September 20, 2007

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LEWISBURG, Pa. -- A factory that produces 20 million irons a year. A dam that razed 13 cities and displaced more than a million people. A city where skyscrapers stretch back as far as the eye can see. These are the subjects of renowned photographer Edward Burtynsky's camera.

Director Jennifer Baichwal's stunning award-winning documentary film, "Manufactured Landscapes," travels with Burtynsky through China, witnessing that country's massive industrial revolution and visiting sites never seen in the West.

"Manufactured Landscapes" opens the 2007 Documentary Film Festival Thursday, Sept. 27, at 7 p.m. in the Campus Theatre in Lewisburg.

"Bucknell University and the Campus Theatre are pleased to partner in bringing this important film to Lewisburg while the exhibition is at Bucknell -- making Lewisburg the first location to screen the film and present one of Burtynsky's major exhibitions at the same time," said Dan Mills, director of the Samek Art Gallery.

Internationally acclaimed for his large-scale photographs of "manufactured landscapes" -- quarries, recycling yards, factories, mines and dams -- Burtynsky creates stunningly beautiful art from civilization's materials and debris. His exhibition, "The China Series," is on view at Bucknell University's Samek Art Gallery through Oct. 7.

Beautiful, disturbing film
" 'Manufactured Landscapes' opens with one of the most engrossing, unnerving tracking shots in recent cinematic history, a seven-minute vista that perfectly encapsulates the points this unsettlingly beautiful and intentionally disturbing film wants to make," said Los Angeles Times critic Kenneth Turan.

"The shot takes us through, at a slow and stately pace that goes on long enough to become disorienting, a Chinese factory that is apparently the world's largest manufacturer of irons. On and on and on the camera moves through this space of unimaginable size and depth, and just when you think it can't go on any longer, it does," Turan said.

Baichwal's film follows Burtynsky through China, as he shoots the evidence and effects of that country's massive industrial revolution. With breathtaking sequences, the filmmaker also extends the narratives of Burtynsky's photographs -- many of those in the Samek exhibition.

He also takes us on a side excursion to a ship-breaking beach in Bangladesh that is so otherworldly that Pegasus critic John P. Meyer said the scenes and photographs "call to mind nothing more than a Lucas-created landscape on one of the more outer planets of the 'Star Wars' universe; it's practically inconceivable that such a place exists on planet Earth."

"Manufactured Landscapes" won a Genie for Best Canadian Documentary Film 2007 and Officially Selected for Sundance Film Festival 2007.

Nature, industry
Burtynsky said of his art, "Nature transformed through industry is a predominant theme in my work. I set course to intersect with a contemporary view of the great ages of man; from stone, to minerals, oil, transportation, silicon, and so on. To make these ideas visible I search for subjects that are rich in detail and scale yet open in their meaning. Recycling yards, mine tailings, quarries and refineries are all places that are outside of our normal experience, yet we partake of their output on a daily basis."

Burtynsky's recent exhibitions include "Manufactured Landscapes" at the National Gallery of Canada and Brooklyn Museum of Art; "Before the Flood," in galleries in New York, San Francisco, Toronto, and Montreal; and "The China Series," which has been traveling in North America.

For more information about "The China Series" at the Samek, visit the Samek Art Gallery Web site:

For more information about the Documentary Film Festival, visit the Campus Theatre Web site at

For more information about the "Manufactured Landscapes" film, see

Edward Burtynsky: "Shipbreaking #4," Chittagong, Bangladesh, 2000


Contact: Office of Communications

Posted Sept. 20, 2007