A restless cinematic adventurer, Peter Mettler’s singular body of work is characterized by hybridism, a sense of wonder, unusual forms of collaboration, and a disregard for classification. Frequently visiting themes of transcendence and the delicate relationship between technology and the natural world, Mettler’s films combine travelogue, essay, interview, fiction and social critique. They are guided by instinct yet grounded in discipline, structure, craft, and a knack for apprehending stunning images and great stories.
No single work is more teeming with such images and stories than Mettler’s wildly ambitious magnum opus, Gambling, Gods and LSD (2002), which Jason Anderson describes as “a sort of divine sacrament, melting the viewer’s synapses with a mesmerizing array of sights, sounds and genuinely profound insights.” An epic project ten years in the making, Gambling, Gods and LSD traverses three continents to discover tales and visions of ecstasy, awe and atonement. Similar in spirit and methodology are Picture of Light (1994) and The End of Time (2012). Picture of Light was made as a result of an encounter with the Swiss artist-scientist-collector Andreas Züst, who charged Mettler with the quixotic task of capturing the aurora borealis on film, leading the pair to brave arctic temperatures and constructed a special time-lapse camera system capable of operating in severe nocturnal conditions. Picture of Light is playful and philosophical, a richly atmospheric journey to the spectral North. Vogue praised the film as an “extraordinary piece of filmmaking. In an era when only one movie in a hundred has a single moment of visionary power, Picture of Light is bursting with them.” The End of Time, meanwhile, takes viewers to exotic locales in search of insight on the forces that give our lives meaning – drawing forth macro- and microscopic realms from the CERN particle collider, to lava fields, urban decay and an interstellar observatory. The Hollywood Reporter’s Stephen Dalton called it “immersive and hypnotic... a ravishingly beautiful experience.”
While his films are immensely personal, an essential component of Mettler’s practice is collaboration and adaptation. Among his most illustrious collaborators is fellow Torontonian Atom Egoyan, for whom Mettler photographed such films as Next of Kin (1984) and the Samuel Beckett adaptation Krapp’s Last Tape (2000). More recently, Mettler was director of photography on Jennifer Baichwal’s multi-award-winning Manufactured Landscapes (2006), which profiled the work of photographer Edward Burtynsky and opens with one of Mettler’s most indelible shots: a protracted lateral pan that entrances viewers as it gradually coveys the seemingly impossible scale of a factory floor in China. Mettler has also adapted the work of internationally renowned theatre director Robert Lepage with Tectonic Plates (1992), shot on location in Venice, Scotland and Montreal, and which boldly fused the artifice of theatre with wondrous spectacles gleaned from the real world. Most recently, Mettler collaborated with director Emma Davie and philosopher David Abram on the feature Becoming Animal (2018), a study of animism in our contemporary era of environmental and perceptual crisis. Mettler’s other collaborators include Bruce MacDonald, Jeremy Podeswa, Jane Siberry, Jim O’Rourke, Michael Ondaatje, Werner Penzel, Peter Weber, Fred Frith, Patricia Rozema, Andrea Nann, Alexandra Rockingham Gill, Ingrid Veninger, Greg Hermanovic, Ritchie Hawtin, Neil Young, and many others.
Mettler’s films have been the focus of multiple retrospectives, including at the Toronto International Film Festival, BAFICI, Lincoln Centre, Pacific Film Archive, Jeu de Paume Paris, Cinémathèque Suisse, Porto/Post/Doc, Doc Buenos Aires, DOCMA Madrid, Hot Docs, and numerous other festivals and cinematheques. His awards include a 2003 Genie from the Academy of Canadian Cinema for Best Documentary, La Sarraz Prize from Locarno, Grand Prix and Prix du Jeune Publique at Vision Du Réel, Grand Prize at Figueira da Foz, Best Film, Best Cinematography, and Best Writing at Hot Docs, and an Award for Excellence from Yamagata International Documentary Festival. His works have been the subject of two books: Making The Invisible Visible (1995), and Of This Place and Elsewhere: The Films and Photography of Peter Mettler (2006). In 2017, Picture Of Light was selected by TIFF as one of Canada’s Essential 150 Films.
