Island filmmaker's documentary Sickboy airs Sunday
'I really wanted to try to make a film that's authentic and real and honest,' says Andrew MacCormack
Charlottetown filmmmaker Andrew MacCormack's documentary Sickboy will have its television debut on screens across the country this weekend.
The film follows 29-year-old yoga teacher Jeremie Saunders as he lives with cystic fibrosis, fighting the chronic condition with laughter to break down the stigma associated with illness and disease.
To talk about his lifelong battle with cystic fibrosis, Saunders started a podcast with his two friends, Brian Stever and Taylor MacGillivary, called Sickboy.
"The first thing that drew me to it was the universality of the subject — talking about illness using laughter is a simple but kind of innovative way to go at it," MacCormack said.
MacCormack wrote and directed the documentary and admits there were plenty of struggles along the way.
Because the subject matter is quite intimate, serious and can be hard to talk about, he said his first — and perhaps toughest — challenge was gaining the full trust of the podcasters.
"There's some stuff you watch on TV … you can tell that it's scripted, even though it's suppose to be real, I think people can smell that," MacCormack said.
"So I really wanted to try to make a film that's authentic and real and honest, so gaining the trust that was probably the biggest challenge even though it turned out to be kind of easy in the end because everyone was so open and willing to participate."
Documentary airs Sunday
The documentary was showcased in September at the Atlantic International Film Festival in Halifax and both shows sold out.
"Nowadays so much stuff is consumed on tiny screens on people's phones, on people's laptops, so to play anything in a theatre ... on a big screen with big sound is just such an awesome experience," MacCormack said.
"It was amazing to finally have the public see it."
With files from Mainstreet P.E.I.