Masters Series Class with Nicholas de Pencier

June 25, 2015

This intimate professional development series focuses on the craft and art of documentary media. Celebrated documentary filmmakers and other acclaimed pros (including editors, cinematographers and sound design) share their expertise and experiences. For more on the DOC Institute’s Masters Series, click here

Nicholas de Pencier’s career resists easy categorization. Best known for his cinematography work with award-winning directors such as Jennifer Baichwal, Liz Marshall, and Susan Fleming, de Pencier also regularly produces and sometimes directs the projects that he shoots. While photographing award-winning docs such as Watermark, Act of God and The True Meaning of Pictures, de Pencier brings his diverse skill set—what he calls a “holistic” approach—to the DOP-director relationship and the visual storytelling process.

In his Master Class, de Pencier will discuss how his philosophical approach to cinematography has informed technical and creative decisions over his twenty-year career. With rigs and select cameras on hand, de Pencier will reference his tools of the trade, which have ranged from the most unassuming small cameras for discrete work to the most sophisticated radio controlled and full-sized helicopter rigs. He will also share survival stories from his work in factual series and other mercenary pursuits that have rounded out his documentary practice.

In advance of the Master Class, POV magazine interviewed Nicholas de Pencier about his practice, article online here.

Date: June 25, 6:30pm – 8:30pm (Doors at 6:00pm)
Location: Technicolor, 49 Ontario Street, Toronto, ON, M5A 2V1 (Map)
Price: DOC and LIFT Members: $55 / Non-members: $75* / Students (with valid I.D.) $45

*Non-DOC members who purchase tickets can get a special $15 rate on a POV Magazine subscription!

Nick De Pencier board

Nicholas de Pencier is a director, producer, and director of photography specializing in documentary for the past 20 years. He is President of Mercury Films.

As both producer and DOP his credits include Let It Come Down: The Life of Paul Bowles and The Holier It Gets. In 2002, he produced and shot The True Meaning of Pictures, which was followed in 2003 by Hockey Nomad. He also co-directed, produced and photographed TVOntario’s series of 40 short profiles on artists who have received Ontario Arts Council grants over the past 40 years.

He further produced Manufactured Landscapes, directed and partially shot Four Wings and a Prayer, and was the producer and DOP on Act of God. Among ongoing DOP work for docs and doc series on CBC, History, Discovery, National Geographic and many others, in 2012 he shot the documentary adaptation of Payback, Margaret Atwood’s Massey Lecture on debt, which was selected for Sundance. In 2013, Watermark, his most recent collaboration with Jennifer Baichwal and Edward Burtynsky, won the Toronto Film Critics Association’s Best Canadian Film Award.

Critical Praise:

“As in Manufactured Landscapes, the long shots of natural and man-made environments have a patterned, abstract beauty that often chafes against the ugly truth on the ground.” – Review of Watermark, The Chicago Reader


2013 – Ted Rogers Best Feature Length Documentary, Watermark

2007 – Genie, Best Documentary, Manufactured Landscapes