Mettler’s activities, however, have not been confined to film production. Following the completion of Gambling, Gods and LSD, Mettler became interested in developing an improvisational approach to cinematic montage within a live context. Since 2005, Mettler has worked with the software company Derivative to develop a digital image-mixing software platform that he has used in numerous performances, collaborating with a diverse array of collaborators – including musicians, dancers, poets, and multimedia artists – in a wide range of locales, from radio theaters and cinemas to dance clubs and wilderness retreats. His recent commissions include a collaboration with Biosphere at Hot Docs 2014, with Paul Frehner and the Toronto Symphony Orchestra at New Creations Festival 2016, and with John Oswald at in/future Festival 2016. These live events push Mettler’s established skills into ever-newer territories, entrancing audiences with the audio-visual allure of crafted cinema while offering the exhilaration of witnessing something spontaneous and achingly ephemeral. Most recently, Mettler has toured a live divination of image, story and music entitled YoshtoYoshto with the anthropologist Jeremy Narby (The Cosmic Serpent) and musician Franz Treichler.
"Peter Mettler is an incomparable talent in Canadian cinema. The innovation and audacity of his work, his dedication to the cinematic art form, and his ability to conjure up images that remain permanently etched in one's mind, secures his place as one of this country's most distinguished contemporary filmmakers.” – Piers Handling, Toronto International Film Festival
“His films seek to make the invisible visible. Mettler’s clear-headed idealism, his awareness and inquisitiveness… turn limitations into art – into opportunities for transcendence – making him one of contemporary world cinema’s most compelling and unique filmmakers.” – Jerry White, Of This Place and Elsewhere: The Films and Photography of Peter Mettler
"Mettler has placed himself in the forefront of the contemporary cinema scene." – Marc Glassman, Point of View Magazine
"Mettler's films offer more than can generally be expected in the cinema: no escapism and numbness of the senses, but a formidable school of perception, associative visions and ideas for a sharpened awareness, encouragement for an open mind. Mettler does not conceive of himself as an omniscient author and narrator, but more as a constantly searching traveler, as an intuitive mediator, as a medium or filter, walking through the world with his camera… Consequently, he understands collecting material visually and acoustically as a kind of composing music: instead of linearly telling a story, his films are meant to break conceptual thinking and create moods that lie beyond rational and linguistically namable truths. – Marcel Elsener
Feature documentary collaboration between Peter Mettler, Emma Davie and David Abram (The Spell of the Sensuous), that examines how an animistic philosophy can address the contemporary environmental crisis through a new understanding of nature.
Feature documentary about conflicting viewpoints of America's border wall with Mexico. Artistic collaborator, cinematographer and co-editor.
Broken Land (2014, 75 min.) Directed by Stéphanie Barbey & Luc Peter.
Feature documentary exploring our perception of time through a diverse array of locations and portraits, from the jungles of Costa Rica, lava fields of Hawaii, and urban decay of Detroit, to the CERN particle collider, an interstellar observatory, and a Buddhist temple.
Feature documentary examining the world’s largest industrial mega-project in northern Alberta, and its impact on the surrounding landscape. Produced in association with Greenpeace Canada.
Memorizer (2009, 200 min.)
Video installation presenting a series of interviews in memory of the Swiss collector, artist and scientist Andreas Züst, for Aargauer Kunsthaus Switzerland.
Shostakovitch/Notes in Silence (2007, 25 min.)
An evocation of the times and spirit of composer Dimitri Shostakovitch. Made in collaboration with a dance theatre piece by Andrea Nann, a
Documentary short, on the trials of being electronically over-connected. Commissioned by the National Film Board of Canada,
Manufactured Landscapes (2006, 86 min.) Directed by Jennifer Baichwal.
Feature documentary, follows photographer Edward Burtynsky witnessing China’s massive industrial revolution and its impact on the planet. Cinematographer and creative consultant.
Feature documentary, an epic journey across cultures, people and time, exploring notions of transcendence and belief among a diverse array of characters and circumstances.
Diary and performance, a lyrical tribute to the creative forces found on the island of Bali.
Feature documentary, takes a film crew to the sub-Arctic town of Churchill, Manitoba, to capture the wonder of the northern lights on celluloid in a meditation on technology and environment.
Feature drama, an adaptation of a play by Robert Lepage and Théâtre Repère. The metaphor of the earth's tectonic plates is used to illustrate interconnecting stories on a human scale.
Feature drama, a surrealistic fable about the search for identity in a media driven world and the transcendence of intuition over rational thought.
A lyrical travelogue diary film, shot during a three-month journey through Switzerland, Berlin and Portugal. Impressionistic and textured, with an improvisatory collage soundtrack.
Feature experimental, a rendering of the experiences of a mental patient wandering outside institutional confines for the first time in many years. A first-person foray into a disorienting realm between reason and sensation.
