TBB Talks to … Dhiyva, Director of ‘The Bee Whisperer’

Dhiyva, Director of The Bee Whisperer (2022)

Please introduce yourself …

Dhiyva. I am the filmmaker of The Bee Whisperer which I developed and directed. 

Why The Bee Whisperer?

Barry is a fascinating character and in talking to him about his life I was able to explore different subjects from migration to conservation. Through this intimate portrait of a Rastafarian, I was able to explore themes of community, friendship, and post-colonial relationships. 

Tell us about your team …

I had worked with all of the team members many years previously on different documentary projects. My producer Nicole Hajimichael has worked on countless documentaries and was a natural choice to support me in production. Our DOP Martin McQuade has a keen eye and immediately understood my vision for the film. Editor Graeme Hanks was similarly invested in the vision. What was important was that the theme was Liverpool-centric with close links to Barry’s story.  

What’s the story for you?

Personally, it was important for me to tell Barry’s story and his connection to the bees and the community. It was a way to explore things of migration and the inhumanity of immigrant detention. Creatively, it was my first piece of work following motherhood so it was a chance to get back into storytelling.

Tell us a memorable moment from idea to final edit?

I always knew that I wanted to film Barry rescuing a swarm but it’s impossible to predict when bees will swarm. Luckily for me on a visit to Barry’s students, we discovered their bees had swarmed. No sooner had we made a discovery, Barry was balancing precariously on rickety fences trying to save the swarm.

Share a skill-defining moment making The Bee Whisperer?

With nature being so unpredictable it was hard to rally a crew at the last minute when there was suddenly a swarm of bees to rescue. This experience threw me in the deep end as I had to self-shoot.  

Being a recipient of the 2021 Netflix Documentary Talent Fund means …?

It enabled me to get back into filmmaking after a four-year hiatus and be in a creative space again. 

What’s next?

I am in post-production with my first narrative fiction short for Film Four and the BFI Network. I have several documentary projects in development.

The Bee Whisperer


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