WALLA WALLA, Wash.— The buzz around “The Beehive,” a documentary by Associate Professor of Rhetoric and Film Studies Robert Sickels, gets louder and louder.

Sickels’ lens into a downtown Walla Walla hair salon and a fifth-generation local farm family, the Waetjes, will air at 10 p.m. Thursday, Oct. 19, on the Seattle PBS affiliate KCTS. The station is Channel 99 on some cable systems and Channel 10 on others.

“The Beehive” is also finding more audiences on the festival circuit. The film has already played at festivals on South Padre Island, Tex. (Sept. 24), Los Angeles (Oct. 6) and Oak Ridge, Tenn.. (Oct. 12). Yet to come are screenings in Cleveland (Nov. 10), Colorado Springs (January), Minneapolis (February), Madison (March) and St. Louis (April). Specific dates will be announced.

“The Waetjes’ story is the story of Walla Walla, from wheat fields to high-end urban style,” said Sickels.  

The documentary is the result of a Perry Grant, and several Whitman staff, faculty and alumni contributed to the effort. Chief among them were Multimedia Development Lab Manager David Sprunger ’96, and Sickels’ wife, Lecturer of Sport Studies Rebecca Sickels, who conducted most of the interviews for the film.

Natalie Loebner ’06, Josh Karp ’05 and Music Assistant Phil Lynch also worked on the project.

“I look around at my colleagues at other institutions, and I can't help but realize how incredibly lucky I am to work at Whitman,” Sickels said. “The school continues to be amazingly supportive of my filmmaking endeavors, especially as concerns the Perry Grant program, which has been just awesome.”


Keith Raether
Office of Communications, Whitman College