Highlights & Awards
Highlights & Awards
Official Selection – Masters, IDFA
Nominated for Fugas Feature Film Competition, Documenta Madrid
Nominated for Grand Prix, Docs Against Gravity
Nominated for Best Feature, Bildrausch Filmfest
Nominated for Best Feature Documentary, Edinburgh International Film Festival
Nominated for Best Testimony on Nature, Jihlava International Documentary Film Festival
Nominated for DOX:AWARD, CPH:DOX
Premio Qualita di Vita Award, Locarno International Film Festival
Nominated for Golden Leopard, Locarno International Film Festival
Official Selection: Masters Series, Toronto International Film Festival
Canada's Top Ten Critic’s Selection
Best Documentary, Music, Camera, Swiss Film Prize Nominations
Reflecting Images Masters Official Selection, IDFA
Nominated for DOX:AWARD, CPH:DOX
Opening Night Film, Imagine Science Film Festival
Opening Night Film, RIDM
International Competition, Dok Leipzig
Nominated for Best World Documentary, Jihlava International Documentary Film Festival
Wide Angle Documentary Showcase, Busan International Film Festival
Nominated for Best Documentary, Best Cinematography, Swiss Film Prize
Nominated for Best Screenplay, Vancouver Critics Circle
Included as part of Neil Young's “Honour the Treaties” concert tour
Prix du Jury du Jeune Publique Award, Visions du Réel
Fondazione Ente dello Spettacolo Prize, Festival dei Popoli
Nominated for New Vision Award, CPH:DOX
Nominated for Genie Award – Best Documentary, Academy of Canadian Cinema
Best Documentary, RiverRun international Film Festival
Reel Current Award, Nashville Film Festival
Best Canadian Film and Best Documentary, Toronto Film Critics Association Awards
Nomination for Best Cinematography, Cinema Eye Honors Award
Genie Award for Best Documentary, Academy of Canadian Cinema
Best Canadian Film, Toronto International Film Festival
Grand Jury Prize nomination, Sundance Film Festival
Prix du Jeune Publique, Visions du Réel
Top 10 Canadian movies of the decade, Macleans
Genie Award – Best Documentary, Academy of Canadian Cinema
One of the Year’s Best Films, Film Comment Magazine
Grand Prix and Prix du Publique Awards, Nyon Visions du Réel
Best Feature Documentary, Vancouver International Festival
Best Documentary, Festival du cinema nouveau
Best Documentary, Duisburger Filmwoche
Top Twenty Canadian Films, Toronto International Film Festival
Best Documentary (Runner-Up), FIPRESCI
Award for Excellence in the Arts, Swiss Ministry of Culture
Nominated for Best Documentary, Swiss Film Prize
Live performance with Evergreen Club Gamelan, Sonic Boom Festival
Best Short Film, Duisburger Filmwoche
Opening Night Presentation, Visions du Réel
Best Film, Best Cinematography, Best Writing, Hot Docs Toronto
La Sarraz Prize, Locarno International Film Festival
Award for Excellence in the Arts, Swiss Ministry of Culture
Grand Prize (Images & Documents), Figueira da Foz International Festival
Best Ontario Film, MCTV Award
Best Feature, Cinéfest Sudbury
Award for Excellence, Yamagata International Documentary Festival
Most Innovative Film of the Festival, Figuera da Foz International Festival
Catholic Film Critics Award, Mannheim-Heidelberg Film Festival
Grand Prize & Award for Excellence, Colombus, Ohio
Nominated for Genie Award – Best Original Screenplay, Academy of Canadian Cinema
Silver Plate Award, Figuera da Foz Festival
World Premiere in “New Directors/New Directions” at the Toronto Festival of Festivals (TIFF)
Norman McLaren Award for Best Film, Best Cinematography and Best Soundtrack, Le Conservatoire d'art cinématographique, Montréal
Nominated for Gold Hugo, Chicago International Film Festival
Retrospectives & Exhibitions
Retrospectives & Exhibitions
Kino Xenix, Zürich, 2018
Kinoatelje Tribute to a Vision, Italy/Slovenia, 2018
Muestra Internacional Documental de Bogotá, Colombia, 2018
Doc Montevideo, Uruguay, 2018
BAMPFA, San Francisco, 2017
Cinematheque Suisse, Lausanne, 2016
DOCMA Madrid, 2015
DOC Buenos Aires, 2015
Lincoln Center, New York, 2013
