Movies at the Meek: Burt’s Buzz

Event Details

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Kay Meek Centre

In Burt’s Buzz, director Jody Shapiro takes us into the reclusive backwoods world of beekeeper Shavitz, still committed to living off the land in Maine, as he has since the 1970s, in a renovated turkey coop with no running water. Shapiro explores Shavitz’s peculiar relationship with the company he co-founded with Roxanne Quimby. The birth of Burt’s Bees and its emergence as a lucrative brand may be the stuff of legend, but it’s also contentious: Shavitz sold his shares decades ago, reaping virtually nothing from the company’s financial success; yet he remains contracted to promote the brand, travelling the world making public appearances. Wise and wry, absent-minded and unflappable, Shavitz is a fascinating subject.

With a steadfast, subtle hand, Shapiro exposes the contrasts and ironies that pepper Shavitz’s life — including the collision between business and personal values — and delicately mines the humour and emotion of his story. The result is a thoughtfully layered portrait of this highly idiosyncratic pioneer, and a revealing study of what it means to be a living icon.

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