2019 Sundance Docs in Focus: ANTHROPOCENE: THE HUMAN EPOCH

Courtesy of Sundance Institute | photo by Edward Burtynsky

ANTHROPOCENE: THE HUMAN EPOCH
Jennifer Baichwal, Nicholas de Pencier, and Edward Burtynsky present a striking visual chronicle of human impact on the planet.

Festival Section:
Spotlight

Sundance Program Description:

The third film in a three-part collaboration between renowned photographer Edward Burtynsky and award-winning filmmakers Jennifer Baichwal and Nicholas de Pencier, ANTHROPOCENE: THE HUMAN EPOCH premiered to great acclaim at the Toronto International Film Festival in September. The trilogy’s first installment, MANUFACTURED LANDSCAPES, mesmerized audiences at the 2007 Sundance Film Festival.

The Anthropocene Working Group is composed of an international team of scientists who have spent nearly a decade researching the serious and lasting geological impact caused to our planet by humankind. From the devastated Great Barrier Reef in Australia, to the concrete seawalls that cover 60 percent of mainland China’s coast, to the biggest terrestrial machines ever built in Germany, to psychedelic potash mines in Russia’s Ural Mountains, to surreal lithium evaporation ponds in the Atacama Desert, the crew travels to six continents and twenty different countries to capture stunning images chronicling the catastrophic path traveled by our species over the last century.

Four years in the making, ANTHROPOCENE: THE HUMAN EPOCH serves as a disturbing call to action, forcing us to rethink the relationship we have with our global habitat.

Some Background:
Director/Screenwriter:

  • Jennifer Baichwal
    Past Sundance docs:

    PAYBACK (2012)
    MANUFACTURED LANDSCAPES
    THE TRUE MEANING OF PICTURES: SHELBY LEE ADAMS’ APPALACHIA (2003)

    This is the ninth feature doc for the Genie Award-winning Canadian filmmaker.

Director/Producer/Executive Producer:

  • Nicholas de Pencier
    Past Sundance docs:

    PAYBACK
    MANUFACTURED LANDSCAPES
    THE TRUE MEANING OF PICTURES: SHELBY LEE ADAMS’ APPALACHIA

    The Genie-winning and Emmy-nominated de Pencier, who is also the project’s director of photography, has shot and produced most of Baichwal’s films. He is Baichwal’s husband and professional filmmaking partner.

Director/Executive Producer:

  • Edward Burtynsky

    Burtynsky is a noted Canadian large-scale photographer and was the subject of MANUFACTURED LANDSCAPES. For the remainder of the trilogy that began with that film, he became one of the directors and executive producers. Burtynsky is a past recipient of the prestigious TED Prize.

Associate Producer:

  • Nadia Tavazzani

    This marks Tavazzani first Sundance credit. She associate produced de Pencier’s feature doc BLACK CODE and served in other roles for WATERMARK, the second film in this trilogy, as well as for Baichwal’s film ACT OF GOD.

Executive Producers:

  • Daniel Iron
    Past Sundance docs:

    MANUFACTURED LANDSCAPES

    Blue Ice Pictures’ Iron also produced or executive produced Sundance fiction feature alumni AWAY FROM HER, THE SADDEST MUSIC IN THE WORLD, FIDO, and THIRTY TWO SHORT FILMS ABOUT GLENN GOULD, as well as fiction short DON’T THINK TWICE. He has produced several of Baichwal/de Pencier’s previous films.

  • Nicholas Metivier

    Metivier is a Toronto-based gallerist. He represents Burtynsky, and his gallery hosted the artist’s ANTHROPOCENE exhibition last Fall.

Editor:

  • Roland Schlimme
    Past Sundance docs:

    MANUFACTURED LANDSCAPES
    THE TRUE MEANING OF PICTURES

Why You Should Watch:
Baichwal, de Pencier, and Burtynsky expertly balance a sobering meditation on the destructive footprint of humanity with artfully composed, spectacular images that are both unforgettable and persuasive in their admonition.

More Info:
Website
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Instagram

For Sundance screening dates and times, click the film title in the first paragraph.

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Filed under Documentary, Film, Film Festivals, Recommendations, Sundance

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