The Masters Series: Bill Mason

There is no better way to celebrate the imminent arrival of spring than by binge-watching a bunch of Bill Mason films. I cannot think of a single filmmaker who has more respect for nature and all the glory that surrounds us than this man did.

Mason’s ability to see beauty, and capture it, is a remarkable gift; one we’re lucky to be the recipients of. So, crack open the window, inhale the fresh air, and enjoy these 5 classic Bill Mason films.

Cry of the Wild

In this feature-length doc, Bill Mason brings wolves to the big screen in an effort to dispel some of the nasty myths that surround them. Shot both in the wild and in a special enclosure near his home, we get up close and personal with these beautiful beasts. The film was considered a big commercial success in North America, as it was released theatrically and brought in over 5 million dollars. And it doesn’t even feature a canoe.

Cry of the Wild, Bill Mason, provided by the National Film Board of Canada

Paddle to the Sea

This film, based on the children’s classic book of the same name, is another one of our most popular films. There’s something about this beloved story that touches people in a way they don’t forget for a long, long time. It’s the story of a young boy who carves a man and a canoe out of wood, and then sets it out on a frozen stream to begin its long journey to the sea.

Paddle to the Sea , Bill Mason, provided by the National Film Board of Canada

The Rise and Fall of the Great Lakes

I remember how surprised I was the first time I saw this. It was not at all what I was expecting. I thought I was in for a nature-loving paddle through the water; what I got was essentially a 16-minute long music video about the ever-changing state of the Great Lakes. What’s amazing about this film is that even though it’s goofy and playful, you still get that sucker punch to the gut at the end each and every time.

The Rise and Fall of the Great Lakes, Bill Mason, provided by the National Film Board of Canada


This film is one of our most popular films, and probably our most popular Bill Mason film. It’s like a love letter to Mother Nature, both visually and through the narration. Add to that Bruce Cockburn’s incredible score and you’ve got a sure thing. Bill Mason hikes, canoes, paints, and muses about god, life, and the world around us. It’s a sheer pleasure to watch.

Waterwalker, Bill Mason, provided by the National Film Board of Canada

Pukaskwa National Park

Sometimes, life gets a little crazy and we kind of lose touch with who we are and what really matters. This being the case, we may not have the luxury of time to settle in for a feature-length film to bring us back to that place of being centered, in the moment, and grateful. Think of this film as Bill Mason lite – all the goodness of beautiful scenery and a back-to-the-basics way of life, all packed into 17 minutes! You’re welcome.

Pukaskwa National Park, Bill Mason, provided by the National Film Board of Canada