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No No: A Dockumentary

The Rendezvous with Madness Film Festival wraps up this weekend. The festival is celebrating over 20 years here in the city. It’s the first festival of its kind in the world, and currently the largest. Rendezvous investigates the facts and mythologies surrounding mental illness and addiction as presented by both Canadian and international filmmakers.

A big film is debuting Friday night at the fest. “No No: A Dockumentary” is the story of Dock Ellis, the baseball pitcher who famously threw a no-hitter for the Pittsburgh Pirates in the early 70s. That is a big enough feat. The kicker? He completed the no hitter while high on LSD.

Here’s Dock Ellis on the experience just before he pitched that game:

Now, Dock was a character as a major leager. Bell bottoms, big collars, curlers in his hair, Cadillac. He was stylish, and he was intimidating. He was also an outspoken civil rights advocate for the black athletes he played with.

With all the fun and craziness came the troubles. Ellis passed away in 2008 due to liver disease, but not before he became an respected counselor for those with addictions. He was an alcoholic and drug addict for a big chunk of his life.

Mark Wigmore spoke with Jeffrey Radice, the director of this new documentary, from his home in Austin, Texas. While he definitely used the LSD story to draw people in, he thought that the abuse of other illicit drugs in baseball was the real hook.

This documentary will kick off a symposium about addiction and drugs use in sports and will feature an all star panel of guests, and here’s what Director Jeffrey Radice hopes will be the conversation:

No No: A Dockumentary was part of the Sundance and SXSW festivals earlier this year. Side note: The film also features original music by Adam “Ad-Rock” Horovitz of the Beastie Boys. Your chance to see it is Friday night at TIFF Lightbox as part of the Rendezvous with Madness Film Festival. for details of the whole festival. It runs through Saturday.


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