Skip to schedule and film credits
Director Jody Shapiro (How to Start Your Own Country) ventures into the backwoods of Maine to find the reclusive Burt Shavitz, founder and (bearded) face of the all-natural personal care brand Burt’s Bees, in this wry, thoughtful and intimate portrait of a highly idiosyncratic pioneer.
Following his cheeky documentary How
to Start Your Own Country, director Jody
Shapiro returns to the Festival with Burt's
Buzz, a vibrant and incisive portrait of Burt
Shavitz. Famous for its all-natural personal
care items, Burt's Bees has become a household
name in many parts of the world. The
company built a mighty reputation as a
producer of eco-friendly products made
from simple ingredients, and in the process
it has become a billion-dollar business.
But less well-known is the eccentric man
behind the brand, whose bearded face still
graces many of its labels.
In Burt's Buzz, 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.
AGATA SMOLUCH DEL SORBO
- Jody Shapiro
- Jody Shapiro is the producer and director
of photography for My Winnipeg (07),
which won Best Canadian Feature at the
Festival. His documentaries as director
include Do You Love Me? (94), the experimental
short 10 Seconds of Protest (02),
Ice Breaker (05), How to Start Your Own
Country (10), which premiered at the
Festival, and Burt's Buzz (13).