Planete + Doc, Warsaw, 2013
Hot Docs, Toronto, 2013
Cinematheque Quebecoise, Montreal, 2012
Festival Dei Popoli, Florence, 2010
Canadian Spotlight, Toronto International Film Festival, 2006
FilmStudio, Rome, 2004
Jeu de Paume, Paris, 2003
Director in Focus, BAFICI, Buenos Aries, 2003
Arsenal, Berlin, 1999
Mecano, Netherlands, 1998
Cinematheque Ontario, Toronto, 1996
VIPER Festival, Lucerne, Switzerland, 1995
“Framemixes,” Palazzo del cinema, Gorizia, Italy, 2018
“Framemixes” and “City Lights,” Planete + Doc, Warsaw, 2013
“Focus On,” Hot Docs, Toronto, 2013
“Notations (for the End of Time),” Cinematheque Quebecoise, Montreal, 2012
“Notations (for the End of Time),” Museo Marino Marini, Florence, 2010
“Mise en Scene,” O’Born Contemporary Gallery, Toronto, 2008
“Teledivinitry,” Greener Pastures Contemporary Art, Toronto, 2006
Retrospective at Lennox Gallery, Toronto, 2006
“Orientation,” Galerie Sala 1, Rome, 2005
“Teledivinity,” S.A.W. Gallery, Ottawa, 2004
Solothurn Galerie S2, 2002
Schlesinger Stiftung, Appenzell, Switzerland
“I Died Shortly Thereafter,” Foto Forum, St.Gallen, and Galerie Neugebauer, Basel, 1995
Live image mixing performance, Architextures at Round Venue, Toronto, January 1, 2019.
Live image mixing performance, with in collaboration with Forma Free Music Impulse and Contemporanea (musicians Andrea Gulli, Alex Koruga, Mattia Piani, Jesus Valenti; conducted by Giovanni Maier), at Tribute To A Vision Festival, Teatre San Giorgio, Udine, Italy, October 19, 2018.
Yoshtoyoshto, live image mixing performance with Franz Treichler and Jeremy Narby, at Docs Against Gravity in Warsaw, Poland, May 12, 2018.
Yoshtoyoshto, live image mixing performance with Franz Treichler and Jeremy Narby, at CPH:DOX, Copenhagen, Denmark, March 17, 2018.
Live image mixing performance, Architextures at Round Venue, Toronto, January 1, 2018.
Yoshtoyoshto, live performance with Franz Treichler and Jeremy Narby, at Porto/Post/Doc, Porto, Portugal, December 2, 2017.
Live image mixing performance, with Sebastian Mullaert (Minilogue) at Blue Dot, Kitchener, Ontario, March 3, 2017.
Live image mixing performance, Architextures at Round Venue, Toronto, January 1, 2017.
Yoshtoyoshto, live image mixing performance with Franz Treichler and Jeremy Narby, at Musée d'ethnographie de Genève, November 24, 2016.
Yoshtoyoshto, live image mixing performance with Franz Treichler and Jeremy Narby, at Théâtre de Vidy, Lausanne, November 19, 2016.
Concrescence, live image mixing performance with John Oswald, at in/future Festival, Ontario Place, September 18, 2016.
From The Vortex Perspective, collaboration with composer Paul Frehner, live performance with the Toronto Symphony Orchestra, at New Creations Festival, Roy Thompson Hall, Toronto, March 9, 2016.
Taken By Night, live image mixing performance with Andrea Nann, presented by Dreamwalker Dance Company, Toronto, November 26–28, 2015.
Yoshtoyoshto, live performance with Franz Treichler and Jeremy Narby, World Premiere performance at VideoEx, May 30, 2015.
Live image mixing performance with Fred Frith, at Planete + Doc, Warsaw, May 12, 2013.
Live image mixing performance with Biosphere, at Hot Docs Festival, The Royal Cinema, Toronto, April 28, 2013.
Meteorologies, live image mixing performance with Fred Frith, at Cinematheque Quebecoise, Montreal, 2012.
Meteorologies, live image mixing performance with Fred Frith, at Centre Culturel Suisse - Paris, 2012.
Meteorologies, live image mixing performance with Fred Frith, at Videoex Zurich, 2012.
Live image mixing performance with Tom Kuo and Anne Bourne at Electric Eclectics 6, Meaford, Ontario, June 14, 2011.
Constellation Young Gods, live image mixing performance with musicians Gabriel Scotti and Vincent Hanni, 2010.
Live image mixing performance with Lester Alfonso, Anne Bourne and Tom Kuo, at Electric Eclectics 5, Meaford, Ontario, July 30, 2010.
INIT, live audiovisual performance with a roster of Toronto performers, presented by Tom Kuo and Brian T. Moore, Toronto, 2009.
