An 85 year old African-American WWII vet, husband, and father born in Baltimore, MD but living in Milwaukee, WI is the subject of an inspirational documentary entitled “Clarence.” The documentary follows Clarence Garrett as he picks up where he left off 50 years ago and enrolls at the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee to complete his undergraduate degree. Taking on such a task is no easy feat for Garrett who is faced with numerous obstacles completely foreign to an average 20-something in college. Blood clots left him with a stubborn infection in his leg making it difficult for Garrett to walk. He’s also battled prostate cancer and although in remission, the effects threaten to sideline Garrett altogether. Going to school in the 21st century is also a challenge for this octagenarian who must adapt to technological advances such as computers and the internet. Yet, you never see Garrett complain. His determination mixed with charisma, wit and infinite optimism are infectious and what makes this debut documentary from Kristin Catalano both inspirational and entertaining. Not to be overlooked are the cinematic gold nuggets like his relationship with best friend Brooks that will have you wondering “If a Private goes AWOL, who is responsible?” and when Garrett mentors black youth in the community.
Add “Clarence” to your must-see list at this year’s Milwaukee Film Festival. Catalano’s documentary was chosen to be a part of Cream City Cinema- a category showcasing local filmmakers, although it would be of great interest to those attending films in the Black Lens or Documentary series’ as well. Below are dates, times, and locations that “Clarence” will be screened at the Milwaukee Film Festival. Catalano will host a Q&A after each screening.
- Monday, September 28 at 4:00 PM at Times Cinema
- Thursday, October 1 at 3:15 PM at Oriental Theatre
- Saturday, October 3 at 12:30pm at Fox-Bay Cinema Grill
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If you are not from Milwaukee area, keep your eye out for “Clarence” as it makes its way around the film festival circuit and hopefully lands a distribution deal. “Clarence” premiered at the 2015 Wisconsin Film Festival where the documentary received a Golden Badger Award.
- OnMilwaukee.com– ‘Clarence’ brings a big local personality to the big screen
- Madison.com– Wisconsin Film Festival: ‘Clarence’ a tale of perseverance by both subject and filmmaker
- NPR– 87 year old graduate shares life lesson