Project Description

Cover for the film, Watermark. Features an overhead image of a river going dry.


2013 · PG · 1h 30m


Watermark brings together diverse stories from around the globe about our relationship with water: how we are drawn to it, what we learn from it, how we use it and the consequences of that use.

Showing water as a terraforming element and the scale of its reach, the film uses images, both beautiful and haunting, to create a compelling global portrait that illustrates humanity’s past, present and future relationship with the natural world. 

We see massive floating abalone farms off China’s Fujian coast and the construction site of the biggest arch dam in the world – the Xiluodu, six times the size of the Hoover.

We visit the barren desert delta where the mighty Colorado River no longer reaches the ocean, and the water-intensive leather tanneries of Dhaka.

We witness how humans are drawn to water, from the U.S. Open of Surfing in Huntington Beach to the Kumbh Mela in Allahabad, where thirty million people gather for a sacred bath in the Ganges at the same time.

We speak with scientists who drill ice cores two kilometers deep into the Greenland Ice Sheet, and roam the sublime pristine watersheds of Northern British Columbia.

Shot in stunning 5K ultra high-definition video and full of soaring aerial perspectives, this film shows water as a terraforming element and the scale of its reach, as well as the magnitude of our need and use. This is balanced by forays into the particular: a haunting memory of a stolen river, a mysterious figure roaming ancient rice terraces, the crucial data hidden in a million.

About the Filmmakers

From the team behind the award winning film Manufactured Landscapes – Filmmakers Jennifer Baichwal and Nick de Pencier, and renowned Photographer Edward Burtynsky. Find out more about the film at


“An immersive experience, with stunning visual language, that will transform the way we think about water, and our relationship to it.” – Robert F. Kennedy Jr.

“Always arresting and sometimes troubling, “Watermark” — aside from the odd comment here and there — neither lectures nor argues. Moving serenely from inscrutable tight shots to wide-scale aerial vistas, the film can be frustratingly oblique…” – Jeannette Catsoulisapril. “That Bend in the River Might be Manufactured.” New York Times. 3 Apr 2013

“They’ve found a way of serving up these images without seeming callous or exploitative or preachy.” – John Hartl, Seattle Times

“This is a beautiful movie. There is little dialog. It is very interesting to examine water, something that is such an integral part of our lives. studied water with minimal commentary, and realized how critical it is in our lives. The photography is stunning, and watching this move is very relaxing.” – Karen, Amazon

“Wonderful. Beautiful. Please watch this and then start thinking about your water use differently. We started watering all our trees and plants by hand; we turned off the sprinkler system. Our plants are doing better, our water usage is down and it’s just the beginning (I hope) for us.” – Hamilton Wallace, Amazozn

“Wonderful images. I had seen his exhibit at a local museum and was impressed. I was great to see how he made the great images. Wonderful and interesting to most.” – RB Smith, Amazon

“One of the most important films of our time – Edward Burtynsky and Jennifer Baichwal again hit the ball out of the park with another hard-hitting expose’ and glimpse into the mind of an artistic genius. This film should be required viewing for anyone concerned with water conservation.” – The Docimeister, Amazon


Cover for the film, Watermark. Features an overhead image of a river going dry.

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