Live image mixing performance with Fred Frith, at Videoex & Institute for Computer Music and Sound Technology, Switzerland, 2009.
Live image mixing performance with DJ Styro, Bang Goes and others, Kunstraum Walcheturm New Years Party, Switzerland, 2008.
Live performance with Fred Frith, Zwei Tage Zeit, in conjunction with The International Society for Contemporary Music, Switzerland, 2008.
Bas-Reliefs, multi-disciplinary collaboration with a team of 11 artists, artistic direction Marie-Josée Chartier, Chartier Danse, Toronto, 2007.
Live image mixing performance with Tom Kuo and Anne Bourne, at In the Mix Festival, Toronto, 2007.
America and The Black Angel, live image mixing performance with The Art of Time Ensemble and George Crumb, Enwave Theatre, Toronto, 2007.
Live image mixing performance with Fred Frith, La Corbiere, Village Nomade, Switzerland, 2007.
Pusher, live image mixing performance with with Monolake, at DeLeon White Gallery, Toronto, 2007.
Shostakovitch/Notes In Silence, live theatre piece with Andrea Nann, Harbourfront Centre, Toronto, 2007.
Live image mixing performance with Derivative, Tom Kuo, Adam Marshall, at Nuit Blanche, Drake Hotel, Toronto, 2006.
Elsewhere, live image mixing performance with Evergreen Gamelan Ensemble, Murcof, Marc Weiser et al., at TIFF, Berkeley Church, September 2006.
Shostakovitch, live theatre piece with The Art of Time Ensemble & Andrea Nann, Harbourfront Centre, Toronto, 2006.
Bas-Reliefs, live image mixing performance with Marie Josee Chartier, Danse Cite, Montreal, 2006.
Live image mixing performance with percussionist Lucas Niggli, Qtopia Uster, 2005.
Live image mixing performance with Sven Vath, Rohstofflager, Zurich, 2005.
Live image mixing performance with Fred Frith, RAI3 Rome live national broadcast, 2005.
Live image mixing performance with Transmediale, CPH:DOX, Copenhagen, 2004.
Live image mixing performance with Martin Schuetz, closing night at Visions du Réel, Nyon, France, 2003.
Live image mixing performance with Martin Schuetz, Schauspeilhaus Zurich: The Box, 2003.
Live image mixing performance with Fred Frith, Walcheturm Galerie Zurich, 2003.
Live image mixing performance with Prinzessin in Not, Buenos Aires Film Festival, 2003.
Live image mixing performance with various DJs, Burning Man, Nevada, 2003.
Live image mixing performance with Telefunk Soundsystem, Om Festival 2003–05.
Live image mixing performance with Fred Frith, Expo Swtitzerland, 2002.
Member of improvisational music trio ESP, Switzerland, 1993–98.
Salome Pitschen and Annette Schönholzer (eds.), Making the Invisible Visible. Reihe Andreas Züst and Verlag Ricco Bilger, 1995. With contributions from Peter Mettler, Claudia Acklin, Atom Egoyan, Fred Frith, Philip Hoffman, Nicolas Humbert/Werner Penzel, Thomas Imbach, Fred Kelemen, Réal LaRochelle, Peter Liechti, Christie MacFayden, Bruce McDonald, Catherine Martin, Tom McSorley, Jean Perret, Jeremy Podeswa, Veronika Rail, Pipolotti Rist, Patricia Rozema, Martin Schaub, Peter Weber, Peter Wintonick. ISBN: 3.908010.93.4
Jerry White, Of This Place and Elsewhere, The Films and Photography of Peter Mettler. Toronto International Film Festival, 2006. Includes an extensive selection of Mettler’s photography with 100 colour plates. Distributed in Canada by Wilfrid Laurier University Press. Distributed outside Canada by Indiana University Press. ISBN: 978-0-9689132-5-3
Georgiana Banita, “Sensing Oil: Sublime Art and Politics in Canada,” in Petrocultures: Oil, Politics, Culture. Edited by Sheena Wilson, Adam Carlson, Imre Szeman. 431–457. McGill–Queen’s University Press, 2017.
Soenke Zehle, “Documenting Depletion: Of Algorithmic Machines, Experience Streams, and Plastic People,” in Media and the Ecological Crisis. Edited by Richard Maxwell, John Raundalen, Nina Lager Vestberg. Routledge, 2014.
Randolph Jordan, The Schizophonic Imagination: Audiovisual Ecology in the Cinema. PhD Dissertation, Concordia University, 2010.
