PEI

Catherine MacLellan 'feeling a little vulnerable' about new documentary

A new documentary about Catherine MacLellan and her relationship with her father, music legend Gene MacLellan, and the struggle with depression both of them experienced, will have its first public showing next month.

'I actually feel now like I know him more intimately than I ever did'

The Song and the Sorrow will have its first public showing at the Atlantic International Film Festival in Halifax next month. (Mille Clarkes)

A new documentary about Catherine MacLellan and her relationship with her father, music legend Gene MacLellan, and the struggle with depression both of them experienced, will have its first public showing next month.

The film, The Song and the Sorrow, is a three-year project with P.E.I. filmmaker Mille Clarkes.

"I'm really excited to have it finally be viewed by people," MacLellan told CBC's Matt Rainnie.

"I'm also feeling a little vulnerable about it because it's a really personal look at my life, which is a beautiful thing and I'm happy that I can share it, but I guess I'm a little nervous."

When Clarkes first talked to MacLellan about doing a documentary, her plan was for it to be about the father-daughter relationship and musical lineage. But MacLellan felt it was time for a deeper discussion about mental health, a theme she also includes in her current stage show about her father and his music.

"That was really brave," said Clarkes.

"I knew a little bit about Gene's struggles with mental health and I knew a bit about the family history but I was too nervous to broach that when I first talked to Catherine."

A new way of knowing her father

For years Clarkes followed MacLellan around as she toured and they sought out people who knew her father, including Lennie Gallant, Ron Hynes and Anne Murray.

MacLellan had been holding the memories of her father close since his death by suicide in 1995, when she was just 14. Going out and talking to people who knew him as adults had its difficult side. She found she was losing her own sense of him.

But just as she felt she had lost him completely, a new picture began to emerge.

"Getting to do this film and getting to do the stage show I actually feel now like I know him more intimately than I ever did," she said.

Catherine MacLellan and Mille Clarkes spent three years together making the film. (Matt Rainnie/CBC)

The film will premiere at the Atlantic International Film Festival in Halifax on Sept. 15. It has been completed for some time, and MacLellan watched it for the first time with her mother and Clarkes.

"There was a box of Kleenex and some tears and lots of laughs too," she said.

"Mille did an incredible job of capturing everything that happened and reaching a deeper part of me that I don't usually talk about."

P.E.I. audiences will have a chance the see The Song and the Sorrow when it opens the Charlottetown Film Festival in October.

More P.E.I. news

With files from Island Morning

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