September 25 only
“Catherine’s Kindergarten is something really special, one of those films that I’m now bothering my friends and family about, saying ‘Hey, WATCH THIS, I promise you’ll thank me.’ Congratulations, I believe this film will have a positive effect on the world.” – Chris Bauer, Rude Horse Productions
Q&A after the screening with directors Kaye Cleave and James Daggett!
How do you go on when your world is shattered? In 1998, Kaye Cleave is a successful businesswoman with a strong community, including her ex-partner Nicky, and a beautiful eighteen-year-old daughter, Catherine. After Catherine graduates from the Waldorf School, she takes a gap year, traveling to Melbourne with a girlfriend. Six months later, she dies from an overdose and Kaye is thrust into the terrifying underworld of grief. Overcome with shame and guilt, she flees Australia for the anonymity of San Francisco. As she wanders around Haight-Ashbury, she reflects on who she is now. “Am I still a mother if I have no children alive? And if I’m not a mother, then who am I and who do I want to be?” A chance encounter with Prakash, a young Nepalese student marks a turning point. Kaye decides to support his dream of building schools in his remote district of Western Nepal, raising money to fund a kindergarten in memory of her daughter. Then she embarks on the gruelling journey to Prakash’s village in the shadow of the Himalayas, sharing insights along the way she has gleaned about grief and loss. Thirty minutes before the official opening of Catherine’s Kindergarten, Kaye breaks down in her sleeping hut, sobbing, “fuck you Catherine, fuck you for dying and leaving me.” She composes herself for the ceremony and the film ends with Kaye showing us how she simultaneously holds the joy and the grief of her devastating loss.
Catherine’s Kindergarten offers the viewer hope, even in the darkest of times. It is an intimate and exposed piece of storytelling, celebrating the resilience of the human spirit. Shaped by Kaye’s honest and confessional-style narration, the film demonstrates the value of being true to yourself and following an open-hearted path. As Kaye says, “how far would you go to restore your broken spirit?”
Directed by Kaye Cleave and James Daggett. 2021. 70 min.
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