Cat Ellington

Author

1970 –

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Who is Cat Ellington?

Cat Ellington (born Kimberly Monique Hart; 28 November 1970 to parents Ezell Ellington-Jenkins and Linda Marie Hart) is an American songwriter, casting director, poet, and author from Chicago, Illinois. She is best known for her work as the principal casting director on the forthcoming feature film Dual Mania, and as the author of Reviews by Cat Ellington: The Complete Anthology. Ellington is also recognized as the co-author of The Making of Dual Mania: Filmmaking Chicago Style, an effort on which she collaborated with fellow writers B.J. Patterson and Joseph Strickland, the latter to whom she is married.

The youngest of two children, Ellington grew up in the Historic South Side communities of Kenwood/Hyde Park, Jackson Park, Washington Park (where both she and her older brother, RaVan Hart, attended Edmund Burke Elementary School), Bronzeville, and Douglas. It was in the Douglas community that the family would come to dwell after inflation forced them from their Washington Park habitation in 1979, settling into their new confines in the Harold Ickes Homes, a Chicago Housing Authority development situated along the so-called "low end" of the South State Street corridor.

Both Ellington and her brother attended John Charles Haines Elementary School in the South Side Chinatown community from 1979 to 1983 before they were once again relocated to an entirely different environment quite foreign from their own: the state of Minnesota. With the acceptance of a job offer, Linda would pack her family up and head north to the quiet town of Saint Paul.

Cat Ellington completed her 8th grade credits while enrolled in St. Paul's Ramsey Junior High School from the fall season of 1983 to the summer of 1984. From there she would enter her first year of high school as a student at St. Paul's Highland Park High School in the fall of 1985 where she would study in her crafts of music and writing until her graduation year of 1988.

In the summer of 1991, Ellington, overcome with homesickness, would return to her nativity of South Side, Chicago to pursue her creative dreams and find work to support herself until she broke ground. Her first job would be at a popular marketing research firm in the city's Gold Coast district. And during the summer of 1992, while still working at the same firm, she would meet a fellow artist named Joseph Strickland, an aspiring filmmaker from Chicago's West Side, and the two would form an instant friendship. Over the next year, during the summer of 1993, Ellington (who elected to adopt the surname of her father in both her private and professional lives) and Strickland, having grown quite close, would take their friendship to the next level, embarking on both a fun-filled romance and a professional partnership in the creative arts.

It was while Ellington and Strickland were enjoying a quiet date night at his North Side apartment in the city's Edgewater neighborhood that he had given her the first draft to a screenplay he had been working on titled Dual Mania, asking her to read it while he prepared dinner. And Cat, after reading through the original treatment, fell in love with the script and its characters, immediately urging the new man in her life to get the ball rolling on the production process. And heeding her advice, Strickland did just that. Soon after, the couple put their creative heads together—his as a writer, producer and director; hers as a songwriter (she would contribute original songs to the film soundtrack) and a casting director (hired by Strickland after he discovered her impressive gift for picking the perfect talent to portray fictional characters)—and delved into the creative duties of bringing the magnificent screenplay to life for the silver screen.

Though its travelers were determined, the road ahead proved to be quite challenging for Strickland and Ellington, especially in the power-hungry Chicago where many rose in opposition and one obstruction after another threatened to halt the couple's efforts. Huge turnovers with their cast and crew members, not to mention a persistence in money woes, only served to make the creative process that much more difficult. But by late December of 1994, only days before their wedding date, Strickland and Ellington had begun to make strides. They had still not completed casting on the project, but they were making strides. And by March of 1999, despite many setbacks in the years prior, principal photography on Dual Mania would be complete; however, the feature film would stall on its theatrical release, diverting instead to the proverbial shelf where it would lay "comatose" for the next seventeen years.

During that extensive down time, Ellington and Strickland raised their family and continued to create, completing scripts, dozens of songs, books, and tens of poems. And in March of 2012, the couple would reemerge in the digital world, acquainting themselves with the so-called Internet Sphere. By September of 2018, their creative baby, Dual Mania, would finally awaken from its long, sedated coma and recharge itself on the international film festival circuit. And by January of 2019, the film would be the winner of ten film festival awards, including bronze, silver, and gold trophies for Best Feature Film, Best Director (Joseph Strickland), Best Screen play (Joseph Strickland), Best Actor (Joseph Plummer), and Best Actress (Sherrice Eaglin), from such notable events as the Royal Wolf Film Awards in Los Angeles, The Pinnacle Film Awards in Hollywood, and the Mindfield Film Festival in Albuquerque.

The year 2018 would also be the breakout year for those individual works of literary non-fiction written by Ellington and Strickland over a course of many years, including Reviews by Cat Ellington: The Complete Anthology, Vol. 1 by Cat Ellington (Quill Pen Ink Publishing, April 30, 2018), Reviews by Cat Ellington: The Complete Anthology, Vol. 2 by Cat Ellington (Quill Pen Ink Publishing, September 4, 2018), and The Making of Dual Mania: Filmmaking Chicago Style by Joseph Strickland, B.J. Patterson and Cat Ellington (Vital Vision Publications, September 4, 2018), the latter a collaborative effort between the three authors. Reviews by Cat Ellington: The Complete Anthology, Vol. 3, the third release in the Cat Ellington book series, and to which Joseph Strickland contributes the foreword, is set to be released in April of 2019.

On February 12, 2019, the Cat Ellington-cast Dual Mania, still holding down a presence on the international film festival circuit, received an official selection from the Rome International Prisma Awards to feature in a live event screening on March 5, 2019 in Rome, Italy. The date is set to mark the initial release of the highly anticipated feature film.

Cat Ellington lives in Chicago with her husband Joseph Strickland and their three children.

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Born
Nov 28, 1970
Chicago, Illinois
Also known as
  • The Hardest Working Woman in the Arts
  • CE
  • Babyshape
  • The Spitfire
  • Maestro
  • Kimtrain
  • Kimmie
Parents
  • Ezell Ellington-Jenkins
  • Linda Marie Hart
Siblings
  • RaVan Hart
Spouses
  • Joseph Strickland
    (1994/12/31 - )
Children
  • Nathaniel Strickland (Son, Born 1996)
  • Nairobi Strickland (Son, Born 1999)
  • Naras Strickland (Daughter, Born 2004)
Nationality
  • United States
Profession
Employment
  • Songwriter
    (1981 - )
  • Casting Director
    (1996 - )
  • Poet
    (2004 - )
  • Author
    (2018 - )
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