Painted Land: In Search of the Group of Seven
Autumn 2015 Documentary series
Wednesday, November 11, 2015 at 7:00pm
Directed by Phyllis Ellis
Rated G ·
“The most important thing a painter can do is find a good place to sit.” (J.E.H. MacDonald)
One would think The Group of Seven needs no introduction. One hundred years since the creation of some of Canada’s most iconic paintings, the works of these artists have been seen by millions of admirers. Still, little is known about these influential painters. Why did they choose locations in the remote, rugged wilderness of northern Ontario to “brush” our landscape? Does anyone know precisely where they went?
Past meets present creating a film that is evocative in approach, energized by breathtaking cinematography, and sound design and offers a new and articulate voice to the artists who made up the Group of Seven. They take the lead and inform our story throughout the film.
What were the artist’s thoughts, dreams, and struggles and what was the nature of their extraordinary friendships? Each was a giant talent, but they chose to work together, with shared aspirations and deep affection for one another. They painted the iconic “gallery” that is central to Canada’s visual and cultural identity.
Featuring Colm Feore, Eric Peterson, R.H. Thompson, and Paul Gross as the voices of the Group of Seven, Painted Land weaves seamlessly the history and experiences of Lawren Harris, J.E.H. MacDonald, AY Jackson, Frank Johnston, Arthur Lismer, Franklin Carmichael and AJ Casson, with the adventures of three modern day sleuths—historian Michael Burtch and the writer/photographer team of Gary and Joanie McGuffin who are determined to track down the precise locations of these famous paintings.
Archival film, letters, journals and photographs of the artists―some of which have never been seen in public—take the viewers back in time. Stunning cinematography woven together with the artist’s original paintings, take viewers up mountains, down canyons, to rivers and over portages with our trio, as they try to achieve their own personal quest: to actually “walk in the artist’s footsteps.”