Actress and producer Mary Catherine Greenawalt currently resides in Los Angeles, but her roots are in the East Bay. Greenawalt was raised in Oakley, and her love of performing arts was cultivated in her youth when she participated in community theater.
Now, a 2002 graduate of Freedom High School, her childhood passions have led her to a leading role in the independent film Hudson, which she also helped produce.
“I’ve been in entertainment for a long time. I kind of always knew that I wanted to do it,” said Greenawalt.
In 2013 Greenawalt started working with director Sean Cunningham, forming the production company Hero Status Films. The pair produced several short films and commercials since starting their business venture together, but just last year Cunningham decided to move forward with a feature length film, and Greenawalt jumped on board.
“Last July was when Sean started writing it [Hudson] with his writing partner and then we went into production on October 18 of last year…it was madness. We shot the whole thing in 11 days and we worked 11 days straight,” said Greenawalt, about the conception and production of Hudson.
The film’s titular character deals with the losing his mother and, with the help of his cousin Ryan, decides to spread her ashes along the Hudson Valley. They face various trials and tribulations along the way, and ultimately have to deal with secrets that caused estrangement among the family.
On its surface Hudson is a story of loss, but Greenawalt explains that the film is nuanced and has themes everyone can relate to.
“This is a film about loss and connection. It’s about family, and it’s also about [self] acceptance. It’s light, there really aren’t any super heavy moments. As soon as a character might drop into a heavy moment, something snaps the audience out that makes you giggle,” said Greenawalt about Hudson.
Taking on a dual role as a producer and actress for Hudson kept Greenawalt busy, but she says she was prepared for the job.
“I’m the kind of person that’s a total multi-tasker and I tend to excel when I am put under that much pressure. I think from all the commercials that I had done, because I had thrown myself in front of the camera for a few of the commercials, I was prepared mentally. The wiring in my brain was already set up for as soon as the director calls cut, I can say ‘hey, we need to make sure lunch is going to get here in 45 minutes. Who is on that? Ok.’ And jump back in,” said Greenawalt.
Hudson was recently shown at the Syracuse International Film Festival, where it won Best Narrative Feature.
“It’s been so magical listening to audiences react to it,” said Greenawalt.
She continued, “So far the reactions have been so positive. We are kind of blown away. I mean, we are proud of ourselves and we’re excited but you just never know.”
With the film now complete Greenawalt, along with the rest of the cast and crew, are focusing on marketing and screening Hudson in front of audiences.
“At this stage in the game, we have already started talking about our next feature. However, we plan on dedicating the next festival season solely to Hudson,” said Greenawalt.
To all aspiring filmmakers, and content creators in general, Greenawalt says to keep pursuing your dreams.
“The beauty of telling stories is that there will always be a story to tell,” said Greenawalt.
For more information about Hudson and the film, visit: www.hudsonthefilm.com
Alexandra Riva is an East Contra Costa County resident who is a senior at UC Berkley where she is pursuing a Bachelor’s Degree in Media Studies with a minor in history. She is a graduate of Dozier-Libbey Medical High School in Antioch.