So very excited to at last be showing my new doc The Song and the Sorrow to audiences. The Song and the Sorrow is produced by the National Film Board. It follows Juno-Award winning musician Catherine MacLellan as she journeys to understand her father, Gene MacLellan, and his legacy of music and mental health struggles. Gene penned international hits in the 70s (Snowbird, Put Your Hand in the Hand) and took his life when Catherine was only 14 years old. In the film Catherine speaks with friends, family members, and musicians who knew and played with Gene—including Anne Murray, Lennie Gallant, and the late Ron Hynes - in search of some insight into her enigmatic father. Catherine is determined to help lift the oppressive burden of silence that accompanies the stigma of mental illness.
The film will have its premier at The Atlantic International Film Festival in Halifax on Saturday September 15th at 4pm with Catherine and myself in attendance for an extensive Q and A. Catherine will be playing a short concert of her father's songs at a party after the screening. The film will then travel to The Lunenburg Documentary Festival on Friday September 21st at 2:30pm for a special screening, preceded by a special short concert by Catherine. It is the Opening Night Film at The Rendezvous with Madness Festival in Toronto at 7pm on Wednesday October 10th. Catherine to be performing at that festival as well. It will then return home to Prince Edward Island as the Opening Night Film at the Charlottetown Film Festival on October 12th. It has also been invited to screen in October at Toronto’s Rendezvous with Maddness Festival (a multidisciplinary arts and film festival) in October.
The Song and the Sorrow explores themes of mental health and parental legacy. It also considers the relationship between mental health and creative expression. Apart from film festivals, there are plans in the works to take the film on tour in Atlantic Canada and to partner and outreach with organizations that have a stake in the documentary’s subject matter. Catherine MacLellan has dedicated herself to speaking out about mental health, and has utilized the power to song to reach people through beauty and metaphor. She welcomes the opportunity to use this documentary as a platform to further the conversation.