CBC today announced the broadcast premiere of FINDING THE SECRET PATH, a one-hour documentary featuring never-before-seen footage of the last year of Gord Downie’s life while he worked to bring Chanie Wenjack’s story to Canadians. Marking the first anniversary of Downie’s death and the 52nd anniversary of Wenjack’s death in October, FINDING THE SECRET PATH will premiere on Friday, October 12 at 9 p.m. on CBC (9:30 NT), the CBC TV streaming app and cbc.ca/watch.
FINDING THE SECRET PATH documents Downie’s efforts to bring the story of Chanie Wenjack to the national stage to raise awareness of the dark and painful legacy of Canada’s residential school system. Wenjack, a 12-year-old Anishnaabe boy, died while trying to escape a residential school in northern Ontario in 1966. The documentary includes reflections by the Wenjack family and Indigenous leaders including AFN National Chief Perry Bellegarde, Grand Chief Alvin Fiddler of the Nishnawbe Aski Nation, and former Manitoba Keewatinowi Okimakanak Grand Chief Sheila North.
The documentary concludes a CBC broadcast trilogy that has spanned three years and includes the following:
The Secret Path premiered Sunday, October 23, 2016 on CBC and streamed worldwide at cbc.ca/secretpath. Set to Downie’s remarkable Secret Path album, the animated feature told the story of Wenjack and marked the 50th anniversary of the morning his body was found frozen beside the railroad tracks only 12 miles into his journey.
Gord Downie’s Secret Path in Concert was broadcast a year later on CBC on Sunday, October 22, 2017. Filmed at Roy Thomson Hall in Toronto with more than 30 members of the Wenjack family in attendance, the one-hour special captured Downie’s remarkable and emotional Secret Path live performance with musicians Kevin Drew and Charles Spearin (Broken Social Scene), Kevin Hearn (Barenaked Ladies), Josh Finlayson (Skydiggers) and Dave Hamelin (The Stills), interwoven with intimate backstage moments and footage from The Secret Path animated film.
In addition to these broadcast events, CBC also launched a collection of inspiring and thought-provoking short documentaries at cbc.ca/arts/secretpath, which highlighted Canadians who have been inspired by The Secret Path, to undertake their own unique acts of reconciliation.
The Gord Downie Secret Path CBC broadcast trilogy will conclude with the one-hour CBC Docs special presentation, FINDING THE SECRET PATH, on Friday, October 12 at 9 p.m. (9:30 NT) on CBC, the CBC TV streaming app and cbc.ca/watch. An encore broadcast of the documentary will air on CBC News Network on Sunday, October 14 at 8 p.m. ET.
FINDING THE SECRET PATH was written and directed by Mike Downie and produced by Mike Downie and Stuart Coxe. The documentary was executive produced by Gord Downie, Mike Downie, Patrick Downie, Patrick Sambrook, Stuart Coxe and Craig Baines.
Proceeds from the Secret Path project are being donated to the National Centre for Truth and Reconciliation and the Gord Downie & Chanie Wenjack Fund.