Alumna Stars in Film at Westwood International Film Festival

Alumna Stars in Film at Westwood International Film Festival
Alumna Katha Cato, as the character B on the left and Jeannie Noth as A, star in the film “Be My Oswald.”
“Be My Oswald” debuts at the Westwood International Film Festival on Oct. 6.

Cal Poly Pomona alumni have gone on to do some prominent work. But no alumni until now can be credited with developing a plan to assassinate Santa Claus.

OK … no alumni – that we know of – really wish to harm the mythical man in red. However, there is an alumna who plays such a person in a film debuting Friday at the Westwood International Film Festival.

Katha Cato, who learned the tricks of the trade as a Cal Poly Pomona theatre student in the early 1980s, stars as a woman named B in the film “Be My Oswald.”

The film will be shown Friday, Oct. 6 at 7:30 p.m. and Monday, Oct. 9, at 10:30 p.m. at Majestic Crest theatre in Westwood.  

“Be My Oswald” was written and directed by Cato's husband, Don Cato. It is the story of a militant vegetarian and her conspiracy to assassinate Santa Claus at New York City's annual Thanksgiving Day Parade.

According to the Catos, the film looks at the struggle between myth and reality within a micro cultural environment of two individuals whose bonding loyalty and trust clash when confronted by the truth. That struggle, much like children's shocking discovery about the truth of Santa, is a very rude awakening, they say.

“I love B; she is so simple, single minded,” Katha Cato says. “Her desire for her objective completely drives her every smile, every vowel and every consonant.”

The making of “Be My Oswald” took many years, she says.

“We really had a great time making the film,” Cato says. “We shot day for night, night for day. We shot in boiler rooms, friends' apartments, empty offices, delis and phone booths. Team Oswald is very resourceful and I am excited that other people will see the teams work.”  

Cato said she learned how to produce shows during her scrappy days with the Cal Poly Pomona Department of Theatre Arts.

“We hung the lights, moved the camera, fed the crew and left each location spotless,” Cato recalls. “We used every available resource at every location. Anyone who went through the Cal Poly theatre department when I did, knows that it was because of those 35 tech hours every quarter, on top of appearing onstage and maintaining our school work, that I learned how to self produce work that I love.”

She credits professor emeritus Bob Gilbert for teaching her how to be artistic.

“He just kept saying 'yes' to every one of my ideas … even the ones that stunk,” she says. He supported me in teaching, building, writing, producing, designing as well as acting. He never tolerated anything fake from me and even when I miss-stepped, he asked me to simply have another idea and keep moving forward into the creative process.”

Aside from playing a woman aiming to kill Santa Claus, Cato's is director of Afterschool Services for Henry Street Settlement where she supervises six after-school sites in New York City.

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