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

Family of four missing in northern B.C.

RCMP, Search and Rescue crews searching area where vehicle was abandoned

New pedestrian walkway on Lakelse Avenue

Construction began Tuesday and is expected to last a week

Marijuana to be legal in Canada Oct. 17: Trudeau

Prime Minister made the announcement during question period in the House of Commons

Better dangerous goods response wanted

Regional district directors to consider resolution tomorrow

Terrace golf club managers shoot rounds for ALS

Germain Francoeur and Rob Wilke golfed starting at 5 a.m. to raise money as part of a BC initiative

In reversal, Trump signs executive order to stop family separation

President had been wrongly insisting he had no choice but to separate families apprehended at border

UPDATED: Polygamous wife appeals conviction in B.C. child bride case

Emily Blackmore was found guilty of taking her underage daughter to U.S. to marry church leader

B.C. sets deadline for Indigenous salmon farm consent

All 120 operations will need agreements by 2022, province says

B.C. creates public registry to track real estate owners

The first registry of its kind in Canada aims to end the hidden property ownership

Police watchdog called to Kelowna after car destroyed in crash

A motor vehicle incident has closed Highway 33 in both directions

BC SPCA receives 400 reports of dogs in hot cars so far this year

Society is again urging people to leave their pets at home if they can’t keep them safe in the heat

8 B.C. communities rank as the friendliest in Canada

Eight B.C. communities can claim they are the friendliest in the country.

Canucks host all-inclusive birthday party for B.C. kids with autism

Such invitations are rare for some kids with autism, and one B.C. family knows the feeling

Heat records broken across B.C. as weather warning lifts

Thirteen records broken across B.C. on Tuesday

Most Read