Spirit Land begins filming | Canoeroots Magazine | Rapid Media
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Spirit Land begins filming Photo: Courtesy White Pine Pictures

Joanie and Gary McGuffin star in Group of Seven documentary

White Pine Pictures announced on Friday that principal photography has begun on their newest feature documentary Spirit Land: In Search of the Group of Seven. Filmed on location in the Algoma region north of Sault Ste. Marie and along the north shore of Lake Superior, shooting takes place through September and early October, capturing the beauty of the Fall colours as they were so dramatically captured by Canada’s revered Group of Seven.

Produced for theatrical release and for broadcast on TVO, the documentary channel and CTS, Spirit Land follows authors, canoeists and wilderness photographers Joanie and Gary McGuffin, and art historian Michael Burtch, as they search for the locations visited by Canada’s most celebrated landscape painters. The film combines original photography, archival materials, paintings and re-creations.

Spirit Land is the next in a series of award-winning art documentaries produced by White Pine Pictures, including Oscar-shortlisted and critically acclaimed Genius Within: The Inner Life of Glenn Gould, Winds of Heaven (a portrait of West Coast artist Emily Carr) and West Wind: The Vision of Tom Thomson (screened in over 80 venues across Canada, Europe and the U.S. and honoured with 6 international awards.)

Spirit Land is an ambitious undertaking featuring a recreation of the iconic #10557 boxcar that became the home of Lawren Harris, A.Y. Jackson, JEH MacDonald and Frank Johnston in the Agawa Canyon in the summers of 1918 and 1919. CN and The Algoma Central Railway donated the boxcar car which has been refitted with period props and set dressing. 

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