Beauty on the Wing: Life Story of the Monarch Butterfly is a 56 minute narrated film that unfolds along the shores of Cape Ann and in the heart of Mexico’s forested volcanic mountains. Every stage of the butterfly’s life cycle is experienced in vibrant close-up, from mating to egg to caterpillar to adult, and set against the backdrop of sea and forest, sun and wind.
By the millions and millions the intrepid monarchs journey thousands of miles. The most magical thing is that this migration happens in our midst, unfolding in backyards, farms, meadows, and along the shoreline, wherever milkweed and wildflowers grow.
No other butterflies in the world journey thousands of miles over such a vast area. Monarchs do not see borders, religion, ethnicities, or political differences. They are a symbol of unity, ecologically linking Canada and Mexico, and nearly every region within the United States.
The Monarchs are in great peril. Although the butterfly’s spectacular migration evolved over millennia, the last decades of human activity have put this phenomenon in grave danger. “Beauty on the Wing” is a film for all ages, created for all to gain a deeper understanding of the symbiotic relationship between habitats, wildflowers, and pollinators, and the vital role they play in our interconnected ecosystems.
Filmed in Gloucester, Massachusetts and the Monarch Butterfly Biosphere Reserves at Estado de México and Michoacán, the film illuminates how two regions, separated by thousands of miles, are ecologically interconnected.
Music score by Jesse Cook. Songs: “Fields of Blue,” “You,” “El Cri,” and “Afternoon at “Saties. All music written by Jesse Cook; Jesse Cook Music publishing. Link to Cook’s website: jessecook.com/.
With love and gratitude to butterfly kids (in order of appearance) Pilar Davis, Meadow Anderson, Lotus Marsh, Frieda Davis, Zoie Dickinson, Atticus Anderson, Emma Duckworth, George Ryan, Charles Ryan, Eloise Ciaramitaro, Madeline Ciaramitaro, Annie Kate Convey, April Smith, Charlie Convey, Elijah Sarrouf, Esme Sarrouf, and Charlotte Hauck.