The Love of Landscapes

The Love of Landscapes

The film Painted Land follows the discoveries of conservationists Joanie and Gary McGuffin and art historian Michael Burtch, as they track down the actual locations in northern Ontario, where the Group of Seven painted 100 years ago.

Made with the support from the Northern Ontario Heritage Fund Corporation (NOHFC), the documentary takes viewers through some of Canada’s most breathtaking scenery, as the trio uncover many of the famous artists’ painting sites in Algoma and the North Shore of Lake Superior.

Using historic footage, letters and photographs, the film weaves the Group of Seven’s century-old stories into the trio’s modern-day adventure.

Lasting impressions

Joanie and husband Gary inherited their passion for the outdoors from their parents, leading them to become explorers, photographers and authors. That mixed with their admiration for the Group of Seven’s iconic paintings set them and friend Burtch to retrace and map a unique Canadian art history amongst the pristine lakes and rugged terrains.

“The Group of Seven depicted what we knew about the wilderness,” Gary says, explaining the artists perfectly captured the grandeur and ruggedness of northern Ontario.

Following seven years of meticulous research, the trio, with NOHFC’s backing, started filming with White Pine Pictures in 2013. “NOHFC’s film funding program was really instrumental to this project,” Joanie says, noting it enabled them to share the story the way they wanted, particularly through the range of stunning landscape locations.

Inspiring creativity

Joanie hopes Painted Land, which was released in 2015 and licensed by TVO, encourages people to visit northern Ontario and explore the land with a similar sense of adventure.

“These painters were inspired year after year by these landscapes. I know northern Ontario’s lands and waters can inspire creativity in anyone. Our hope is that the film connects people to the galleries to see these stunning works of Canadian art, as well as experiencing these landscapes as real places that still exist today.”

As more people learn about these paintings and places, Joanie believes it will help preserve these landscapes for future generations.

Painted Land

Algoma/Northwest Region

Film and TV Production Projects