A sympathetic introduction to a man who grew up under the worst possible conditions.“A must for Group of Seven fans, and a true eye-opener for those who only know a few of the gang’s iconic Canadian paintings




Director Phyllis Ellis Producers Peter Raymont, Nancy Lang, Phyllis Ellis
Michael Burtch, Joanie & Gary McGuffin Executive Producer Peter Raymont

2015 • 90 & 60 min

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. Their iconic works are known to millions of Canadians, yet few are familiar with the lives of the artists themselves. Why did they choose locations in the remote, rugged wilderness of northern Ontario? Does anyone know precisely where they went?

Past meets present in a film that is evocative in approach, energized by breathtaking cinematography and an uplifting musical score, and offers a new and articulate voice to the artists who were the Group of Seven. Painted Land weaves seamlessly the experiences of  Lawren Harris, J.E.H. MacDonald, A.Y. Jackson, Frank Johnston, Arthur Lismer, Franklin Carmichael and A.J. Casson – with the adventures of three modern day sleuths. Historian Michael Burtch, and the writer and photographer team of Gary and Joanie McGuffin 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. This film weaves this history with a modern day adventure, up mountains, down canyon rivers and over portages with our trio as they try to achieve their own personal quest: to actually ‘walk in the Group of Seven’s footsteps’

Canadian Screen Award Logo.png

• Barbara Sears Award for Best Editorial Research


VIFF 2015
Algoma Fall Festival, Sault Ste. Marie, ON
Hamilton Art Gallery, Hamilton, ON
Mayfair Theatre, Ottawa, ON
Princess Cinemas, Waterloo, ON
Bookshelf Cinema, Guelph, ON
Princess Twin, Waterloo, ON
Fundy Film Festival, Wolfville, NS
The Screening Room, Kingston, ON
Trinity College School, Port Hope, ON
Collingwood Film Festival
Bookshelf Cinema, Guelph, ON
Cinecenta, Victoria, BC
Princess Cinemas, Waterloo, ON
Women’s Art Association of Canada, Toronto, ON
Salt Spring Film Festival, Salt Spring, BC
Bishop Strachan School, Toronto, ON
Cinematheque, Winnipeg, MB
Arts & Letters Club, Toronto, ON
Nordik Institute, Sault Ste. Marie, ON
Albion College, Albion, MI
University of Toronto, Toronto, ON
Winnipeg Art Gallery, Winnipeg, MB

International Women’s Association, Toronto, ON
Flint Institute of Arts, Flint, MI
Northern Landscapes Festival, Grand Marais, MN
Oakville Festival of Film and Art, Oakville, ON
Riverbrink Art Museum, Niagara-On-The-Lake, ON
Prince of Wales Northern Heritage Center, Yellowknife, NT
Neys Provincial Park, Terrace Bay, ON
Lake Superior State University, Sault Ste Marie, ON
North Kawartha Public Library, Apsley, ON
Vancity Theatre, Vancouver, BC
The Royal, Toronto, ON
CPAWS Ottawa Valley Fall Gala, National Gallery of Canada, Ottawa, ON
Belfountain Heritage Society, Caledon, ON
King’s Theatre, Annapolis Royal, NS
Downtown DocFest, Belleville, ON
Earth Film Festival, Owen Sound, ON
Thunder Bay Environmental Film Festival, Thunder Bay, ON
Ciné-Art Film Series, Montreal, QC
National Gallery of Canada, Ottawa, ON
St Andrews Film Society – St Andrews, NB
Huntsville Festival of the Arts, Huntsville, ON

Bayview Association’s Auditorium, Petoskey, Michigan
Jasper Community Habitat for the Arts, Jasper, AB
Grand Theatre, Sault Ste. Marie, ON

Produced by White Pine Pictures & Solemn Land Productions in association with TVO, Documentary, YES TV and the OMDC
In collaboration with The McMichael Canadian Art Collection, The Art Gallery of Ontario, The National Gallery of Canada, The NORDIK Institute at Algoma University
with the participation of The Northern Ontario Heritage Fund Corporation, Tourism Ontario, the Bell Fund, OMDC and the Canada Media Fund

Developed with the assistance of TVO, Super Channel, OMDC


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