Next up for our team interview series is Catherine MacKinnon…
Jane Whitty: Can you tell us a little bit about your background in the arts and advocacy?
Catherine MacKinnon: My background is a filmmaker, and primarily worked as a producer and line producer for several film productions over the years. The biggest project of my filmmaking career as a Co-Producer, is the real life biopic of a UFC Fighter, Matt Hamill who is deaf. http://www.hamillthemovie.com
The feature length film, won an AFI Fest Breakthrough Audience Award in early Nov, in LA. I also do acting too, and was previously seen on “Kenny VS Spenny” (Showcase channel in Canada) and as an ensemble performer for DeafWest theater showcase “ASImprov” led by Tyrone Giordano. As for advocacy, I am all for an all inclusive environment, and making sure we have interpreters for deaf actors/actresses, and/or production crew who are deaf and hard of hearing etc. To encourage directors and writers to create more of a unique accessible storyline for everyone to enjoy. Not limitations.
JW: How did you first get involved with Voices From Chornobyl?
CM: How I got involved with VFC, DeafWest Theatre contacted me and asked if I’m interested to participate in the ensemble of a reading workshop with Antaeus theatre at the time. I said yes right away. It was a wonderful experience in working with Cindy Marie Jenkins as well as other cast whom I still keep in touch with today. 🙂
JW: Before getting involved in this project how educated were you regarding Chornobyl?
CM: Yes, I was already aware of Chornobyl disaster. I think when it happened almost 25 years ago, I believe I was in grade 6 class at the time. We talked about the effects the radiation had on people, and how the clouds are moving all over the country spreading the radiation. I still remember the black and white photographs in the newspaper that showed the reactor badly damaged. It was quite something. Never forgotten.
JW: How would you describe your current role in the team? What areas of the project are you working on?
CM: As for my current role it’s more of a co-writer working closely with Cindy Marie Jenkins on the Six character, to translate to ASL and the creation of the character, more of a “molding” into a character with deaf actors in it. I am really excited because the story needs to be told and it will be a very visual piece from the performers. I try to lend a hand wherever possible for the 25th anniversary awareness of the disaster, “Voices From Chornobyl”.
JW: Voices From Chornobyl is a multifaceted project. What is the one element you are most excited to see realized?
CM: What’s the one element most excited to see is the interactive play come to life! I think that’s the most exciting part! 🙂
JW: In your involvement so far what is the one thing you have learned about Chornobyl that you think more people should be aware of?
CM: Yes, I strongly believe more people should be aware of it. Not enough. I believe that with the 25th anniversary awareness, this will attract more media and PR. I talked to several of my friends and they all said ‘Has it been 25 years already?” 😉