Jennifer Baichwal was born in Montréal and grew up in Victoria, British Columbia. Her first feature documentary, Let it Come Down: The Life of Paul Bowles, premiered at the Toronto International Film Festival in 1998 and won a 1999 International Emmy for Best Arts Documentary.
The Holier It Gets documents a trek Baichwal took with her brother and two sisters to the source of the Ganges river with her father’s ashes. The film won Best Independent Canadian Film and Best Cultural Documentary at Hot Docs 2000. The True Meaning of Pictures is a feature length film on the work of Appalachian photographer Shelby Lee Adams. The film premiered at the Toronto International Film Festival in 2002 and played at the Sundance Film Festival in 2003.
Baichwal, along with Nick de Pencier, was commissioned in 2003-4 to make 40 short films on artists who have been supported over the past four decades by the Ontario Arts Council. These include writer Michael Ondaatje, artist Michael Snow, pianist Eve Egoyan and playwright Judith Thompson. Manufactured Landscapes, her latest film, is a co-production between Mercury Films, Foundry Films and the National Film Board of Canada. It premiered at the Toronto International Film Festival in September 2006 and will have its US premiere at the 2007 Sundance Film Festival.
Baichwal’s next project, another collaboration with Nick de Pencier and Daniel Iron, is Act of God, a feature documentary on the metaphysical effects of being struck by lightning. It was commissioned by The Documentary Channel and began production in fall 2006.