Barbara Rockburn, Bonne Entente: Elliptical Elisions and Canadian Narrative Structure. MA Thesis, Carleton University, 1997.
Marcel Arbeit, “When Seeing and Hearing Do Not Help: Communication Failures in Canadian Films,” in special issue “The Five Senses of Canadian Cinema,” Brno Studies in English, Vol. 29, Issue 2 (2013).
Geoff Pevere, “Peter Mettler: The Pursuit of Wonder,” Take One, 2005.
Jack Blum, “The Quest for Transcendence, Gambling, Gods and LSD,” Point of View Magazine, 2002.
Jason McBride, “Betting On Transcendence,” Cinemascope, 2002.
Stephan Lam, "In Search of Wonder: Peter Mettler's Gambling, Gods and LSD,” Take One, 2002.
Peter Harcourt, "In Search of Wonder: Peter Mettler's Picture of Light,” Take One, 1994.
Cinematography & Creative Collaborations
Cinematography & Creative Collaborations
Broken Land (Switzerland, 2014, 75 minutes), directed by Stéphanie Barbey and Luc Peter. Cinematographer and creative collaboration.
Out in desert-like nature, living in the shadows of the immense fence that is erected to control Mexican immigration, seven Americans tell how the border transforms their lives. They observe the haunting traces left by the crossing migrants – people they never come face to face with – as they confide their fear, defiance and at times even compassion.
National Parks Project: Gros Morne (Canada, 2010, 43 minutes), directed by Ryan J. Noth. Produced by FilmCAN and Stitch Media. Cinematographer.
Immerse yourself in the magnificent glory and intricate wonder of Newfoundland’s Gros Morne National Park as seen through the eyes of master cinematographer Peter Mettler. Mettler’s ever-curious lens finds beauty everywhere, lingering over the cloud and fog that caress the Long Range Mountains, and exploring the textures of granite cliff faces, other-worldly jellyfish, lichen-scarred branches, and rusted iron. The fluid rhythm continually returns to the mesmerizing qualities of water-cascading in waterfalls, lapping shoreline rocks, glinting in trembling droplets, and smearing beauty through window panes.
Manufactured Landscapes (Canada, 2006, 90 minutes), directed by Jennifer Baichwal. Cinematographer and creative collaboration.
Manufactured Landscapes is a feature-length documentary on the world and work of renowned artist Edward Burtynsky. Burtynsky makes large-scale photographs of 'manufactured landscapes' – quarries, recycling yards, factories, mines, dams. He photographs civilization’s materials and debris, but in a way people describe as "stunning" or "beautiful," and so raises all kinds of questions about ethics and aesthetics without trying to easily answer them. The film follows Burtynsky to China as he travels the country photographing the evidence and effects of that country's massive industrial revolution. Sites such as the Three Gorges Dam, which is bigger by 50% than any other dam in the world and displaced over a million people, factory floors over a kilometre long, and the breathtaking scale of Shanghai's urban renewal are subjects for his lens and our motion picture camera.
Shot in Super-16mm film, Manufactured Landscapes extends the narrative streams of Burtynsky's photographs, allowing us to meditate on our profound impact on the planet and witness both the epicentres of industrial endeavour and the dumping grounds of its waste. What makes the photographs so powerful is his refusal in them to be didactic. We are all implicated here, they tell us: there are no easy answers. The film continues this approach of presenting complexity, without trying to reach simplistic judgements or reductive resolutions. In the process, it tries to shift our consciousness about the world and the way we live in it.
Into the Night (Canada, 2005, 78 minutes), directed by Annette Mangaard. Cinematographer.
Set in the lurid, perpetual neon burn of the nighttime city, with its 24-hour stores and restaurants, Into the Night explores sleeplessness and its discontents. Insomnia remains an enigma. More than a third of the world suffers from it, and billions are spent each year on prescription drugs to cure it. Nevertheless, it appears that the real difficulty with this elusive condition is that nobody knows quite what to do about it.
Filmmaker Annette Mangaard, herself a lifelong insomniac, has crafted a searching, lyrical, revelatory film, a sleep-noir journey, tracing one night of her own endless exhaustion – and everybody else's. Mangaard, desperate for some rest, submits herself to a sleep clinic. She talks with wonderfully lucid, hollow-eyed fellow travellers about their varying worlds of sleep deprivation. An unforgettable guide to the nether world of shadows and exhaustion, Into the Night is a cinematic sojourn into the realm of the insomniac – the tracking of a vivid mind moving through the artificial day of night, searching for rest.
Streetcar (Canada, 2004, 30 min), dir. Nick de Pencier. Director of Photography.
