Directed by Rama Rau
Starring Julia Sarah Stone (Allure, Wet Bum, “The Killing”, TIFF Rising Star 2014) with Martha Plimpton, Peter Outerbridge, Steven Love, Michelle McCleod, Connor Price, Spencer MacPherson, Sofia Banzhaf, and Maurice Dean Wint
Opens theatrically September 20 in Toronto
TORONTO, ON – A71 Entertainment Inc. is pleased to announce the Canadian theatrical release of HONEY BEE, acclaimed documentary director Rama Rau’s narrative feature debut starring Julia Sarah Stone. Written by Bonnie Fairweather (Heartland, Republic of Doyle) and Kathleen Hepburn (The Body Remembers When the World Broke Open, Never Steady, Never Still), HONEY BEE is an unpredictable tale of survival that follows the journey of an underage truck stop sex-worker trapped by a ruthless pimp boyfriend, until she is transplanted into foster care with a new family in remote Northern Ontario where she discovers there might be more to life than the hand she’s been dealt. The film will begin a theatrical rollout on September 20th in Toronto, with other Canadian cities to follow.
The film, produced by Sally Karam (“Baroness Von Sketch”, What We Have, Show and Tell) and executive produced by Damon D’Oliveira (The Grizzlies, “The Book of Negroes”, What We Have, Rude) had its World Premiere at the Whistler Film Festival going on to play festivals across the country and win Stone a Leo Award for Best Lead Performance.
Stone is joined on screen by a formidable cast including Emmy and Tony-nominated and Obie -winning actress Martha Plimpton (Running on Empty, The Goonies), Peter Outerbridge (“The Umbrella Academy”), Steven Love (Across the Line), Connor Price (“X Company”), Spencer MacPherson (“Reign”), Sofia Banzhaf (Closet Monster), and Maurice Dean Wint (Rude).
The first narrative feature for documentary director Rama Rau who has garnered acclaim for female focused non-fiction features like The League of Exotic Dancers and most recently The Daughter Tree, Rau was attracted to both the very real subject matter of the script and its authentic approach: “We’re so exposed to sexuality in mainstream media, the stereotype of what a young prostitute looks like,” Rau points out. “In reality, these girls don’t look like they’ve come out of Playboy. They are young, often between 11-13, pulled from group homes, dressed up to a degree, and sent out to work on the street for eight hours a night, every night. It’s not romantic. It’s not glamourous.”
While HONEY BEE is a work of fiction, the film is based in the all too real fact that Northern, Ontario has become a major North American hub for high profit underage sex trafficking. In 2015, a provincial legislative committee found that almost 60 percent of sexual assault victims in Canada were under the age of 18, and a quarter of them were under the age of 12. Most victims – 92 percent – were women, and the overwhelming majority of attackers – 99 percent – were men. “These young women, girls really, underaged girls and children, are being forced into sex work in our cities and towns, and they really are the girls next door,” said Progressive Conservative MPP Laurie Scott ( Keith Leslie, The Canadian Press, Sunday, December 13, 2015).
“HONEY BEE is a powerful and moving film with an important story behind it” says A71 Chief Operating Officer, Susan Curran. “We are really proud to bring this film to audiences because it tells a story that needs to be heard, and it represents the narrative feature debut from an important Canadian female director, Rama Rau.”