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Nash makes film debut with Terry Fox documentary

When Canadian basketball star Steve Nash was given the chance to pitch an idea for a sports documentary to ESPN there was one name that immediately came to mind: Terry Fox.

Nash was six when Fox launched his Marathon of Hope in 1980 and he still remembers being "mesmerized" by the sight of Fox's hobbled run along Canadian roads and highways. He peppered his parents with questions about why Fox only had one leg and why he was running.

On Sept. 28, Nash's debut film, Into the Wind, will air on ESPN. And while he's not expecting it'll make Fox the same folk hero in the U.S. as he is in Canada, he hopes his legend does spread.

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"We're not foolish enough to think America's going to drop everything - because obviously it's a country with a lot going on," Nash said to laughs after a screening of the documentary Sunday at the Toronto International Film Festival.

"It would just be great if the film could help Terry inspire people like he inspired me."

The 51-minute documentary airs in Canada on Sept. 19 on TSN2 and Sept. 30 on CTV.

Among those in the audience for the emotional documentary's premiere - which had many audience members in tears - was Canadian director Jason Reitman, whom Nash later cited as one of the filmmakers he admires.

Nash, who wore a blazer, black jeans and black high-top sneakers to the event, said it was an honour to interview members of Fox's family for the documentary.

"It was obviously difficult," he said. "There were some sad moments but still overall it was very celebratory."

Co-director Ezra Holland said he has vague memories of being taught about Fox when he was growing up in England, but only really got the whole story after reading Douglas Coupland's book, Terry.

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"After half an hour I was welling up, it really hit me," Holland recalled.

"We talked about various athletes (for the documentary) but nothing really kind of seemed to have the draw to us that Terry Fox did."

Holland and Nash are partners in the production company Meathawk and before "Into the Wind" they created a number of spots for the likes of Nike and vitaminwater.

They've also produced some funny shorts including Vote For Me, a self-deprecating blooper reel of Nash's on-court flubs and blunders that masquerades as all-star voting propaganda. Nash also recruited teammates from the Phoenix Suns to star in other shorts about singalongs on the team bus and the importance of hand sanitizer.

The duo is now in the early stages of making another documentary, this time about Brazilian soccer legend Pele. They also have their sights set on producing a dramatic feature film.

"It's humbling," Nash said of the challenges of moving to film from the basketball court. "Obviously I have everything to learn but it's also amazing to challenge yourself."

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