This award-winning dance film by Nick de Pencier stir imaginations through its hybrid performance-based and experimental documentary approach. For his performance, Peter Chin received a prestigious Gemini Award, and was also responsible for the choreography and music composition. de Pencier was also nominated for a Gemini for Best Director.
Krapp’s Last Tape (Ireland, 2000, 58 minutes), dir. Atom Egoyan. Cinematography.
Samuel Beckett’s one-act play Krapp’s Last Tape (1958) describes an old man who sits alone at a table and listens to tape recordings of his voice over the span of his life. Atom Egoyan’s 2000 film adaptation of the play, commissioned as part of the “Beckett On Film” series, is a minimalist production that is acutely aligned with the text version, featuring a masterful performance from actor John Hurt.
“Hurt is extraordinary!” – Variety
The Ring (UK/Slovenia, 2004, 90 minutes), directed by Angus Reid. Director of Photography.
European artists frame the openness of the world in works of art. In gold mines in Africa, slaves dig for precious metal, and the story of the camps in Bosnia can only be told by those who survived them. This documentary epic brings the value of art into direct confrontation with its own extinction. It searches for a lost ring, a sense of connection, mapping at the same time the brokenness of the 90s, the circle closing fifteen years after the first scene was filmed, 1989–2004. This circle is an odyssey that encounters its nemesis in a picaresque philosopher who contemplates nothingness, and an essay that must step past the graves in Burkina Faso and Bosnia – the circle of the life work of the author who has discovered his intimate Ithaca somewhere between Slovenia and Scotland, a hideaway from the nihilism of the ring, embodying death, gold and apathy, the symbols of the world that survives us.
Winner, Best Central European Documentary Film – Jihlava International Documentary Film Festival, 2004
Leda and the Swan (Canada, 1998, 100 minutes), directed by Alexandra Rockingham Gill. Cinematography.
The Life is the Red Wagon (Canada, 1989, 4 minutes), music video by Jane Siberry. Cinematography.
Family Viewing (Canada, 1987, 86 minutes), directed by Atom Egoyan. Cinematography.
Van's father, Stan, is fond of video, always taping scenes of daily family life. But he does not take care of Van's grandmother, Armen. Although he could afford having her at home, she is spending her days watching TV in an old people's home. Van often visits her. He meets Aline, whose mother is in the next bed. Van wants to get his grandma out of the old people's home. Aline will help. Actually, Van, whose mother left, years ago, is looking for a real family life.
Walking after Midnight (Canada, 1988, 92 minutes) by Jonothan Kay. Cinematography.
A documentary that explores the past-life experiences of various celebrities.
Artist on Fire: The Work of Joyce Wieland (Canada, 1987, 54 minutes), directed by Kay Armatage. Cinematography.
Joyce Wieland was, for well over thirty years, one of Canada's most exciting and innovative artists. She worked in virtually every artistic medium, including cloth works, pastels, coloured pencils, oils, bronze, watercolours, and films of all gauges. One of the founding group of what came to be known as structural filmmakers in New York in the late 60s, she was also one of the first artists of this century to break into women's traditional crafts as an art form, and used both film and cloth works as platforms for her principal political subjects – ecology, Canadian nationalism, and feminism. This documentary combines expressionistic uses of cinematography and sound to examine Wieland's work in all media. Avoiding both the chronological treatment usually found in retrospective considerations of artists' work and the conventional voice-over narration common to films on art, Artist on Fire offers an analysis of thirty years of Wieland's work that is rich in both detail and contextual information. Armatage combines a complex interweaving of multiple unscripted voices which are intricately edited and embedded in an evocative soundtrack of effects and music (mostly modern, electronic and Canadian) with an illuminating juxtaposition of images: excerpts from Wieland's work over twenty years, artworks in many modes and actuality footage of Wieland at work.
"An astoundingly dynamic piece of filmmaking – an intense marriage between Armatage and Wieland's art." - Carole Corbeil, The Globe and Mail
Divine Solitude (Canada, 1986, 28 minutes), directed by Jean-Marc Lariviere. Cinematography.
A performance film featuring dancer-choreographer Nana Gleason, whose solo works are an incisive and spellbinding alchemy of modern Western dance forms and Far-Eastern traditions.
