Pace University film students, known as the PaceDocs Team, have been busy at work all through the pandemic, putting together their latest film Bee Aware, which just premiered — aptly enough — on Earth Day.
However, getting there was no small accomplishment. The film class, made up of 20 graduate and undergraduate students, planned to embark on a trip to Paris, France last spring to produce a documentary on urban beekeeping and spotlight the rooftop bees that survived the historic Cathedral of Notre Dame fire. Yet plans took a different route due to the pandemic.
While students were frustrated, it did not stop them from finding alternatives to putting this highly anticipated film together. The finished documentary eschews francophone apiarists in favor of more local experts from the Tri-state area, Pennsylvania, and Massachusetts.
“The experience I had was invaluable,” says Austin Braun, a graduate student from Stockholm, New Jersey. “We learned how to produce a film online. We learned that we can make a powerful film with all of the technology we have. It’s the future of filmmaking.”
Students used this situation as a learning opportunity and successfully adapted to a virtual model in producing a film during a pandemic. “The documentary kept us working, it kept us collaborating, and we have gained invaluable production experience,” Christopher Sinise, a graduate student from Stratford, Connecticut, says. “All of us who stuck with it are better filmmakers as a result.”
While 2020 brought a lot of change, Pace students proved that they have what it takes to make the best out of every sticky situation.