 2004 Mosher made her directorial debut with the film Hummingbird, a documentary that tells the story of two non-profits in Brazil that work with street children and women who suffer and are victimized by domestic violence. Hummingbird won numerous awards, including Best Human Rights Documentary in Rome and Best Short for Children’s Advocacy at the Artist Film Festival. Mosher has also produced two films about the dangerous and misleading tactics of the pharmaceutical industry. The films, Side Effects and Money Talks: Profits Before Patient Safety, received international press attention and since have been applauded for raising awareness of these issues. Mosher launched Hummingbird Pictures, an independent film distribution company that ensures socially conscious films are brought to the public. Mosher has co-produced Maybe Baby, a documentary that raises awareness about the challenges facing older single women trying to get pregnant with modern medical technology. She is currently executive producing a documentary called Free For All, a film that looks at the political scandals taking place in Ohio revolving around election issues. Her second directorial project called Bonsai People – The Vision of Muhammad Yunus follows the work of Nobel Peace Prize winner Muhammad Yunus and his work with microcredit loans and socially conscious businesses.
In Vanishing of the Bees, the term Collapsing Colony Disorder (CCD) is attributed to the phenomena of the decline in the bee population worldwide. The systemic pesticides called neonicotinoids take hold at the cellular level of plants: an effect which then multiplies to the rest of the animal kingdom. They are a class of neuro-active insecticides chemically similar to nicotine and include Imidacloprid – the most widely used insecticide in the world. In 1980 Shell and Bayer Corporations began their work on neonics, as they are called. In the film neonicotinoids are held to blame for the rapid decline of the honey bees. Neonicotinoids are currently under review by the U.S. Congress and the White House.
“Honey bee populations continue to decline. When the lobbyists are calling the shots, instead of we the people, the battle becomes a slippery slope,” Mosher explains. She then tells me to watch her documentary Money Talks. “Pharmaceutical representatives take doctors out for a cup of coffee, and they end up prescribing the drugs pushed on them by the pharmaceutical companies. Unfortunately because of all the salesmanship and how the drug companies now control a lot of the research – this sometimes include pushing doctors to prescribe drugs that kill people. For example, Vioxx was a pain killer (not a lifesaving drug) that was only to be prescribed if a patient had a history of stomach issues, but which was frequently prescribed to people that didn’t fall into that category. It ended up killing over 60,000 people of heart attacks and strokes according to whistleblower David Graham of the FDA. The research was there, but it was just being hidden and controlled. And the drug was widely overprescribed,” Mosher explains. If that was our interview, I can’t wait to see what Mosher has to say at the GLN Earth Day event!