Painted Land: In Search of the Group of Seven

  • Year 2016
  • Country Canada
  • Runtime 71 min
  • Director Phyllis Ellis


The Group of Seven was a group of Canadian landscape painters from 1920 to 1933 that believed a distinct Canadian art could be developed through direct contact with nature. They are best known for paintings inspired by the Canadian landscape, including the rugged highlands of northern Lake Superior, from which they initiated the first major Canadian national art movement.

Yet few know their personal lives. Why did they choose locations in the remote, rugged wilderness of northern Ontario? Does anyone know precisely where they painted?

Past meets present in a film that is evocative in approach, energized by breathtaking cinematography and an uplifting musical score.  Painted Land weaves seamlessly the experiences of  The Group of Seven with the adventures of three modern day sleuths. Historian Michael Burtch, and the writer and photographer team of Gary and Joanie McGuffin are determined to track down the precise locations of these famous paintings.

Archival film, letters, journals and photographs of the artists – some of which have never been seen in public – take the viewers back in time. This film weaves this history with a modern day adventure, up mountains, down canyon rivers and over portages with our trio as they try to achieve their own personal quest: to actually ‘walk in the Group of Seven’s footsteps’