Going the Distance (1979 film)

Going the Distance is a 1979 Canadian documentary film directed by Paul Cowan about the 1978 Commonwealth Games. Produced by the National Film Board of Canada, and produced by Robert Verrall and Jacques Bobet, it was nominated for an Academy Award for Best Documentary Feature.[1][2]

Going the Distance
Directed byPaul Cowan
Written byPaul Cowan
Produced byJacques Bobet
Robert Verrall
Narrated byMichael Kane (English)
Jacques Fauteux (French)
CinematographyGeorges Dufaux
Pierre Letarte
Tony Westman
Paul Cowan
Edited byPaul Cowan
Steven Kellar
Jeepy Macadam
Rosemarie Shapley
Distributed byNational Film Board of Canada
Release date
  • May 23, 1979 (1979-05-23)
Running time
89 minutes



Cowan, who had been chosen for the project on the basis of his previous sports specials, shot most of the film himself, delegating second-unit segments to Reevan Dolgoy, Georges Dufaux, Beverly Shaffer, Pierre Letarte and Tony Westman. Cowan chose to focus on eight athletes from four continents, including four Canadians: Toronto boxer John Raftery, thirteen-year-old Winnipeg gymnast Monica Goermann, and divers Linda Cuthbert and Janet Nutter. Also featured was New Zealand weightlifter Precious McKenzie. Athletes were filmed prior to the Games as well as in competition at the games in Edmonton.[3][4]



The film had a budget of $840,000 (equivalent to $3,299,100 in 2023).[5] The film was shot in Canada, Isle of Mann, Kenya, Tanzania, New Zealand, and England from 18 November 1977 to 12 August 1978. The film was narrated by Michael Kane in English and Jacques Fauteux in French.[6]



The film was shown at the Northern Alberta Jubilee Auditorium in Edmonton on 23 May 1979.[6] Its broadcast premiere was on the CTV Television Network on August 4, 1979.[4]


  • C.I.D.A.L.C. International Festival of Sports Films, Torino: First Prize, Gold Plaque, 1982
  • Commonwealth Television and Film Festival, Nicosia: Best Film of the Festival, 1980
  • 52nd Academy Awards, Los Angeles: Nominee: Best Documentary Feature, 1980[7]


  1. ^ "The 52nd Academy Awards (1980) Nominees and Winners". oscars.org. Retrieved October 7, 2011.
  2. ^ "NY Times: Going the Distance". Movies & TV Dept. The New York Times. 2010. Archived from the original on October 19, 2010. Retrieved November 16, 2008.
  3. ^ "Going the Distance". Canadian Film Encyclopedia. Toronto International Film Festival. Archived from the original on October 8, 2013. Retrieved October 7, 2013.
  4. ^ a b Hicks, Wessely (July 28, 1979). "Going the Distance". TV Times, Montreal Gazette. Retrieved October 7, 2013.
  5. ^ Evans 1991, p. 263.
  6. ^ a b Turner 1987, p. 270.
  7. ^ "Going the Distance". onf-nfb.gc.ca. National Film Board of Canada. Retrieved February 22, 2023.

Works cited