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The Song and the Sorrow

The Song and the Sorrow

| 42 min

Musician Catherine MacLellan—the daughter of Canadian singer/songwriting legend Gene MacLellan—grew up surrounded by her father’s music. He died by suicide when she was 14. Two decades after his loss, Catherine is finally ready to confront the hurtful mystery of her absent parent and embrace his musical legacy.

The Song and the Sorrow follows Catherine as she journeys to understand her father and face her own struggles with mental illness. Through archival footage and intimate interviews with friends, family members, and musicians who knew and played with Gene—including Anne Murray, Lennie Gallant, and the late Ron Hynes—the film reveals a troubled and loving man who was never at ease with fame or money.

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.

This film deals with mature subject matter. Viewer discretion is advised

  • participant
    Catherine MacLellan
    Judith MacLellan
    Isabel MacLellan
    Philip MacLellan
    Lennie Gallant
    Scott Parsons
    Bob Mersereau
    Tanya Davis
    Ron Hynes
    Marty Reno
    Eric MacEwen
    Anne Murray
  • writer
    Millefiore Clarkes
  • director
    Millefiore Clarkes
  • director of photography
    Kyle Simpson
  • editor
    Millefiore Clarkes
  • sound design
    Simon White
  • music
    Devon Ross
  • producer
    Paul McNeill
    Rohan Fernando
  • story editor
    Andrew MacCormack
  • additional photography
    Millefiore Clarkes
    Curry Leamen
    Dane Cutcliffe
  • additional sound
    Mike Filippov
    Dan Caseley
    Curtis MacNevin
  • narrator
    Catherine MacLellan
  • transcription
    Lisa Clarke
  • archival clearances
    Sylvia Mezei
  • music clearances
    Sylvia Mezei
  • production supervisor
    Roz Power
  • technical coordinator
    Jean-François Laprise
    Daniel Lord
    Christopher MacIntosh
  • production coordinator
    Sarah Gignac
    Cheryl Murgatroyd
  • senior production coordinator
    Kelly Davis
  • program administrator
    Camila Blos
    Leslie Anne Poyntz
  • title design
    Jacques-Bertrand Simard
  • online editor
    Denis Pilon
  • on-line assistant
    Pierre Dupont
  • re-recording
    Serge Boivin
  • marketing manager
    Amanda Laukys
  • publicist
    Pat Dillon-Moore
  • legal counsel
    Peter Kallianiotis
  • executive producer
    Annette Clarke
  • executive director
    Michelle van Beusekom


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Ages 15 to 18

English Language Arts - CanLit
Health/Personal Development - Mental Health/Stress/Suicide
Media Education - Documentary Film

Warnings: Sensitive content (discussion of suicide).

An exploration of the life and death of musician Gene MacLellan by his daughter includes the impact of his suicide on her, and interviews with friends and family. Ideal for discussions of mental health and suicide. The stigma surrounding mental illness and depression often pushes those who live with it, including their friends and family, into silence. Why do you think Catherine MacLellan decided to tell her father’s story, as well as her own? As a class, discuss why it is recommended to speak about one’s personal challenges and struggles to friends, family or a health care professional. Why might people be afraid to speak about difficult personal matters? After viewing, research resources available for mental health and suicide prevention available locally and nationally.

The Song and the Sorrow
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