Reviews & News

  • Roger Ebert, CHICAGO SUN-TIMES

“[3.5 stars] Bone-chilling, entertaining (!) and coherent.  It tells the truth.”


  • Kenneth Turan, LA TIMES

“MIND-EXPANDING…SUBVERSIVE…BRISTLING WITH PROVOCATIVE INSIGHTS. Both brainy and light on its feet, and with wide variety of involving visuals, this mind-expanding ecological documentary bristles with provocative insights and probing questions about humanity and the state of the world. Much more dystopian in its quiet way than ‘The Hunger Games.'”,0,6369735.story


  • Michael O’Sullivan, WASHINGTON POST

“CRITIC’S PICK!  POWERFUL. One percenters won’t like what ‘Surviving Progress’ has to say.  It’s jam packed with questions…confronting those questions can feel like an all-out assault on our entrenched world views, but it also feels critical to our very existence.”,1224566/critic-review.html 


  • Joe Walsh, CINE-VUE.COM – U.K.

“[four stars] Fascinating and ambitious…one of the finest documentaries to date. A careful and balanced exploration of a complex paradox: namely, that if increasing wealth and better technologies are deemed progressive, what has actually brought us to the near-collapse of the global economy?”



“[4 stars] A wake-up call of epic significance … one of those documentaries everybody should see.”



“Clear, intelligent, visually striking…paints a portrait of a civilization with an end-game eerily similar to that of the Roman empire.”



“Do the earth a favor: see this movie, and drag a skeptic you know along.”


  • Michael Tully, HAMMER TO NAIL

“UNFLINCHING AND THOROUGH. Gorgeous cinematography transports us to far-flung places, and our being there enables us to see and feel the layers upon layers of conflicting interests that make this subject so incredibly complex. The filmmakers end on a relatively hopeful note, assuring us that as long as we confront these issues head on with thoughtfulness, care, determination, and love, we will find a solution. We’ve done it before.”


  • Michele Wilson-Morris, MUSIC DISH

“STUNNINGLY BRILLIANT. Thought-provoking arguments keep the viewer highly engaged during this compelling film that bids us to all to ask more from ourselves and less from others, and to care more about the steadily dwindling resources of the earth, issues of poverty, and equalities of economy in a world that depletes the natural capital of poor countries to pay debts that its citizens can’t.”


  • Ernest Hardy, SEATTLE WEEKLY

“RIVETING. As the filmmakers trace the evolution of the concept of debt, the ways in which technology both created and destroyed empires (Greek, Roman, Mayan) throughout history, and how the 1 percent have hoarded and controlled resources since we left the caves, the film trots out a who’s-who of great thinkers—Jane Goodall, Stephen Hawking, Margaret Atwood, assorted scientists and historians—who are riveting as they walk us through the question of whether we will or can survive progress.”



“Surviving Progress’ makes connections between economics, the environment, history, and science to argue that the rules the world currently lives by are unsustainable.”


  • Kam Williams, Nationally Syndicated Film Critic

“A thought-provoking clarion call to stop using our brains in ways which are detrimental to our very survival.”


  • Andrew Beckerman , FILM-FORWARD

“Mathieu Roy and Harold Crooks’ film beautifully pieces together bits of history into an overarching discussion about the meaning and value of human progress, much in the same vein as Adam Curtis’s lyrical documentaries  …  a visually and intellectually engaging film.”



“A who’s who of great thinkers… are riveting as they walk us through the question of whether we will or can survive progress”



“Surviving Progress  … an intelligent analysis of humanity at a crucial crossroads, in search of an exit from self-created dystopia.”


  • Brian D. Johnson, MACLEANS MAGAZINE

    “Turning ideas into seductive, irresistible cinema isn’t easy, especially if they’re the kind of ideas that are good for you.   ….The latest example is Surviving Progress, a Canadian documentary about the increasing weight of the human footprint of the planet. It’s a high-level lesson that is enlightening, engrossing and beautiful to look at.  …  If The Inconvenient Truth and Inside Job had a brainy love child, it might look like Surviving Progress.  Surviving Progress marks progress for the docu-essay. It presents some nifty paradigms—like the notion that our brain’s software is still running on primate hardware that hasn’t been upgraded in 50,000 years. And, with intelligent calm, it challenges our passive assumption that the planet is too big to fail.”                          


  • Greg Quill, TORONTO STAR

“If you’re still scratching your head and asking yourself what the Occupy Movement is all about, get yourself a ticket to the next screening of Montreal filmmakers Mathieu Roy and Harold Crooks’ crucial, captivating and profoundly disturbing documentary feature, Surviving Progress. … In the tradition of the best “issue docs” of recent times — The Corporation, Manufacturing Consent, Inside Job — this economically crafted, exquisitely argued essay makes its disquieting case without hysteria or prejudice, without irony or jingoism, and with just a soupçon of self-loathing.”


  • Kevin Laforest, HOUR, Montreal

“Koyaanisqatsi meets The Corporation in this thought-provoking, brilliantly crafted film about nothing less than the history of the modern world and the fate of civilization – all that in 85 minutes! …. Surviving Progress is as ambitious as it gets and pulls it off. It raises more questions than it answers, of course, but that’s the name of the game when you’re tackling such lofty subjects.”


  • Ken Eisner, GEORGIA STRAIGHT, Vancouver

“The Canadian-made documentary of the year takes you beyond current surface environmental and financial disasters into the major mindset adjustments we must undertake if we’re not going to simply build bigger Band-Aids every year until the lights go out.”

“a stylishly provocative exploration of the crises humans have created through our own actions, mostly in the name of “improving” life.”


