Painted Land: In Search of the Group of Seven

(Canada, 2015, 71 mins, DCP)
World Premiere
FEATURING Colm Feore, Eric Peterson, R.H. Thompson, Paul Gross
EXEC Peter Raymont
PROD Peter Raymont, Nancy Lang, Phyllis Ellis
COPROD Michael Burtch, Joanie, Gary McGuffin
CAM John Westheuser
ED Neil Cavalier, Philip Wilson, Cathy Gulkin
MUS John Welsman
PROD CO White Pine Pictures


The tangled wilderness of Algoma and Lake Superior’s expansive North Shore inspired Canada’s most famous artists, The Group of Seven, as well as their guiding spirit, Tom Thomson. Their work defined Canada’s artistic representation of itself for most of the past century. One hundred years later, their paintings retain a powerful hold on Canada’s visual imagination. But where exactly were these iconic masterpieces created? The passage of time had seemingly erased the memory of the precise locations that roused Lawren Harris, J.E.H. MacDonald, Arthur Lismer, Franklin Carmichael, A.Y. Jackson, A.J. Casson, and Franz Johnston to produce their magnificent, rugged landscapes.

Three modern-day adventurers are determined to find and document where these paintings were created. Author Joanie McGuffin, photographer Gary McGuffin and art historian Michael Burtch have spent years researching, canoeing, portaging and bushwhacking up cliffs to find the vistas that inspired The Group of Seven. Seeing the paintings side by side with the locations that inspired them is a lesson on art, painting and seeing.

Award-winning director/writer Phyllis Ellis provides us with an investigative arts film that is part mystery, part history and part adventure. Ellis wrote, directed and produced the critically acclaimed documentary About Her, honoured with the 2013 Canadian Screen Award’s Donald Brittain Prize for Best Social/Political Documentary.

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