Runtime: 87 minutes
A visually stunning and deeply thought-provoking meditation on the profound and often destructive changes that mankind has wrought on this planet, ANTHROPOCENE: THE HUMAN EPOCH is the third in a collaboration that has already wrought two of the finest ever Canadian documentaries in MANUFACTURED LANDSCAPES and WATERMARK (which closed the KCFF in 2014). Director Jennifer Baichwal and her partner, producer and cinematographer Nicholas de Pencier once again join forces with photographer Edward Burtynsky for a wide-ranging look at the dramatic places and very memorable people who are part of this world-altering process. Not soon forgotten, the resulting journey takes viewers from potash mines in the Ural Mountains to Australia’s ravaged Great Barrier Reef to the burning of Africa’s largest stockpile of elephant ivory and rhino horn.
Edward Burtynsky is regarded as one of the world’s most accomplished contemporary photographers. His remarkable photographic depictions of global industrial landscapes are included in the collections of over sixty major museums around the world, including the National Gallery of Canada and the Tate Modern in London. Burtynsky was born in 1955 of Ukrainian heritage in St. Catharines, Ontario. He received his BAA in Photography/ Media Studies from Ryerson University in 1982, and in 1985 founded Toronto Image Works, a darkroom rental facility, custom photo laboratory, digital imaging and new media computer-training centre catering to all levels of Toronto’s art community. His imagery explores the collective impact we as a species are having on the surface of the planet; an inspection of the human systems we’ve imposed onto natural landscapes. Burtynsky’s visually compelling works are currently being exhibited in solo and group exhibitions around the globe. Burtynsky’s distinctions include the TED Prize, the Governor General’s Awards in Visual and Media Arts, The Outreach award at the Rencontres d’Arles, the Roloff Beny Book award, and the Rogers Best Canadian Film Award. He sits on the board of directors for CONTACT: Toronto’s International Photography Festival, and The Ryerson Image Centre. In 2006 he was awarded the title of Officer of the Order of Canada and in 2008 he was awarded the ICP Infinity Award for Art. Most recently Burtynsky was named Photo London’s 2018 Master of Photography and the Mosaic Institute’s 2018 Peace Patron. He currently holds eight honorary doctorate degrees.
Jennifer Baichwal was born in Montréal and grew up in Victoria, British Columbia. She studied philosophy and theology at McGill University, receiving an M.A. in 1994, supported by a McGill Major Fellowship and an FCAR Master’s Scholarship. Baichwal has been directing and producing documentaries for 25 years. Among other films, installations and lens-based projects, she has made 10 feature documentaries which have played all over the world and won multiple awards nationally and internationally. Baichwal has given numerous workshops and talks on documentary film practice and her work,and has taught both undergraduate and graduate courses at York University’s film department. She sits on the board of Swim Drink Fish Canada, and is a member of the Ryerson University School of Image Arts Advisory Council. She has been a Director of the Board of the Toronto International Film Festival since 2016, and is a passionate ambassador of their Share Her Journey campaign, a five-year commitment to increasing participation, skills, and opportunities for women behind and in front of the camera.
Nicholas de Pencier
Nicholas de Pencier is a Director, Producer, and Director of Photography working in documentary, performing arts, and dramatic film. He is President of Mercury Films Inc., the Toronto-based production company he shares with his partner, Jennifer Baichwal. As a cinematographer, de Pencier regularly shoots factual TV series and documentaries for the CBC, PBS, Discovery, National Geographic and History. As well as, as both producer and director of photography his credits include the feature documentary LET IT COME DOWN: THE LIFE OF PAUL BOWELS which was nominated for a Genie, a Rockie, and won the International Emmy Award for Best Arts Documentary. He is a past president of the Board of Directors of Charles Street Video, a former member of Rogers Industry Advisory Group at TIFF, and currently sits on the boards of The Toronto Chapter of the Documentary Organization of Canada and the Hot Docs Festival.