“Nana Gleason makes of her art an almost monastic exercise that follows its own set of gestural imperatives. Most notable is the way she flirts with a nameless physical otherness, sometimes through the use of physical extensions (a single platform boot, an extra long arm). She is a compelling figure, lovingly revealed in Lariviere's film.” – Robert Everett-Green, The Globe & Mail
”Lariviere, supported by the discreet cinematography of Peter Mettler and Kemp Archibald, has kept his distance, eschewed bravado and made a beautiful work of art." – Toronto Festival of Festivals
Passion: A Letter in 16mm (Canada, 1985, 28 minutes), directed by Patricia Rozema. Cinematography.
Passion: A Letter in 16mm is the story of a woman with too much passion and too little time. Linda Griffiths portrays a woman struggling to balance her craving for professional excellence as a documentary filmmaker with her need for intimacy. The first film by the award-winning director of I've Heard the Mermaids Singing.
Knock! Knock! (Canada, 1985, 62 minutes) by Bruce McDonald. Cinematography.
A Trip Around Lake Ontario (Canada, 1984, 26 minutes), directed by Colin Brunton. Cinematography.
An author takes a trip around Lake Ontario to research a book and offers a "fact or fiction" comic narration on the people he meets. Shot prior to writing the novel of the same name, A Trip Around Lake Ontario becomes a film based on a book based on a film. With David McFadden and Al Purdy. Watch online here.
Next of Kin (Canada, 1984, 100 minutes), directed by Atom Egoyan. Cinematography.
Twenty-three-year old Peter Foster is an only child who lives at home, where he constantly hears his parents arguing. Because Peter does nothing all day, the family goes to a clinic where a therapist videotapes them. After Peter watches his tape, he views the tape of a troubled Armenian family, who gave their only son away for adoption when they arrived in Canada. Peter decides to visit this family, and he pretends to be their son, Bedros Deryan. The Deryan family welcomes him with open arms, and Peter tries to patch up the poor relationship between George Deryan and his daughter Azah.
David Roche Talks To You About Love (Canada, 1983, 22 minutes), directed by Jeremy Podeswa. Cinematography.
David Roche looks out from the screen and starts to talk about love as he rises in the freight elevator to his lofty abode. From the first few sentences, it's clear that here's a literate, witty script executed by an actor/writer who, in conjunction with the filmmaker, knows how to convey his autobiographical, deja-vu views. Poignant. Beautiful. Cynical. It is an insight into human relationships for those of all persuasions.
Open House (Canada, 1982, 25 minutes), directed by Atom Egoyan. Cinematography.
An odd young real estate agent shows a couple an older house that has seen better days.
Selected Workshops & lectures
Selected Workshops & lectures
Master Class at Tribute To A Vision, Kinoatelje Film Festival, Italy/Slovenia, 2018
Master Class at MIDBO, Bogotá, Colombia, 2018
Master Class at Doc Montevideo, Uruguay, 2018
Master Class at CPH:DOX, Copenhagen, 2018
Alma Lov Art Center, Sweden
HEAD - School for cinema studies, 3 week intensive, Geneva, Switzerland
UnionDocs, NYC, Center for Documentary Art, Workshop
Planete Doc 2013 Master Class
Dawson City and Whitehorse Master Classes
Art of Peace in a Time of War – Symposium Participant
DOC Toronto – Panel on Collaborations with NGOs
CFC – NFB Feature Documentary Film Program
HEAD – Geneva Switzerland
FOCAL – St. Anton Switzerland
HGKZ – Zurich, Switzerland
ECAV – Sierre, Switzerland
Jeu de Paume, Paris
OCAD – Toronto
Film School – Helsinki
Museum of Fine Art – Buenos Aries
Visions du Reel – Nyon, Switzerland
Ciezyn Festival - Poland
Praxis Screenwriters Workshop – Vancouver
Emily Carr College of Art – Vancouver
Cineworks - Vancouver
Banff Television Festival - Alberta
Concordia University: Arts and Film Departments - Montreal
SUNY - Buffalo
Sudbury Film Festival - Sudbury
Ryerson Polytechnical Institute - Toronto
York University - Toronto
University of Toronto, Innis College - Toronto
University of Toronto, Department of Physics - Toronto
Humber College - Toronto
LIFT (Founding Member) - Toronto
Ecole d'arts visuel de Geneve - Geneva, Switzerland
Imagine Science Film Festival, New York
Festival dei Popoli, Florence, Italy
BAFICI Film Festival, Buenos Aires, Argentina
Era New Horizons Film Festival, Wroclaw, Poland
IDFA Documentary Festival, Amsterdam
Festival du Nouveau Cinema, Montreal
Visions du Reel, Nyon, Switzerland
Hot Docs, Toronto
Locarno International Film Festival, Switzerland
World Film Festival, Montreal
Ontario Arts Council, Toronto