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Minor Miracles, Truth & Journalism

Ep. 548

Jennifer Baichwal, Nicholas de Pencier and Face2Face host David Peck talk about minor miracles, conduits for truth, journalism, craft and art, humility and openness, Immanuel Kant and the ethics of engagement.

Human Rights Watch Festival - February 18th to 22 - 2021

Get your tickets here: The annual Toronto Human Rights Watch Film Festival brings human stories to life in a manner that empowers the audience to demand justice for all.

By using film as a medium, Toronto Human Rights Watch Film Festival aims to bring awareness to human rights issues in a way that is easily understandable and provides the viewer with the knowledge to advocate for change. Join us and the vibrant movement to uphold human dignity and advance the cause of human rights for all.

For more info about Human Rights Watch head here.

About Jennifer & Nick:

Jennifer Baichwal Jennifer Baichwal was born in Montréal and grew up in Victoria, British Columbia. She studied philosophy and theology at McGill University, receiving an M.A. in 1994, supported by a McGill Major Fellowship and an FCAR Master’s Scholarship.

Baichwal has been directing and producing documentaries for 25 years. Among other films, installations and lens-based projects, she has made 10 feature documentaries which have played all over the world and won multiple awards nationally and internationally.

Baichwal, along with her partner Nicholas de Pencier, was commissioned in 2003-4 to make forty short films on artists who have been supported over the past four decades by the Ontario Arts Council. These include writer Michael Ondaatje, artist Michael Snow, pianist Eve Egoyan and playwright Judith Thompson, and are in periodic rotation on TVOntario. The collection received a 2006 Gemini nomination for Best Direction in a Performing Arts Program or Series.

Baichwal’s most recent collaboration with de Pencier and Edward Burtynsky is The Anthropocene Project. It includes a major touring exhibition which debuted simultaneously at the Art Gallery of Ontario and National Gallery of Canada and is currently travelling around the world. The feature documentary film Anthropocene: The Human Epoch premiered at TIFF 2018, played Sundance and the Berlinale, and was released theatrically in Canada by Mongrel Media and in the U.S. by Kino Lorber in September 2019, and is now in international release. The film won the Toronto Film Critics Association prize for Best Canadian Film, and a Canadian Screen Award for Best Documentary Feature. The Anthropocene Project also includes an art book published by Steidl, and an educational program in partnership with the Royal Canadian Geographical Society. For more information visit theanthropocene.org.

She is currently in development on several projects, and in production for a feature documentary on global insect collapse.

Nicholas:

Nicholas de Pencier is a Director, Producer, and Director of Photography working in documentary and video installation. He is President of Mercury Films Inc., the Toronto-based production company he shares with his partner, Jennifer Baichwal.

Aside from his work in factual series, de Pencier’s director credits include the feature documentary Four Wings and a Prayer, about the migration of the Monarch butterfly which won the Grand Prix Pariscience, the Banff Rockie Award for best Wildlife and Natural History Program, the Jules Verne Nature Award, and was nominated for Geminis for best Science Documentary, Best Cinematography and Best Direction in addition to an Emmy nomination for the PBS NOVA version (called The Incredible Journey of the Butterfly). In 2004 de Pencier was nominated for a Gemini for Best Direction for his performance film Streetcar, while the film’s lead, Peter Chin, won for Best Performance. His 2016 feature documentary Black Code about internet censorship and surveillance around the world which he directed, produced and shot, premiered at TIFF and was released theatrically in Canada in 2017.

As a cinematographer, de Pencier has shot many factual TV series and documentaries for the CBC, PBS, Discovery, National Geographic and History. A detailed Director of Photography CV can be found at www.mercuryfilms.ca. In 2010 he shot the documentary adaptation of Payback, Margaret Atwood's Massey Lecture on debt, which was selected for Sundance, 2012 and released theatrically in Canada and the U.S. De Pencier was admitted as a full member to the Canadian Society of Cinematographers in 2012.

With Baichwal, he is the co-director and DOP of Long Time Running, a feature documentary on the Tragically Hip’s iconic Man Machine Poem tour from the summer of 2016, which premiered as a gala presentation at TIFF 2017, was subsequently released by Elevation Pictures, and broadcast by Bell and Netflix.

ANTHROPOCENE: The Human Epoch, is another collaboration with Jennifer Baichwal and Edward Burtynsky where de Pencier was Co-Director, Director of Photography and Producer. It includes a feature documentary, book, and museum exhibition, and was a Special Presentation at TIFF, and was released in the fall of 2018 with simultaneous Museum Exhibitions at the Art Gallery of Ontario and the National Gallery of Canada before heading to Sundance, Berlin and major festivals around the world. The film won the Toronto Film Critics Association for Best Canadian Film, and Ted Rogers Award for Best Documentary as well as the Best Cinematography Award at the Canadian Screen Awards, in addition to the Canadian Society of Cinematographers Robert Brooks Award for Documentary Cinematography.

He is a past president of the board of directors of Charles Street Video, a former member of Rogers Industry Advisory Group at TIFF, and currently sits on the boards of The Toronto Chapter of the Documentary Organization of Canada and the Hot Docs Festival.

Image Copyright and Credit: Mercury Films.

F2F Music and Image Copyright: David Peck and Face2Face. Used with permission.

For more information about David Peck’s podcasting, writing and public speaking please visit his site here.

With thanks to Josh Snethlage and Mixed Media Sound.

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