Tragically Hip filmmakers say project came together fast

Film follows band’s tour and faces the reality of Gord Downie’s incurable brain cancer diagnosis

Making the Tragically Hip tour documentary “Long Time Running” was a shotgun project of sorts for its filmmakers.

“It started on a dime,” explained co-director Nicholas de Pencier on Wednesday during the film’s red carpet premiere at the Toronto International Film Festival.

“Five days before the first show,” added Jennifer Baichwal, the film’s other director.

That’s a rarity for the filmmaker couple, who previously worked together on the 2013 documentary “Watermark.”

But they say getting the chance to follow the Hip on their defining “Man Machine Poem” tour was an opportunity they couldn’t pass up.

The documentary follows the Canadian band as they embark on run of farewell shows and face the reality of Gord Downie’s incurable brain cancer diagnosis.

The Hip frontman was absent from the premiere, though his bandmates Gord Sinclair, Johnny Fay, Rob Baker and Paul Langlois all showed up. They declined to speak with reporters about the making of the film.

Unlike most projects, the filmmakers say this one came together almost on the fly. Downie’s health condition meant the band was never entirely certain if they’d be able to complete the tour.

“Normally there’s a lot of preparation,” de Pencier added.

“This was: ‘No, we’re running away and we’re joining the circus. We’re on tour now and we’re filming.’ So we had to play catch up and work really quickly.”

The documentary makers say knowing the Hip band members personally for 20 years helped them get accustomed to the touring atmosphere.

“It’s not that we wanted to do it, it’s that we were asked to do it,” Baichwal said.

“We all were sort of in this, ‘Is this really the right thing to do in this moment?’ And it was, and so that’s how it came together … They trusted us.”

— with files from Shetu Modi.

David Friend, The Canadian Press

Just Posted

#MeToo at work: How reporting sexual harassment works – and how it doesn’t

British Columbians have four options to report harassment or assault, but none of them are easy

Three days in the ER, not uncommon in Abbotsford: report

One in 10 admitted patients spends more than 69 hours in emergency

If it snows, move your car

Streets in Mission that have cars parked on them, won’t get plowed this winter

Man accused of shooting at border agents loses final bid to appeal extradition order

Nathan Hall was arrested in Abbotsford following cross-border manhunt in 2013

#MeToo at work: B.C. women share horrifyingly common sexual assaults

It happens to more people than you might think and impacts women inside and outside of the workplace

VIDEO: Average Canadian food bill to rise by $348 in 2018

Atlantic Canada and B.C. will see the most increases for consumers

B.C. government to launch coastal ferry review in January

The Province will begin a comprehensive review of the coastal ferry service in British Columbia in 2018

5 to start your day

A rhyming MP getting into the Christmas spirit on the hill, Langley boy chased by two men and more

Federal Crown drops appeal after charges against pot activist dismissed

Dana Larsen said he was served notice at his home in Vancouver and the case was to be heard July 2

Prince Harry and Meghan Markle to marry May 19

Kensington Palace announced the date to the public Friday

Debt-to-household-income ratio rises in third quarter

Total household credit market debt grew to $2.11 trillion in the third quarter

PART I: How Prince Rupert schools teach Indigenous language to hundreds of students

A multimedia series with videos and photos from children’s Sm’algyax classes on B.C.’s North Coast

B.C. Mountie told to resign after texting teenage sex assault victim

RCMP documents say Const. Brian Eden sent sexually inappropriate photos to 17-year-old girl

B.C. Interior First Nation create a community radio station

The Tsilhqot’in National Government is developing a radio station to promote language revitalization and create unity

Most Read