Catherine Hubbard was a 6-year-old girl who loved animals. She wanted to run an animal shelter when she grew up and even had business cards printed listing her as the “Care Taker” of “Catherine’s Animal Shelter.” Tragically, she was killed during the Sandy Hook Elementary School shootings on December 14, 2012. Her mother, Jennifer Hubbard, is now making Catherine’s dream come true posthumously. This year, plans for the Catherine Violet Hubbard Animal Sanctuary will break ground in Newtown, Connecticut, on state land.
And there will be a documentary crew there to capture the story. Judy Plavnick and Dr. Katy Nelson of Sit. Good Girl Productions have been following the Hubbard family (including father Matt and 8-year-old son Frederick) since last fall and will be there through the sanctuary’s opening in late 2014. The result will be a film called Tell Them I am Kind, expected to premiere at the end of this year on public television.
But they’re currently in need of money to help the cost of production, and they’ve decided to forgo sites like Kickstarter (where they started, with a $150K goal, only to cancel it after a week) in favor of direct donations so that all the money goes to the project, and without a deadline (if you’re interested, visit tellthemiamkind.org)
I reached out to Sit. Good Girl to find out more about this sure-to-be emotional and inspiring documentary. Plavnick, a multi-Emmy-winning producer formerly of ESPN and Discovery, responded with some details on how she and Nelson heard about the story and why they decided to make a film about it. Here is what she wrote us via email:
“My business partner in Sit. Good Girl, Dr. Katy Nelson, heard about Jenny’s project and invited her to be a guest on her weekly show, The Pet Show with Dr. Katy, which airs on one of the ABC affiliates in the DC area. At the same time, she thought the story of Jenny’s journey to build an animal sanctuary in Catherine’s honor would make a great documentary, as did I.
“We met Jenny in June of last year, and once you meet Jenny it’s impossible not to want to help make her dream become a reality and to be a part of this incredible journey. Our way of doing that was to pitch the idea of a documentary to her, and thankfully she agreed. Jenny Hubbard is an amazing woman, to be able to turn the most horrible tragedy into something so positive takes a strength that most people don’t possess. And the more we learned about Catherine, and about Jenny and her family, the more we knew we had to tell this story.
“Jenny has the ability to make us change the way we look at tragedy. And isn’t that a story that everyone should see?
“We have a huge task in front of us, to raise the money needed to produce Tell Them I Am Kind. We are fortunate to have a broadcast home with Connecticut Public Television, and we are hoping for a larger audience. We’ve been shooting since November, and to be able to continue, we need support. A lot of support.”
Watch a video produced by the ASPCA about the Catherine Violet Hubbard Animal Sanctuary, which the filmmakers are using as an introductory trailer: