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Bending the Light: A New Documentary About Lens Makers and Photos Takers


Bending the Light is a new documentary film by renowned filmmaker Michael Apted about the journey of glass from the artisans who have dedicated their lives to crafting the perfect lens to the photographers who spend their careers chasing after the perfect shot.

Above is a 3-minute trailer that will give you a taste of what the movie is about.


The movie offers a look at both the equipment and the artistic side of photography. There’s “never-before-seen footage from inside a premier Japanese lens factory [Canon’s factory in Utsunomiya, Japan], intimate interviews with lens engineers, and a peek into the world of award-winning photographers and cinematographers…”

If you’re wondering why Canon lenses are featured so prominently in the trailer, it’s because Canon played a role in the birth of this documentary. In an interview with Entertainment Weekly, Apted says:

Canon wanted to open up their factory to a film camera and to come up with an idea of how they could present their product, not in an industrial or commercial way, but in a cultural way. So what about the idea of finding people who use Canon lenses and people who make them and somehow telling the story that intertwines both? That was kind of the brief and we really took it from there […]

It’s a very competitive world. Even when I was filming, the security was enormous because it’s so competitive between the companies who make these lenses. They don’t want the outside world to know what goes on there […] I would point the camera at something and they would have a fit, saying “no, you can’t show that.” I gave up asking why. I got the idea that it might not look like anything much to me, but it’s very important to them and if anybody from some rival company sees the film and blows it up that they might see something that Canon doesn’t want them to learn.


If you’re interested in watching Bending the Light, you can rent it for 2 days on Vimeo for $5 or buy it for unlimited streaming and downloads for $13.

Bending the Light [Vimeo via Feature Shoot]