Watermark (2013)

  • Documentary
  • 1h 30m
  • Canada

Price: $4.99 + taxes and fees

Director Jennifer Baichwal and photographer Edward Burtynsky explore how humanity has manipulated and depleted one of its most vital resources: water.

Share Her Journey Ambassador Jennifer Baichwal reunited with acclaimed environmental photographer Edward Burtynsky — subject of her 2006 documentary Manufactured Landscapes and future collaborator on 2018’s Anthropocene: The Human Epoch — for this astonishing exploration of our most vital and most compromised natural resource.

Transporting us all over the world, Watermark reveals the extent to which humanity has shaped water, and how it has shaped us. Expanding on Burtynsky’s photography, the film uses aerial perspectives to mesmerizing and curiously beautiful effect. In California, the vast All-American Canal diverts water to urban centres. In India, the Hindu pilgrimage and festival Kumbh Mela sees 30 million worshippers bathe in the sacred river at Allahabad (Prayagraj) in a single day. Tributaries of the dried-up Colorado River look like stunning woodcuts of snow-covered trees, while the Xiluodu Dam release in China is reminiscent of 19th-century paintings by J.M.W. Turner.

Avoiding didacticism, Baichwal and Burtynsky explore humankind’s reverence of water in its natural state, and also the massive impact human intervention has on its life cycles. Part reverie, part lament, Watermark is a poetic and thought-provoking reflection on this most precious substance.

Official Selection, 2013 Toronto International Film Festival

TIFF Canada’s Top Ten 2013


Edward Burtynsky

Canadian Distributor

Mongrel Media


English, Spanish, Hindi, Bengali, Mandarin



Bonus Content

1 mins
Jennifer Baichwal on Share Her Journey

Baichwal is an Ambassador for TIFF’s fundraising campaign, Share Her Journey, which is the first step in a five-year commitment to grow TIFF’s Talent Development programmes with female-forward programming to increase participation, skills, and opportunities for women behind and in front of the camera.