Hurt, a documentary that tells the story of cross-Canada runner Steve Fonyo, will have its world premiere on Sept. 14 at the Toronto International Film Festival (TIFF).
The film, directed by Alan Zweig (also Canadian), follows Fonyo’s present-day life, 30 years after he ran across Canada after having lost his leg to cancer. Back then, he was dismissed as merely a Terry Fox copycat. By attempting a feat so similar to Fox, and just a few years afterwards, he was unable to to pull in donations towards cancer research or garner the national attention the way he had hoped for.
Nineteen years old at the time, Fonyo eventually made it farther than Fox had. That’s when interest in his story began to pick up. He raised $13 million for cancer research and was named to the Order of Canada.
But what happened afterwards is a story that not many Canadians know. For Fonyo, the run was the high point. After that, his life took a whole other direction. Crime and drug addiction caught up with him in a lifestyle which he started less than two years after his cross-Canada run. For him, crystal meth, theft and jail sentences became a reality. His honour of being one of the Canadian heroes named to the Order of Canada was revoked in 2010. Fonyo now lives in Whalley, B.C., an area known for its crime and regarded as the most dangerous part in the province’s lower mainland.
Zweig follows Fonyo now showing Canadians how he ended up and getting answers about why things turned out the way they did. (See the trailer below.)
Other screenings of the documentary will be on Sept. 16 and 20 in Toronto.