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Includes live inkmaking event in Toronto on March 25. Brian D. Johnson’s feature documentary The Colour of Ink playing in cities across Canada starting March 23.


March 6, 2023 – Toronto – National Film Board of Canada (NFB)

Toronto filmmaker Brian D. Johnson’s vibrant feature-length documentary The Colour of Ink, co-produced by Sphinx Productions and the National Film Board of Canada (NFB), is coming to Canadian cinemas beginning March 23.

The Colour of Ink uncovers the mystery and power of our oldest medium through the eyes of Jason Logan, a visionary Toronto inkmaker who harvests colours from the natural world to make ink from just about anything. Jason, along with a network of artists and artisans around the world, paints a story of colour that reconnects audiences to the earth and returns them to a childlike sense of wonder.

The Colour of Ink will kick off a national theatrical tour at the Hot Docs Ted Rogers Cinema in Toronto, followed by dates in Ottawa, Barrie, Montreal, Quebec City, Edmonton and Vancouver.

An Official Selection at the Toronto International Film Festival, the film received the Jury Award for Best Documentary at the Calgary Underground Film Festival, and director of photography Nicholas de Pencier was nominated for Best Cinematography in a Feature Length Documentary at the Canadian Screen Awards.

Special live event

To celebrate this national launch, a live foraged ink event will be held in Toronto on March 25 from 1 to 4 p.m. at the Centre for Social Innovation, 720 Bathurst Street. Participants can meet Jason, experiment with natural colours and turn raw materials from nature into useable ink. This event is free to anyone who has purchased a ticket to see The Colour of Ink at the Hot Docs Ted Rogers Cinema. Each ticket holder can bring a +1. More information can be found here. Capacity is limited and ticket holders must register in advance. Each time block is 45 minutes long.

National schedule

About the film

The Colour of Ink by Brian D. Johnson (105 min)
Produced by Brian D. Johnson, Sherien Barsoum (NFB) and Lea Marin (NFB). The associate producer for the NFB is Kate Vollum. Executive producers are Anita Lee (NFB) and Ron Mann (Sphinx Productions)
Press kit: mediaspace.nfb.ca/epk/the-colour-of-ink

Ink is our primal medium. It has always been with us, inscribing the evolution of humanity. The Colour of Ink uncovers the medium’s mystery and power through the eyes of Jason Logan, a Toronto inkmaker. Working with ingredients foraged in the wild—weeds, berries, bark, flowers, rocks, rust—he makes ink from just about anything. Jason sends custom-made inks to a diverse range of artists around the world, including Margaret Atwood, Japanese calligrapher Yuri Shimojo, The New Yorker cartoonist Liana Finck and Haida carver Corey Bulpitt. As the inks take on a life of their own, his playful alchemy paints a story of colour that reconnects us to the earth and returns us to a childlike sense of wonder.

About Jason Logan

Jason Logan is an internationally recognized designer, creative director, author and artist. His illustrations appear regularly in the New York Times, and his fine art has been exhibited in New York City, Los Angeles, Toronto and the Yukon. His work has been recognized by the American Institute of Graphic Arts, the Society of Publication Designers, the Centre for Social Innovation and the Canada Council for the Arts. His most recent book, Make Ink: A Forager’s Guide to Natural Inkmaking, was included in The Guardian’s list of best books of 2018. His next book, How to Be a Color Wizard, will be published by MIT’s new children’s division.

About the filmmaker

Brian D. Johnson is a Canadian writer, filmmaker and cultural commentator. He is best known from his three decades as the longtime film critic and senior arts writer at Maclean’s magazine, where he remains a Contributing Editor. He is also past president of the Toronto Film Critics Association (2006–2017), and created the annual TFCA Awards Gala, with its $100,000 Rogers Best Canadian Film Award. He has worked professionally over the years as a journalist, author, musician—and, most recently, a filmmaker. In 2015 he produced and directed Al Purdy Was Here, a documentary feature about the legendary Canadian poet, which premiered at the Toronto International Film Festival, where it was runner-up for the TIFF Grolsch People’s Choice Documentary Award.

Reviews for The Colour of Ink

“One of the most effortlessly beautiful documentaries I’ve ever watched.”
– Sarah Milner, /Film

“Canadian documentary The Colour of Ink might just reveal the secret to happiness on Earth.” – Johanna Schneller, The Globe and Mail

The Colour of Ink is a captivating and eye-opening work that will have you looking at ink in a colourful new light.” – Courtney Small, That Shelf

The Colour of Ink is a finely crafted film that places the viewers directly into a vivid world of creation and awe. Each scene will stimulate your senses, bringing you up-close to the magic as it unfolds… this film was designed to be watched in theatres. The score, the beautiful imagery, the lovely narration. It is the perfect theatre experience.” – Adnan Mohamedbhai, The Arts Guild

The Colour of Ink is a portrait of a global community of artisans, artists, and researchers who share the desire to leave their marks on the world…” – Liam Lacey, POV Magazine

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French version here | Version française ici.

Media Relations

  • About the NFB

    Founded in 1939, the National Film Board of Canada (NFB) is a one-of-a-kind producer, co-producer and distributor of distinctive, engaging, relevant and innovative documentary and animated films. As a talent incubator, it is one of the world’s leading creative centres. The NFB has enabled Canadians to tell and hear each other’s stories for over eight decades, and its films are a reliable and accessible educational resource. The NFB is also recognized around the world for its expertise in preservation and conservation, and for its rich and vibrant collection of works, which form a pillar of Canada’s cultural heritage. To date, the NFB has produced more than 14,000 works, 6,500 of which can be streamed free of charge at nfb.ca. The NFB and its productions and co-productions have earned over 7,000 awards, including 11 Oscars and an Honorary Academy Award for overall excellence in cinema.