Documentary captures five decades of Busy Bee

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Kent and Lyn Wong are the subjects of local documentary, World Famous in Bundaberg: A Documentary About the Busy Bee Fish Bar.
Kent and Lyn Wong are the subjects of local documentary, World Famous in Bundaberg: A Documentary About the Busy Bee Fish Bar.

Busy Bee, the small Bundaberg fish and chip shop known for its one-of-a-kind batter, will soon have its story told on screen when a locally made documentary is showcased this week.

Titled World Famous in Bundaberg: A Documentary About the Busy Bee Fish Bar, former Bundaberg filmmaker James Latter and cinematographer Brodie Poole delve into the lives of owner's Kent and Lyn Wong who have been operating the business for over five decades.

After hearing the news of Busy Bee owner Kent Wong's looming retirement, the former Bundaberg filmmaker said he was immediately saddened by the thought of never being able to eat “those chips” again.

“As I started talking to people about wanting to make a commemorative video of Kent’s 51 years in business, I started to learn just how integral the chips have been to the people of Bundaberg,” he said.

“Just about everyone I spoke to was able to vividly recall fond memories of sharing the chips with family in the park or by the river and generally being tied to the essence of what it means to live in Bundaberg.”

James said the film explored the legacy of Busy Bee and Kent Wong’s impact on the Bundaberg community.

At the same time his son, Andrew, ponders whether or not he is a suitable replacement for his father’s legacy once he retires.

“Through this narrative it looks at themes of ambition and what we truly use to measure success,” James said.

“The documentary was shot over one week at the end of May with the final edit just over 11 minutes long.”

Busy Bee
Kent and Lyn Wong at Busy Bee.

Busy Bee: a story worthy of being told

Documentary filmmaker James Latter.
Former local filmmaker James Latter.

James said the story behind the Busy Bee Fish and Chip Shop was a simple and beautiful tale that deserved to be told over and over again.

“Kent’s story of a humble fish and chip shop owner who has touched the lives of generations of people, in what is to him a foreign country, is a sobering reminder of how to live a fulfilling and successful life without being caught up in all the distractions we find ourselves surrounded by these days,” James said.

“I say this in the most endearing way possible, the store seems to be a time capsule of another era.

Cinematographer Brodie Poole.
Cinematographer Brodie Poole.

“People often say it’s exactly the same as it was in the 80s, or earlier, and I think that speaks to our desire to cling to nostalgia.

“Kent and Lyn are such humble and genuine shop owners and human beings that it's impossible not to feel a sense of warmth from being inside the store.”

To help bring the documentary to life, James said he was granted funding through Bundaberg Regional Council's RADF program.

“The RADF contributed $5200 which covered expenses for my time on pre-production and shooting,” he said.

“It also allowed us to hire cinematographer Brodie Poole to come up from Brisbane for the week, and post sound editor Jayden Pitman to work on the sound edit.”

World Famous in Bundaberg: A Documentary About the Busy Bee Fish Bar will be screened at the 37 Targo Street, next to the Busy Bee Fish Bar this Saturday, 30 November 2019 from 6pm.

Entry to the event is via gold coin donation.

For more information, check out the event page here.

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