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

Smoking ban arrives on BC Ferries

No crackdown, just education as BC Ferries enacts smoking ban

UPDATE: Whiskey Creek floodwaters subside

Area roads reopened following Sunday morning closure

Parksville water project seeks new manager

City operations manager moves to new job with RDN

Man receives four-year sentence for stabbing Good Samaritan near Qualicum Beach

Jeffrey Brian MacDonald sentenced to additional 242 days in jail

SOGI rally disrupts school board meeting, but business carries on

Chilliwack school board makes statement in support of B.C.-wide gender identity teaching resource

REPLAY: B.C. this week in video

In case you missed it, here’s a look at replay-worthy highlights from across the province this week

Tofino and Ucluelet wowed by biggest waves in a decade

“Even in pictures you show the kids and that, unless you’re witnessing it live, it’s like no other.”

Police fear fewer fentanyl imports don’t signal the end of the overdose crisis

RCMP say it’s just as likely that criminal are getting more clever

UPDATE: Two people die in ATV accident south of Campbell River

Third person survived attempt to cross a creek

Coal dust escaping rail cars spurs B.C. petition

Local governments are on board with Shuswap resident’s request for better control of escaping particulate

Lawyers slam ‘de facto expulsion’ of student guilty of sexual interference

Calgary student guilty of sexual assault of a minor allowed to finish semester

B.C. NDP set to restructure union bargaining

School trustees to regain control over employer group

UPDATE: Police continue to seek missing Qualicum Beach woman

Oceanside RCMP requesting public assistance in locating Carmel Georgina Gilmour

New development in missing plane near Revelstoke

The family of Ashley Bourgeault believe they have found a new clue

Most Read