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Clarence
USA | 2015 | 76 min | HD projection
documentary | section: Wisconsin’s Own, Golden Badger Award Winners
Premiere Status: World

directed by: Kristin E. Catalano
cinematographer: Kristin E. Catalano
editor: Kristin E. Catalano
producer: Kristin E. Catalano
music: Frank A. Calarco
For African-American WWII veteran Clarence Garrett, education was always paramount. But his desire to see all four of his children graduate from college meant putting his own education on hold. So at age 85, the retired Army mechanic decides to enroll at UW-Milwaukee to earn the Bachelor’s degree he started 50 years prior. Exempt from the requirement of declaring a major, he’s free to take whatever courses interest him -- from Black Politics and City Government to Beginning Guitar -- in order to earn the 52 credits he needs to graduate. As he navigates contemporary college life, the ever-optimistic and gregarious Clarence perseveres through obstacles today’s average undergraduate student rarely has to face, such as a lack of basic computer skills, hearing loss, and poor memory. When he’s not busy studying, Clarence visits his family, exercises at the local YMCA, attends UWM sporting events with his new classmates, and hangs out with his old friend Brooks, a former heavyweight boxer with whom he has an odd, almost antagonistic relationship. Never afraid to speak up in class and celebrated for his contributions to the academic community, Clarence remains unflaggingly dedicated to his goal of finally graduating from college -- that is, until complications from an earlier battle with cancer threaten to prevent him from fulfilling his dream. Filmed over the course of 2 years, Clarence is an emotionally rich and uplifting portrait of a man who proves that you get out of life what you put into it.

- Amanda McQueen
Scheduled to attend: Kristin Catalano, Director
 
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