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

Annual Victoria Hospitals Foundation gala brings in nearly $700,000

Event raises a significant portion of $3.2 million goal for cardiac care campaign

Sooke Philharmonic Orchestra celebrates 20th anniversary

Norman Nelson founded the orchestra in 1997

High winds cancel slew of BC Ferries sailings

Travel to and from Victoria and Vancouver as well as Northern Gulf Islands affected

Three Sooke students awarded scholarships

Ike Barber Transfer Scholarship program awarded annually to undergraduate students

Sooke talk focuses on risk of nuclear war

Discussion and talk held on Nov. 30

VIDEO: Rare comic showing Superman’s 1st appearance to be auctioned

The 1938 comic features Superman hoisting a car over his head

Forecast calls for a snowy Canadian winter

Canadians told to brace for a ‘classic’ Canadian winter with lots of snow

Queen Elizabeth II, Prince Philip celebrate 70th anniversary

The Queen and The Duke of Edinburgh are celebrating their platinum wedding anniversary

Charles Manson, leader of murderous ’60s cult, dead at 83

Charles Manson, whose cult slayings horrified world, dies

Naked man arrested in Nanaimo, provided with pants

Suspect arrested for causing disturbance Nov. 13 near Bowen and Northfield roads

‘An officer and a gentleman’: Const. John Davidson is laid to rest

Thousands attend memorial service for slain Abbotsford Police officer

VIDEO: Coquihalla reopens near Merritt

Detours are available via Hwy. 8 and Hwy. 1

VIDEO: The Last Jedi is going to be the longest ‘Star Wars’ movie yet

Newest movie in the franchise will beat Star Wars: Episode II - Attack of the Clones

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.

Most Read