  • Agata Smoluch Del Sorbo, Programmer,TORONTO INTERNATIONAL FILM FESTIVAL

“Intelligent, compelling and featuring some of the world’s great contemporary thinkers, Surviving Progress is nothing short of a massive taking stock. … Like some of the key socio-political documentaries of the last ten years – The Corporation,  Manufactured Landscapes, An Inconvenient Truth, Force of Nature and Inside Job Surviving Progress raises critical questions about the pivotal mistakes society has made. It does so from a remarkable big-picture perspective, seamlessly tackling multiple and disparate issues.”



“[a] brainy, visually arresting but oh so disturbing look at our unfortunate tendency to endanger the future of our planet in the name of progress.”


  • Adam Nayman, THE GRID – TORONTO

Surviving Progress distinguishes itself from the herd through its visionary imagery. The film’s opening, involving apes working with tools, pays homage to 2001: A Space Odyssey—a sign that the filmmakers are thinking big.”


  • Andrew Parker, NOW MAGAZINE – TORONTO

“An admirable film that’s bound to spark necessary and passionate discussions.”



“Sans donner de lecons de morale, mais poignant un tableau nourri des perspectives, le film, fascinant et visuellement tres ambitieux, tire une sonnetted’alarme que nous n’avons pas le choix d’entendre. Avant qu’il ne soit trop tard.”

“Offering a multi-facted view that avoids moralizing, this fascinating and visually ambitious film sounds an alarm that we have no choice but to listen to. Before it’s too late.”



“ ……the film is laced with powerfully thoughtful talking heads assessing the mother of all progress traps—our incipient perfect storm of eco-doom and societal collapse.”


  • Vancouver International Film Festival catalogue

“this documentary provides a subversive diagnosis of mankind’s unique abilities and the danger they’ve brought to the world … a provocative film, one which gets to the fundamental nature and effects of the human condition with disturbing precision.”


  • Alison Rose, FILMMAKER [Love At The Twilight Motel]

“I loved Surviving Progress… everything from global warming to the financial meltdown fit into the same human behavioural model.”



“Surviving Progress is essential viewing. It’s among the best eco-docs since 2006’s Oscar-winning An Inconvenient Truth. The interviews and archival footage are spliced with cinematically splendid close-ups revealing the wonder and splendor of a natural world that we must save — along with ourselves.”


  • Alice Buckley, YALE DAILY NEWS

“entirely engaging and stunning cinematic experience” (page B9)


  • NPR




This visually impressive Canadian documentary, rich in expert ideas, is a terrific resource for those who think and really care to know.


  • Kalvin Henely, SLANT MAGAZINE

“By turning the idea of progress on its head, the nimble Surviving Progress exquisitely presents to us the possibility that humankind’s achievements may cause its downfall.”



(77% critics based on 13 reviews, 86% audience – based on 513 reviews)

  1. “A thought-provoking documentary on the major crises of our times brought on by an uncritical acceptance of the idea of progress.” Frederic and Mary Ann Brussat, Spirituality and Practice
  2. “Martin Scorsese’s executive producing credit provides a connotation of the superb production values employed in this essential documentary about the catastrophic effects of the industrial revolution on our planet.” Cole Smithey,
  3. “we need to have our memories refreshed often by docs like this.”  Harvey S. Karten, Compuserve
  4. “In an ironically overpopulated documentary genre, it’s a fresh approach.” Jim Slotek , Jam! Movies
  5. often fascinating and beautiful to look at” Stephen Cole, Globe and Mail
  6. “Crucial, captivating and profoundly disturbing…” Greg QuillToronto Star






  • MUBI


  • Vancouver Film Critics Circle’s nominees for 2011’s best films


  • Claude Chamberland, Co-founder and director, FESTIVAL DU NOUVEAU CINÉMA – MONTREAL

“Un film important, essentiel”



“Truly honored to be in the company of Jane Goodall, Margaret Atwood, and Stephen Hawking. Any one who cares about the future of civilization should see Surviving Progress, when it comes to a theatre near you.”



“It’s brilliant; I’m delighted. The film has a cool, hip, cutting-edge feel. I think this film will wake a lot of people up.”


  • Dr. Michael Hudson, Institute for the Study of Long-Term Economic  Trends Forum, Wall Street Financial Analyst, DISTINGUISHED RESEARCH PROFESSOR OF ECONOMICS AT THE UNIVERSITY OF MISSOURI, Kansas City

“I’ll watch the progress of your film eagerly. I hope it gains traction and catalyzes the discussion.”


Dennis Harvey, VARIETY

“Tying together problems of overpopulation, pollution, consumption, global warming, industrial development and more, “Surviving Progress” offers a cinematic wakeup call so cogent and non-didactic even Tea Partiers would be hard-pressed to shrug it off.”


  • Kevin Laforest, HOUR, Montreal

“Koyaanisqatsi meets The Corporation in this thought-provoking, brilliantly crafted film about nothing less than the history of the modern world and the fate of civilization – all that in 85 minutes! …. Surviving Progress is as ambitious as it gets and pulls it off. It raises more questions than it answers, of course, but that’s the name of the game when you’re tackling such lofty subjects.”


  • Bernard St. Laurent, CBC Radio One’s C’EST LA VIE

“completely engaging … a very powerful movie.”


  • Claude Deschênes, Radio-Canada

“Le documentaire pose un regard non complaisant sur l'avancement de l'humanité, inspiré par Short History of Progress, le best-seller de l'essayiste canadien Ronald Wright, qui soutenait en 2004 que le progrès menaçait la survie de l'espèce humaine.”


  • 24th International Documentary Film Festival Amsterdam catalogue

“fast-paced and visually appealing”