Gut-busting podcast turns gut-retching in documentary airing tonight on CBC-TV at 9 p.m.
Documentary Sickboy (2017) follows Jeremie Saunders, a 29-year-old living with Cystic Fibrosis – a fatal chronic condition – and friends Brian Stever and Taylor MacGillivary, co-creators of the podcast Sickboy.
Through hilarious discussion, the trio de-stigmatizes what it is like living with daily illness.
“Everyone is going to be sick or love someone who is sick, so why can’t we talk about it, and that’s what these guys are doing,” says documentary writer and producer, Andrew MacCormack.
The podcast is lighthearted, laid-back and explicit. The film takes a different tone, laying out the dark reality of Saunders’ CF, how illness affects the group off-air and rotates the discussion to: death.
“Three men talking openly about their feelings is not something you hear about, that itself is interesting enough,” says MacCormack.
What started as Jeremie’s embarrassing CF storytelling, began a revolutionary platform for discussing illnesses from brain cancer to cocaine addiction to miscarriages. Episodes normally follow one illness topic and often have a guest-speaker.
“Jeremie is a charismatic and loveable person, and has a very good on-screen presence.”
“After meeting Brian and Taylor, and realizing they were the same, that was half the battle,” says MacCormack.
“Right from the get-go, this was a story that I felt needed to be told.”
Success at Atlantic Film Festival
Premiering at the Atlantic Film Festival in late September, not one but two screenings sold out in advance.
“The reception following the screening was amazing,” says MacCormack. “We just want more people to see it, that’s why we are excited that it is going to be broadcasted all over the country this Sunday.”
Medical doctors have approached MacCormack, noting importance of the network the trio are creating. It is what people need to witness. Both physical and mental illnesses require a support system.
“Something that started off as a joke, has become this,” he says. “Hearing that from doctors was… profound.”
MacCormack hopes that the viewing will encourage more people –even those who have never listened to the podcast– to open the discussion surrounding illness.
“You have to make the first step in order to open up a dialogue,” he says. “Once you do that, the weight lifted is universal.”