Bulgarian filmmaker Andrey Paounov follows internationally renowned artist Christo on his quest to realize the mammoth and logistically complex installation, The Floating Piers, on Italy’s Lake Iseo, seven years after the death of Christo's collaborator wife, Jeanne-Claude.

TIFF Docs

Walking on Water

Andrey Paounov

Bulgarian director Andrey Paounov (The Mosquito Problem, The Boy Who Was a King) makes a jubilant return to the Festival with this illuminating portrait of a master artist and the arduous business of bringing an ambitious work to life.

Walking on Water follows internationally renowned environmental artist — and Paounov's fellow countryman — Christo on his quest to realize "The Floating Piers," originally conceived in 1970 by Christo and his late wife and collaborator, Jeanne-Claude. In 2016, seven years after Jeanne-Claude's death, this stunning, site-specific masterpiece — which allows visitors to walk across a great stretch of water, buoyed by polyethylene cubes draped in luminous yellow fabric — was finally cleared to be mounted on Italy's Lake Iseo, which lies at the foot of the Alps. But securing a location proved to be only the first step in a tumultuous process of creative problem solving and prickly negotiations.

Not one to suffer fools, Christo is a larger-than-life personality. Now in his eighties, he has lost none of his feistiness or self-possession. His director of operations (and nephew) Vladimir Yavachev is likewise a lion, helping Christo contend with bad weather, overcrowding, and maddening bureaucracy.

Walking on Water gives us a rare look into the business of large-scale art production — and the sort of temperament required to bestow unto the world something that feels close to a miracle.

THOM POWERS

Sat 08

Bell Lightbox 2

Regular
9:15pm
Sun 09

Scotiabank 7

Press
2:15pm
Sun 09

Scotiabank 3

Regular
9:45pm
Thu 13

Scotiabank 8

Press
2:00pm
Sun 16

Jackman Hall

Regular
6:15pm