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Manufactured Landscapes

Manufactured Landscapes

Directed by Jennifer Baichwal

2006, 90 minutes

Zeitgeist Films

Check to see where this amazing documentary is playing around the country. Listen to a podcast interview with director Jennifer Baichwal and artist Edward Burtynsky.

About the Film

Winner of Best Canadian Feature Film at the 2006 Toronto International Film Festival, Manufactured Landscapes is the striking new documentary on the world and work of renowned artist, Edward Burtynsky.

Internationally acclaimed for his large-scaled photographs of “manufactured landscapes,”—quarries recycling yards, factories, mines, and dams—Burtynsky creates stunningly beautiful art from civilization’s material and debris. The film follows him through China as he shoots the evidence and effects of that country’s massive industrial revolution. With breathtaking sequences, such as the opening tracking shot through an almost endless factory, the filmmakers also extend the narratives of Burtynsky’s photographs, allowing us to meditate on our impact on the planet and witness both the epicenters of industrial endeavor and the dumping grounds of its waste.

In the spirit of such environmentally enlightening sleeper hits as An Inconvenient Truth and Rivers and Tides, Manufactured Landscapes powerfully shifts our consciousness about the world and the way we live in it, without simplistic judgments or reductive resolutions.

Photographer’s Bio

Edward Burtynsky is known as one of Canada’s most respected photographers. His remarkable photographic depictions of global industrial landscapes are included in the collections of fifteen major museums around the world, including the National Gallery of Canada, the Bibliotheque Nationale in Paris, the Museum of Modern Art, and the Guggenheim Museum in New York.

Born in 1955 of Ukranian heritage in St. Catharine’s, Ontario, Burtynsky is a graduate of Ryerson University and Niagra College. He links his early exposure to the sites and images of the General Motors plant in his hometown to the development of his photographic work. His imagery explores the intricate link between industry and nature, combining raw elements of mining, quarrying, shipping, oil production, and recycling into eloquent, highly expressive visions that find beauty and humanity in the most unlikely of places.

Director’s Bio

Jennifer Baichwal was born in Montreal and grew up in Victoria, British Columbia. Her first feature documentary, Let it Come Down: The Life of Paul Bowles, premiered at the Toronto International Film Festival in 1998 and won a 1999 International Emmy for Best Arts Documentary.

The Holier It Gets documents a trek Baichwal took with her brother and two sisters to the source of the Ganges River with her father’s ashes. The film won Best Independent Canadian Film and Best Cultural Documentary at Hot Docs 2000. The True Meaning of Pictures is a feature-length film on the work of Appalachian photographer, Shelby Lee Adams. The film premiered at the Toronto International Film Festival in 2002 and played at the Sundance Film Festival in 2003.

Baichwal, along with Nick de Pencier, was commissioned in 2003–4 to make forty short films on artists who have been supported over the past four decades by the Ontario Arts Council. These include writer Michael Ondaatje, artist Michael Snow, pianist Eve Egoyan, and playwright Judith Thompson.

Manufactured Landscapes, her latest film, is a co-production between Mercury Films, Foundry Films, and the National Film Board of Canada. It premiered at the Toronto International Film Festival in 2006 and went on to play the Sundance Film Festival in 2007. Baichwal’s next project, another collaboration with Nick de Pencier and Daniel Iron, Act of God, is a feature documentary on the metaphysical effects of being struck by lightning.


Best Documentary Feature—Toronto Film Critics Association
Best Canadian Feature—Toronto Film Critics Association
Best Canadian Feature—Toronto Film Festival
Best Documentary—Genie Awards


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