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P.E.I. film ‘The Song and the Sorrow’ picks up three awards


“The Song and the Sorrow”, directed by P.E.I. filmmaker Millefiore Clarkes, has been getting plenty of notice on the film festival circuit.

The documentary, produced by the National Film Board of Canada, tells the story of Juno- Award-winning musician Catherine MacLellan as she seeks a deeper understanding of her father and his legacy of struggle with mental health. Her father is the late Gene MacLellan who penned some of Canada’s most notable songs (“Snowbird”, “Put Your Hand in the Hand”). Gene grappled quietly with mental health issues and took his life when Catherine was 14.

Catherine is determined to turn this tragic event into a vehicle for advocacy. Now that 20 years have passed since her father’s death, she is ready to perform his music and talk openly about her experiences and her own struggles with depression.

The film premiered at FIN-Atlantic International Film Festival in September where it won best short Atlantic doc and then went on to win best Atlantic filmmaker at the Lunenburg Doc Fest. It recently won best documentary at the Silverwave Film Festival in Fredericton. It also opened The Rendezvous with Madness Festival in Toronto - screening at the iconic HotDocs Ted Rogers Cinema on Bloor St. on World Mental Health Day. It has gone on to screen at festivals across Canada, and there are plans in the works to align the film with music conferences and festivals in the coming months.

MacLellan and Clarkes have been accompanying the film to its various screenings, and MacLellan has given audience members a richer experience by performing her father’s music and engaging in extensive Q and As after the film.

Both MacLellan and Clarkes are thrilled that the film is receiving such warm responses.

“It was a three-year labour of love, and I know it wasn’t always easy for Catherine to go through these raw and emotional experiences in front of the camera,” says Clarkes, “but we both are now seeing the value in that process. The film seems to be reaching people and offering solace, insight and inspiration to deal with their own struggles.

“The film is also a celebration of Gene MacLellan - a unique and passionate person - and his music. The film is packed with Gene’s music and more people should hear it. It’s amazing stuff.”

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