Long Live My Happy Head

Saturday, February 18th, 2023 3:00 PM

Admission: Free

A special showing of the life-changing documentary Long Live My Happy Head, with a discussion panel afterwards on caregiving for terminal illnesses.

3pm: Film Showing
Discussion panel featuring the filmmakers and prominent medical health professionals in the field of neuro-oncology and long-term care. 

With the recent passing of Shawn Puller’s life partner, Gordon Shaw, we wanted to celebrate the life of a wonderful friend, share their amazing story with our community, and open up the floor for a larger discussion on the vitally important role of caretakers.

We will be collecting goodwill donations to support the Doris Via Foundation, a local non-profit assisting individuals and families as they deal with cancer and cancer treatment


ABOUT THE FILM

A touching and unexpectedly uplifting love story about a Scottish comic book artist with a brain tumor, who uses his art to communicate his experience of cancer.

What would you do if you were told you had a dramatically life-shortening illness when you were 32 years old? Start making comic books about it of course! Well, that’s what Gordon did anyway. Gordon is a Scottish comic book artist with a big bushy beard, very expressive eyebrows—oh, and an inoperable, incurable brain tumor. By making autobiographical comics about his experience, he is able to communicate his thoughts and reactions to cancer in a medium and a language that is disarming, accessible and inviting.

Approaching his 40th birthday, Gordon has found the love of his life, Shawn — a warm-hearted and protective American man who lives in Bath County, Virginia. Their relationship may be long-distance, but they talk on the phone every day they’re not together and visit each other as often as possible. Although his previous comics looked at his own personal experience, for his next book Gordon has chosen to focus on the people who look after people with cancer — the carers.

His tumor is growing again though, and he’s on chemotherapy whilst meeting and interviewing people who have cared for and lost their dearest loved ones. LONG LIVE MY HAPPY HEAD is a film about cancer and comic books, but it’s fundamentally a love story. We journey with Gordon and Shawn through one of the most difficult times of their lives only to see them emerge from the other side even stronger than before. Through intimately captured observational footage and video diary, stylized key interviews and animations created from Gordon’s comic illustrations, this film immerses the audience in Gordon’s world, and reveals how art, love and a sense of humor can soothe our deepest fears of mortality and losing the people we care most about.

DIRECTORS AUSTEN MCCOWAN, WILL HEWITT
PRODUCER AUSTEN MCCOWAN
EXECUTIVE PRODUCERS GEOFFREY SMITH, AMY HARDIE
EDITORS WILL HEWITT, BARBARA TOENNIESHEN
MUSIC ALEXANDRA HAMILTON-AYRES
ORIGINAL ARTWORK GORDON SHAW
ANIMATION ART DIRECTOR ROSS HOGG

To learn more about the film, please visit: https://www.longlivemyhappyhead.com

It might sound like a heavy watch but it’s also warm and funny and strangely positive in a very pragmatic, bittersweet sort of way, capped off by Gordon’s arrival at acceptance of his present situation: “I’m happy but sadness is there. Perhaps in equal measure”.” – Sam Sewell-Peterson BFI Flare 

Location

Garth Newel Music Center
403 Garth Newel Ln, Hot Springs, VA 24445 + Google Map