Fri 25.11.2016 / 22:15 / Annis, Main TheatreTHE ADVENTURES OF MAYA THE BEE / Die Biene Maja und ihre Abenteuer / Wolfram Junghans / Saksa? / 1924 / 76 min


In German, English subtitles

Introduction to the theme of the film by Sulevi Riukulehto.

A dramatized documentary displaying living bees and other forest animals interacting with each other. The film is based on Waldemar Bonsels’ childrens book The Adventures of Maya the Bee, that was first published in 1912.  Later on the fable has sold millions of copies around the world and it has been adapted in countless animated movies, TV series, comic books etc. However, less attention has been paid to the first film adaption of the tale that was directed by the German biologist and documentary film director Wolfram Junghans using real bees. The aurhor Waldemar Bonsel himself assisted in making  the movie.

In the film we follow the enquiring bee Maya on her jaunt through woods and meadows. Gought in the cobweb of an evil garden spider, a dung beetle rescues Maya. Then Maya is abducted by hornets, but she escapes and warns her bee colony of the impending hornet’s attack. Finally, we witness an impressive battle royal between the bees and the hornets. While following the narrative, the film depicts the microcosm of insects and a succession of nature’s attractions in every detail: the birth of bees, dragonflies and butterflies, snakes popping from their eggs, the opening of a roseäs petals etc.

The original film copy, that was thought to be lost, was found from The Finnish Film Archives (today National Audiovisual Institute) , and it was restored in 2004 in collaboration between the Finnish Film Archive and the Bundesarchiv-Filmarchiv. The film is the world’s first full-length film that is narrated only with genuine bees. The film’s music is composed for the new restored version.





Wolfram Junghans’ career lead over activities as nurseryman, decorator and veterinary assistant to the status of breeder in the tropical section of the Berlin aquarium. He found film when Germany’s biggest film production company Ufa was shooting films in the Berlin zoo. In 1926 he was recruited  for the documentary film department of Ufa. During his career he manufactured more than 40 short and long films about animals and plants. He also developed new studio and recording techniques for scientific nature documentary.

This film is available on DVD, with English subtitles, at