Experiencing Interruptions?

Commonground : Survivors

Most Chinese Elders are aware of the atrocities suffered upon the Jewish, homosexual and gypsy citizens across Eastern Europe during the Second World War. However most Eatern European Jewish Seniors are unaware that during the invasion of China in 1937 to the end of World War II, the Japanese military regime murdered almost 6,000,000 Chinese, Indonesians, Koreans, Filipinos, and Indochinese, among others, including Western prisoners of war. When representative from both groups came together to tell their stories, they found out that that they shared common ground, they are all survivors.

  • Donald Preston Cato
    Be My Oswald, Once Upon A Musical
  • Katha Cato
    Be My Oswald, Once Upon A Musical
  • Commonpoint Queens
  • Project Type:
  • Runtime:
    50 minutes 6 seconds
  • Completion Date:
    February 26, 2020
  • Production Budget:
    10,000 USD
  • Country of Origin:
    United States
  • Country of Filming:
    United States
  • Language:
  • Shooting Format:
  • Aspect Ratio:
  • Film Color:
  • First-time Filmmaker:
  • Student Project:
  • Invitational Private Screeing
    United States
    October 29, 2019
Director Biography - Donald Preston Cato

A former Landscape Architect, Don was raised on a specialty fruit farm in Fredonia, New York and has enjoyed a varied and wide ranging career winning awards for his films, photography, live performances, landscape design and contributions to his community.
He earned a BSLA and a BLA from Michigan State and his MLA from the University of Oregon and along the way found time to attend The Orson Welles Film School in Cambridge, MA, where he studied with Cinematographer Austin DeBesche and at the Maine Media Cinematography Workshop where he studied with Laszlo Kovacs and won the “Most Electricity” Award for his workshop short.
Among Cato’s many short films, his stop-motion Pipeline Patrol (1976) won a Silver Medal at the 26th Cannes Amateur Film Festival and was selected to screen by the National Film Board of Canada, the Stratford Ontario Film Festival, the Tokyo International Film Competition at the Tokyo National Museum of Modern Art, and earned an ANNIE from American Society of Animators-East.
In 1978, he made “one of the first American film journals” China Dawning, Behind Silk Curtains, a highly praised immersive documentary on The People’s Republic of China.
In 1986 he packaged and directed his first feature, Dixie Lanes, with Karen Black, Hoyt Axton, Moses Gunn, Tina Louise and Nina Foch which was released by Miramax in 1987 to over 40 countries and twice CBS Movie of the Week. His second feature, the award winning dark comedy Be My Oswald, has been critically compared to Dr. Strangelove and Shallow Grave.
Currently Don teaches at the New York Digital Film Academy and is the Artistic Director for the Queens World Film Festival.

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Director Statement

When invited to record the stories of these two groups, we discovered that both shared more than they could possibly imagine. While the telling of their storeis was healing, it was also the discovery of shared lived experiences that united the survivors.