TVO Film Painted Land Follows Modern-Day Adventurers in Algoma


Since 2008, explorers Gary and Joanie McGuffin along with art historian Michael Burtch have been locating and documenting 100s of the wild Northern Ontario landscapes famously painted by the Group of Seven. These landscape painters who initiated the first major Canadian art movement made many sketching trips to Algoma and the Lake Superior North Shore a century ago. Through the photographs and research of the McGuffins and Burtch, these iconic paintings, known to millions, are revealed as real places that still exist today.

Their company, Solemn Land Productions, teamed up with the award-winning film production company, White Pine Pictures, transforming this research into a TVO adventure documentary called “Painted Land: In Search of the Group of Seven”. Award-winning director Phyllis Ellis provides us with an investigative arts film that is part mystery, part history and part adventure.

This film is an official selection at the 2015 Vancouver International Film Festival September 29-30.

“[The McGuffins and Burtch] have spent years researching, canoeing, portaging and bushwhacking up cliffs to find the vistas that inspired The Group of Seven. Seeing the paintings side by side with the locations that inspired them is a lesson on art, painting and seeing.”
Quoted from the Vancouver International Film Festival website.

As Gary explains “the film captures the euphoria of finding these places and how they inspired the artists a hundred years ago.” Michael describes the film as “shining a spotlight on a part of Canada that has become, because of the Group of Seven, embedded in our national psyche.”

Painted Land, In Search of the Group of Seven is also being featured two nights, October 2-3 during Sault Ste. Marie’s Algoma Fall Festival.