Landmark Feature Documentary Crystal Pite: Angels’ Atlas to Premiere This Fall

Commissioned by The National Ballet of Canada and Produced by Visitor Media
World Premiere at Vancouver International Film Festival
Toronto Premiere at Fall For Dance North
Broadcast Premiere on documentary Channel this Fall

September 7, 2022… Hope Muir, Joan and Jerry Lozinski Artistic Director and Barry Hughson, Executive Director, are pleased to announce that The National Ballet of Canada and Visitor Media, in association with documentary Channel, will present a feature-length documentary film showcasing Angels’ AtlasCrystal Pite’s breathtaking ballet that was created for the company in 2020. Crystal Pite: Angels’ Atlas will have its world premiere at the Vancouver International Film Festival on October 2, 2022 and will make its Toronto premiere at Fall For Dance North on October 3, 2022 at 7:30 pm at Meridian Hall. The film will air on documentary Channel later this fall. 

Directed by one of Canada's leading documentary filmmakers, Chelsea McMullan, and produced by Sean O’Neill, the film follows Pite and the artists of the National Ballet as they return to the stage to remount the critically acclaimed Angels’ Atlas after a nearly two-year shutdown due to the pandemic. Crystal Pite: Angels’ Atlas grants audiences unprecedented access into Pite’s creative process, through intimate rehearsal footage and candid interviews, as the film builds towards an emotional opening night marking the National Ballet’s first performance onstage at the Four Seasons Centre for the Performing Arts after lockdown.

“Chelsea, Sean and the team at Visitor Media have brilliantly captured the honesty and humanity in Crystal’s choreography and revealed the collaboration, commitment and effort of the National Ballet artists in bringing her singular vision to life,” said Muir. “This marks the first time The National Ballet of Canada has commissioned a feature film and I could not be more thrilled that this rare and impactful work has been captured on film, preserving the contribution of the artists who created the roles and giving us the opportunity to share it with audiences around the world.”

“Working in collaboration with Crystal Pite to document her creative process and capture the singular brilliance of Angels’ Atlas for the screen was an unforgettable experience,” said McMullan. “I’m grateful to The National Ballet of Canada for taking the leap into a new form with us and to the incredible artists of the company for allowing us inside their experiences of coming back to the stage after so long and for sharing their immense talent as we worked to capture the artistry of the piece at the highest level.”

The centrepiece of the film is an uninterrupted cinematic capture of the 30-minute ballet, which was shot over three days on stage at the Four Seasons Centre in Toronto. The work unfolds against a wall of moving light that creates an illusion of depth and evokes the natural world, connecting with the ballet’s themes of impermanence and – equally – the human body’s vitality within a vast, unknowable world. The film’s director of photography is the award-winning cinematographer Maya Bankovic and its editor is Lindsay Allikas.

A former dancer with Ballet British Columbia and Ballett Frankfurt under William Forsythe, Pite is one of the most in demand choreographers today. She is Associate Choreographer of Nederlands Dans Theater, Associate Dance Artist of Canada’s National Arts Centre and Associate Artist at Sadler’s Wells, London. Her company, Kidd Pivot, performs her original creations around the world. 

Angels’ Atlas was created by Pite for The National Ballet of Canada in 2020 and received rapturous reviews when it premiered. The work will make its US premiere at City Center in New York City in March 2023. Angels’ Atlas features original music by Owen Belton, choral pieces by Pyotr Ilyich Tchaikovsky and Morten Lauridsen, reflective light backdrop concept by Jay Gower Taylor, reflective light backdrop design by Taylor and Tom Visser, lighting design by Visser and costumes by Nancy Bryant.

Watch Trailer >

More on Vancouver International Film Festival > 
Tickets available now.

More on Fall For Dance North > 
Tickets are $15 and available on Tuesday, September 13 at 10:00 am. Following the film, there will be a moderated artist question and answer session. More information will be available at a later date.

– 30 –

Crystal Pite: Angels’ Atlas is produced by Impermanent Pictures, in association with The Canadian Broadcasting Association, and with the assistance of The Canadian Film or Video Production Tax Credit and the Ontario Film and Television Tax Credit.

Crystal Pite: Angels’ Atlas is presented by The National Ballet of Canada with the generous support of Sandra Pitblado, C.M. & Jim Pitblado, C.M, Laura Dinner & Richard Rooney and The Canada Council for the Arts, with additional support from The Azrieli Foundation.

Executive Producers: Barry Hughson, Karen Kain C.C. and Hope Muir

Angels’ Atlas was originally produced and commissioned by The National Ballet of Canada.

A co-production of The National Ballet of Canada and Ballett Zürich.

Philanthropic support for Angels’ Atlas is generously provided by An Anonymous Donor, Rosamond Ivey, Ira Gluskin & Maxine Granovsky Gluskin, The Producers’ Circle, The Volunteer Committee of The National Ballet of Canada and The Gail Hutchison Fund.

The Producers’ Circle: Gail & Mark Appel, John & Claudine Bailey, Inger Bartlett & Marshal Stearns, Laura Dinner & Richard Rooney, Gail Drummond & Bob Dorrance, The Thor E. and Nicole Eaton Family Charitable Foundation, Sandra Faire & Ivan Fecan, Kevin Garland & Roger Garland, C.M., Ira Gluskin & Maxine Granovsky Gluskin, The William & Nona Heaslip Foundation, Anna McCowan Johnson & Donald K. Johnson, O.C., Judy Korthals & Peter Irwin, Mona & Harvey Levenstein, Jerry & Joan Lozinski, The Honourable Margaret Norrie McCain, C.C., Julie Medland, Sandra Pitblado & Jim Pitblado, C.M., The Harry & Lillian Seymour Family Foundation, Gerald Sheff & Shanitha Kachan and The Jack Weinbaum Family Foundation.

The National Ballet of Canada gratefully acknowledges the ongoing support of the Canada Council for the Arts; the Ontario Arts Council; the City of Toronto through the Toronto Arts Council; the Government of Canada – Department of Canadian Heritage, through The Honourable Pablo Rodriguez, Minister of Canadian Heritage and Multiculturalism; and the Government of Ontario through The Honourable Neil Lumsden, Minister of Tourism, Culture and Sport.

About Visitor Media

Visitor Media is a production company dedicated to developing and producing artist-driven projects across film, television and digital media. Founded by Sean O’Neill, co-creator and host of the award-winning CBC arts documentary series In the Making, Visitor Media is currently in production on projects created by and in collaboration with Lido Pimienta (LIDO TV, TIFF 2022/CBC Gem), Crystal Pite (Crystal Pite: Angels Atlas, VIFF 2022), Chelsea McMullan (Swan Song, CBC/Dogwoof) and Beverly Glenn-Copeland.

Artists of the Ballet. Photo by Karolina Kuras. 

For more information, please contact:

Catherine Chang
Associate Director, Communications and Content Strategy
416 345 9686 x302
Anastasia Kolotova
Officer, Communications and Media Relations
416 345 9686 x359

Contact Information