To coincide with our Fine Cut festival, KCET is conducting interviews with the participating filmmakers. Here, we speak with Katherine Kearns, the director of "A Family Like Mine," about her life, her father, and her influences.
"A Family like Mine" is an especially interesting documentary because you yourself are one of the subjects of the film. Did you ever have any anxieties about this decision and the story you chose to tell?
While making the film, I never had any anxiety about what we were doing. I always knew that I wanted to be honest about my life and I knew I was making the film with people that were all very open minded and already had an understanding of what my life was like. Yet, I did have a bit of anxiety about screening the film for the first time. I wasn't sure how people were going to react or if people would think of me differently. But, ultimately, looking back, I don't think I should have been as nervous as I was.
Your father, Michael Kearns, is a well-respected and prolific actor, writer, director, teacher, and GLBT activist. What was it like growing up in this world?
It was AMAZING growing up with my dad! He is truly the best person in the world. He taught me to be the open-minded, caring and loving person I am today. Growing up and watching him fight for what he believes in via art taught me that I too can express myself through art.
You have made a number of short films, but this was your first documentary. How does the documentary process compare to creating a fictional work?
Well, in my case, the difference between documentaries and fiction are that documentaries are so personal. It was such an amazing experience to meet with people who know what you're going through and have them be willing to tell their stories and share them with rest of the world.
Who do you consider some of your greatest artistic inspirations?
I think my greatest inspirations are Steve McQueen (the British director) and Mike Leigh. They both make narrative films yet they make their stories and characters so compelling and honest. There aren't a lot of films (especially in Hollywood) that are willing to go beyond the norm and expose universal truths in film.
What's next for you?
Well, I've just finished applying to college, so my goal is to continue my education in film.