Few individuals have had a greater front-row view of the Tragically Hip‘s rock ‘n’ roll journey than Mike Downie. However as he got down to make the “definitive documentary” on the band, the brother of late frontman Gord Downie says he discovered that even he didn’t have the total story.
The filmmaker will direct a documentary sequence chronicling the Hip’s ascent from highschool band to Canadian musical icons. The untitled mission was introduced Wednesday as a part of Amazon Prime Video’s slate of unique Canadian productions.
The four-part sequence is ready to be launched in fall 2024 to mark the fortieth anniversary of the band’s formation in Kingston, Ont., Mike Downie mentioned.
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As he prepares for manufacturing to begin after a 12 months in growth, Downie mentioned he’s already been shocked by how a lot he needed to be taught concerning the Hip regardless of being on the band’s facet since its inception.
“You assume you realize a narrative, however you’ve recognized it passively in a method,” he mentioned in a video interview from Toronto. “And but, it’s attention-grabbing if you begin to scratch the floor a bit of deeper how rather more info there may be.”
The documentarian has turned his lens on the Hip earlier than within the 1993 live performance tour movie Heksenketel and in 2018’s Discover the Secret Path, which adopted Gord Downie’s efforts to deliver consideration to the darkish historical past of Canada’s residential faculties the 12 months earlier than he died of mind most cancers in 2017.
When the Hip’s longtime supervisor, Jake Gold, approached him about making the “definitive documentary” on the band, Mike Downie mentioned he didn’t hesitate to say sure.
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As a member of the band’s “massive household,” he didn’t have a lot hassle bringing key gamers on board. He mentioned he’s already uncovered revelations concerning the Hip’s origins by way of pre-interviews with members of the band and its progenitors.
He’s been increase the band’s archives to seek out never-before-seen movies, recordings and pictures which can be set to be featured within the sequence, even enlisting the assistance of two Hip-obsessed “rock ‘n’ roll detectives” to search out new materials.
The analysis course of has at occasions been emotional, Downie mentioned. He and his youthful brother have been going by way of Gord Downie’s journals courting again to the early Nineteen Eighties, and in some entries, you possibly can really feel his presence on the web page.
“Once I’m studying these, and a few of what he’s writing down on this stream of consciousness, he appears very shut, very shut.”
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The documentary will characteristic interviews with quite a few distinguished Hip followers (he wouldn’t identify names) to assist unpack why so many Canadians noticed themselves in a Kingston-based alt-rock band, he added.
He sees the Hip’s arc as a part of a broader Canadian story — one which begins with brilliant hopes of one thing higher, however by way of triumph and tragedy, lands in a spot that’s darker however extra true.
“I’m desirous about charting that growth over the lifetime of the band, and the trajectory of a rustic,” he mentioned.
“I see an evolution that tracks in an attention-grabbing method between a gaggle of small-town guys from Kingston heading out and never solely discovering a method to inform their story, however to inform maybe a bigger story.”
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