Finished Life: The Goodbye & No Regrets Tour
is a feature length documentary about Gregg Gour, a 48-year-old
gay man with AIDS, who, when given six months to live, takes the
road trip of his life.
had been HIV positive for 24 years and during that time the side
effects of the medications made him increasingly sicker than the
virus itself. In the last several years he felt that his quality
of life had diminished considerably, so he choose to go off his
meds and no longer fight death.
giving away all of his belongings, Gregg buys an RV and travels
across the United States with his dog, Cody, saying goodbye to
family and friends who have to come to terms with Gregg's decision:
That rather than suffer a long, painful death, he will end his
own life before allowing the progressing illness to take away
Finished Life: The Goodbye & No Regrets Tour is a
loving and powerful portrait of Gregg's journey, which is at turns
heartbreaking and surprisingly upbeat. The filmmakers were given
access to his most personal moments and the result is an open
and unflinching chronicle of a man's decision to live the final
chapter of his life his way.
I first heard Gregg Gour's story, my first thought was: Who is
this guy that went off his AIDS meds and is giving away all his
belongings, and traveling across the country in an RV on what
he's calling the Goodbye & No Regrets Tour? And what do you
mean he's been given six months to live and plans to hasten his
thought, if this were my friend, I'd kidnap him and hold him against
his will, force him to go back on his meds, and convince him that
life was worth fighting for.
wondered HOW his family and friends were finding the strength
and courage to face what he was asking them to do: To let him
go. AND, I thought, this needs to be documented. Someone should
create a record of this journey.
this point my co-director Barbara Green and I decided to approach
Gregg (through Barbara's sister Joyce, who was a close friend
of his) and see if he would talk with us. The next day, we were
three strangers and a dog, standing in Gregg's apartment, and
after a couple of hours that began with small talk and ended with
laughter, several Diet Pepsis and a few tears, he agreed to allow
us to tell his story.
instinct was to be non-invasive, although how could you avoid
that, two chicks showing up with a camera? But we intended to
stay back, out of the way, and try and observe.
much of Gregg's journey across the country would be just him and
his dog Cody alone in the RV, we knew that we didn't want to affect
that journey by traveling every bit of the road with him. Part
of what his experience should be is that solitary time alone on
the road. So we decided to send a small camcorder ("the Gregg
Cam") with him, which he could use to record his thoughts
along the way. We planned to meet up with him at his cross-country
destination -- his mother's home in Pennsylvania. For the most
part he did make the cross-country journey on his own, but as
Gregg's story began to unfold, we did fly out to meet up with
him in Colorado and Kansas to capture some very important moments.
is a major issue at the center of Gregg's story, and that is of
a terminally-ill person's right to end-of-life choices. Rather
than cover it as an "issue," we decided instead to follow
the personal side: the story of a man taking control of the end
of his life, and how his decisions affected the people who shared
that life with him.
Boyaner & Barbara Green
A Finished Life: The Goodbye & No Regrets Tour