LONG TIME RUNNING follows The Tragically Hip as they travel across Canada for one final tour after band leader Gord Downie’s terminal cancer diagnosis.
“On every level, Long Time Running offers something new to the rock doc genre and to Tragically Hip enthusiasts.”
– Sarah Kurchak, Consequences of Sound
“In the end – and this may well be the end – Long Time Running is about perseverance, both the band’s and Downie’s.”
– Brad Wheeler, Globe and Mail
“Hip fans will enjoy not only the behind-the-scenes footage of Downie getting ready for each night’s show on the trek but the entire group’s collective memory of their 30-year personal and professional journey.”
– Jane Stevenson, Toronto Sun
“It is deeply sad and positively triumphant. It’s everything we need it to be.”
– Norman Wilner, NOW Toronto
“LONG TIME RUNNING is a story of strength, defiance and the powerful bonds of rock-‘n’-roll brotherhood sans pareil. It is, in fact, often quite funny, with much of the humour supplied by Gord Downie himself.”
– Ben Rayner, Toronto Star
LONG TIME RUNNING is a feature documentary film that follows The Tragically Hip’s iconic 2016 Man Machine Poem cross-Canada tour and final concert in their hometown of Kingston, after the band’s announcement that lead singer Gord Downie was diagnosed with incurable brain cancer.
The film begins at the press conference announcing Downie’s illness, and we learn from doctors James Perry and D.J. Cook about his diagnosis and prognosis, neither of which remotely suggest the possibility of an ambitious arena tour for Canada’s most popular band. Downie’s memory is severely compromised from brain surgery, and the ongoing chemotherapy and radiation treatments are exhausting and debilitating. Through interviews with Downie, his brother Patrick, bandmates Paul Langlois, Rob Baker, Johnnie Fay and Gord Sinclair, as well as managers and key crew, we follow the improbable, courageous and inspiring journey of a tour which happened through sheer force of will, determination and grace, too—along with the deep mutual dedication between the band and their fans. The tour sells out in minutes as the nation prepares for a rock and roll reckoning for the ages.
Blending interviews, verité, intimate behind-the-scenes moments, abstraction, fan testimonials, audience experience and performance footage, we chart the path from the first tenuous rehearsal in Toronto to the triumphant rendition of Ahead By A Century in Kingston, watched by 11.7 million Canadians, the second largest broadcast audience in Canadian history. We go across the country, from Heriot Bay to Gros Morne to Moosonee to explore this shared national experience. The band and the “tour family” of technicians and managers reflect on their long careers as they cross the country like they have so many times before, with the poignancy of the probable finality of this trip threatening to well up and overtake the moment. And the fans reflect on what this band and their music means to them. (C) Elevation Pictures