Jennifer Abbott and Andrew Williamson
Vancouver, BC Canada
“It was grief. I knew it well. And this time it was for the changing world around me.”
When Jennifer Abbott lost her sister to cancer, her sorrow opened her up to the profound gravity of climate breakdown. Abbott’s new documentary The Magnitude of All Things draws intimate parallels between the experiences of grief—both personal and planetary. Stories from the frontlines of climate change merge with recollections from the filmmaker’s childhood on Ontario’s Georgian Bay. What do these stories have in common? The answer, surprisingly, is everything.
For the people featured, climate change is not happening in the distant future: it is kicking down the front door. Battles waged, lamentations of loss, and raw testimony coalesce into an extraordinary tapestry, woven together with raw emotion and staggering beauty that transform darkness into light, grief into action.
Jennifer Abbott is a Sundance and Genie award-winning filmmaker who has been making films about urgent social, political and environmental issues for 25 years. She is best known as the co-director and editor of The Corporation, frequently described as the most successful documentary in Canadian history. She also co-directed, co-wrote and edited Us & Them; co-wrote and edited Sea Blind; executive produced and edited I Am; and made the short Brave New Minds, among other films. In 2020, Abbott will release two feature documentaries: The New Corporation: The Unfortunately Necessary Sequel (co-director and supervising editor) and The Magnitude of All Things (writer, director, editor, sound design and co-producer).
Andrew Williamson executive produced the award-winning doc series Emergency Room: Life & Death at VGH for The Knowledge Network/Discovery and High Moon, a pilot co-venture with Universal Cable Productions and executive producer Bryan Fuller, and Gastown Gamble for the OWN Network. He was the producer of Sk8 Life, which premiered at the Sundance International Film Festival. In 2018, Andrew co-founded Cedar Island Films with Henrik Meyer. With this new joint company, they delivered the Canadian/German co-production The Whale and the Raven with the National Film Board of Canada and ZDF/ARTE, which won the WIFTV Artistic Merit Award at VIFF, and have recently finished The Magnitude of All Things with director Jennifer Abbott (The Corporation).
Henrik Meyer Producer (Cedar Island Films) immigrated to Canada from Germany, as a seasoned film producer, having jump-started his career with Rainer Kaufmann’s 1995 hit comedy Talk of the Town—the most successful German theatrical release of that year. Margarethe von Trotta’s Rosenstrasse, which received a gala presentation at TIFF and won awards at several European festivals, including the Venice Film Festival. It became one of the most successful foreign-language films at the US box office in 2004. Paul Fox’s Everything’s Gone Green, was released in 2006. It won Leo Awards for Best Picture and Best Screenplay in British Columbia. Since then, Henrik has produced television programs and feature films in Canada, most of them with European partners, including Gold, a contender at the 2013 Berlinale, and the multi-award-winning Shana: The Wolf’s Music. Henrik now lives as a Buddhist with his husband in Vancouver’s West End. The mission of Cedar Island Films (with Andrew Williamson) is to produce meaningful documentary and scripted features and series.They are in development for a diverse slate of projects with the CBC in Canada and with Studio Hamburg, Spiegel TV, ATF and Bavaria Studios in Germany.
Shirley Vercruysse (Producer, Executive Producer) leads the team producing documentary and animation projects at the National Film Board of Canada. The studio’s new releases include the feature-length documentaries The Magnitude of All Things and Sovereign Soil, along with recent releases The Whale and the Raven,Because We Are Girls and the musical documentary The Road Forward. Short works include the documentaries Now Is the Time and Highway to Heaven, the animated films Old Dog and The Zoo, as well as the Webby Award-winning docu-series True North: Inside the Rise of Toronto Basketball.