TIFF 2022: Director Brian D. Johnson dives into the making of ‘The Colour of Ink’

2022 Toronto International Film Festival

'The Colour of Ink' Director Brian D. Johnson | Photo: Steve Murakami / The Arts Guild

The Colour of Ink is hands down one of my favourite films at the 47th Toronto International Film Festival, where it celebrated its world premiere.

It follows inkmaker and illustrator Jason Logan as he takes us on a journey of ink, its rich history, its impact on our civilization and the role mother nature plays in creating natural, sustainable inks that are better for all of us. It is poetry in motion, and a love letter to the world’s oldest tool used for expression.

Bringing this cinematic adventure to us is director Brian D. Johnson. He sits down with us for a very detailed and lengthy conversation about the origins and development of his latest documentary film, especially discussing specific elements such as working with Jason Logan, the importance of core cinematic tools such as music, and how audiences will interpret the material being presented.

Johnson is best known as an entertainment journalist and film critic for Maclean’s magazine, spending nearly three decades with the publication. He is the founding member of the Toronto Film Critics Association, and served as its president from 2006 to 2017.

His first foray into filmmaking was with Tell Me Everything, a seven minute short film about hands in motion. He discusses this 2006 film in our interview, and how it connects with the making of The Colour of Ink. His feature film directorial debut was 2015’s Al Purdy Was Here, capturing the history of one of Canada’s leading poets. The film made its premiere at the 2015 Toronto International Film Festival. Al Purdy Was Here also has an interesting connection to the origin story of The Colour of Ink which Johnson goes into much detail in this interview. It is fascinating to see how various moments in Johnson’s life come full-circle and interconnect with the creative projects he is working on.

While this is one of the longest interviews we have published, we are very appreciative about the amount of insight and detail Johnson provided us to truly understand the making of this beautiful film. I am a colour nerd and for me this film was an absolute treat. Learning about the thought-process behind the films development provided much-appreciated supporting context to our film experience.

Hope you enjoy watching this interview as much as we enjoyed making it. Be sure to be on the look out for when The Colour of Ink is at a theatre near you.

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Cover Photo: Steve Murakami / The Arts Guild