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Mille Clarke’s film of Catherine MacLellan and her father Gene at Charlottetown Film Festival

Mille Clarkes filming close-up of Catherine MacLellanThe 4th Annual Charlottetown Film Festival has announced it will open with Island director Mile Clarke’s NFB documentary The Song and the Sorrow which takes an intimate look at the path of dealing with mental illness in the lives of musical icon Gene MacLellan and his daughter Catherine. 

The film follows Catherine as she journeys to understand her father and face her own struggles with depression.

Through archival footage and interviews with friends, family members, and musicians who knew and played with Gene the film reveals a troubled and loving man who was never at ease with fame or money.

Though The Song and the Sorrow deals with a story of suicide and the legacy of mental health struggles, it’s not an issue-based film. “It’s a personal story about a father and a daughter. About how we learn from the actions and mistakes of our parents and struggle to carry that lesson forward,” reports director Clarkes.

“Working with Catherine, well, it was a privilege. To have someone share this intimate and personal journey with me and the camera (and with a boom mic hanging over her head)—that’s a gift. Catherine is determined to lift the oppressive burden of silence that accompanies the stigma of mental illness and hopes that others can take strength and solace from her story.“

Running from October 12 to 14 at City Cinema, Charlottetown’s “little film festival of big dreams” is working with a theme “Life is a Balancing Act.”

The Song and the Sorrow is the perfect film to kickoff ChFF18,” Festival Director Cheryl Wagner says. “We are programming a number of works from Atlantic Canada that shine a light on the variety of ups and downs we all encounter. Very happy that Catherine will be joining us on Opening Night.”

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