The Beekeeper and his Son

A film by Diedie Weng


After drifting as a migrant worker in the city for a year, Maofu returns to his family bee farm in rural Northern China. Maofu brings along big ideas for marketing and honey sales. However, his father Lao Yu emphasizes a heart felt connection with the bees which comes from generations of traditional beekeeping.

Now, in his declining years, Lao Yu witnesses the environmental degradation and pollution that has also depleted his bee colonies. He is struggling with his own self-worth and values, and mixed emotions of whether his son should even stay in this traditional area of work and trade. In the end, he makes the ultimate sacrifice cutting down a family tree, to build the new bee boxes while securing a portion of it for his own coffin. The animals on the farm echo the emotional intensities of father and son, sometimes providing an unexpected comic relief.

«You keep bees. What do bees give you? They make honey. You can’t just read marketing books, and dream about profit.»
Layou - father

More Infos

  • Credits


    Yangui Yu

    Maofu Yu

    Chengnuo Chang

    Maomei Yu

    Maolan Yu




    Director, Author, Cinematography

    Diedie Weng

    Dramaturgy, Co-Writer, Cinematography

    Vadim Jendreyko


    Vadim Jendreyko

    Annette Brütsch

    Mahi Rahogozar

    Diedie Weng


    Susanne Guggenberger

    Vadim Jendreyko

    Lucie Tremblay

    Diedie Weng

    Associate Producer

    Hercli Bundi

    Production Manager China

    Pingjun Ding

    Original Music

    Daniel Almada

    Sound Design and Mix

    Daniel Almada / TSL Studio

    Pascal Dominique

    Original Sound Recordings

    Diedie Weng

    City and Sound Recordings

    Vadim Jendreyko

    Postproduction and DCP

    Hannes Rüttimann, Simon Allard

    Postproduction Manager Canada

    Nguqen-Anh Nguyen, Roxane de Konninck


    Deborah Palloway, Pingjun Ding

    Translation & Subtitles

    submarines–subtitling & translation

    Lowik Media, Roxanne de Konnick


    Mira Film GmbH, Zürich

    in Coproduction with

    Lowik Media, Montréal

    SRF Schweizer Radio und Fernsehen

    Commissioning Editor

    Urs Augstburger

    National Coordination SRG SSR

    Sven Wälti

    Financially supported by

    Bundesamt für Kultur

    MEDIA Desk Suisse

    Zürcher Filmstiftung

    Fachausschuss Audiovision und

    Multimedia der Kantone Basel Land & Basel Stadt

    éducation 21 - Filme für eine Welt

    Robert Bosch Stiftung

    Succès Passage Antenne

    Canadian Film or Video Production Tax Credit

    Ontario Arts Council

  • Technical Details
    Duration85 min
    Original LanguageChinese
    SubtitlesGerman, English, Chinese
    CountrySwitzerland, Canada
  • Festivals

    DOXA - Documentary Film Festival Vancouver, Kanada, 2017

    May 04, 2017 - May 14, 2017

    Environmental Film Festival Washington, 2017

    March 14, 2017 - March 26, 2017

    Cinema Asia Film Festival Amsterdam, 2017

    March 07, 2017 - March 12, 2017

    Solothurner Filmtage, 2017

    January 19, 2017 - January 26, 2017

    Doc NYC, 2016

    November 10, 2016 - November 17, 2016

    Nara International Festival, 2016

    September 17, 2016 - September 22, 2016

    International Documentary Festival (EIDF), South Korea, August 2016

    August 21, 2016 - August 27, 2016

Press material