Long Live My Happy Head

Feature Documentary

Watch now on BBC iPlayer: https://www.bbc.co.uk/iplayer/episode/m0015zyx/long-live-my-happy-head

Visit the film page: www.LongLiveMyHappyHead.com

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 tumour. 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 everyday 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 tumour 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 humour can soothe our deepest fears of mortality and losing the people we care most about.

Previous Screenings

17th March @ 18:20 - BFI Flare festival, London (World Premiere)

19th March @ 11:00 - BFI Flare Festival, London

19th March @ TBC - Thessaloniki Documentary Festival, Greece (International Premiere)

20th March @ 16:45 - Screening with Q&A, Komedia Picturehouse, Brighton

22nd March @ 18:10 - Screening with Q&A, City Screen Picturehouse, York

23rd March @ 19:45 - Screening with Q&A - Highland Cinema, Fort William

24th March @ 18:10 - Screening with Q&A, Cameo Picturehouse, Edinburgh

25th March @ TBC - Screening with Q&A, Belmont Filmhouse, Aberdeen

25th March @ 18:30 - Screening with Q&A, Picturehouse At FACT, Liverpool

27th March @ 18:30 - Sands International Film Festival, St Andrews


60/ 88 min


Documentary Feature


Austen McCowan & Will Hewitt


Austen McCowan


Barbara Toennieshen & Will Hewitt


Alexandra Hamilton-Ayres

Country of Production

Scotland, UK

Production Company

Melt the Fly


BBC Scotland

Supported by

Creative Scotland and the National Lottery, The Open University

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