Who doesn’t love a good underdog story? Like the story of a reclusive seven-foot-tall NBA basketball player-turned-cattle rancher. Or the story of an entire NBA team that was so bad they were forced to move to an entirely different country. These are the stories that launched filmmaker Kathleen’s career. Kathleen Jayme refused to let the underdog stories of her unlikely childhood heroes, Big Country Bryant Reeves and the Vancouver Grizzlies, go untold. She turned her super fandom (some may say obsession) into epic stories that have made thousands of viewers laugh and cry. She unearthed the heart, humour, humanity and happy endings in these stories of so-called failures and made people see them from a different vantage. It’s Kathleen’s true superpower as a filmmaker—to find epic and uplifting stories where you least expect to find them. And to redeem people that society and the media have labelled as losers, or even villains, like the murder hornets or hockey rioters.
Kathleen also happens to be an incredible collaborator who brings out the best in her creative partners and inspires her team to shine, which only drives them to want to make her work shine.
-Written by Michael Tanko Grand, Kathleen Jayme’s producer and collaborator on Finding Big Country, The Grizzlie Truth and I’m Just Here for the Riot
What do you do?
I’m a filmmaker. I’ve always had a camera in my hand to document everything, so this profession comes most naturally to me. I feel very lucky to do what I do and am very grateful to everyone who shares their story with me. I love working with my teams to bring meaningful and heartfelt stories to the screen!
What are you currently working on?
I just finished two feature documentary films. The Grizzlie Truth, about my beloved, ill-fated team, the Vancouver Grizzlies, is a film I’ve been wanting to make since I was in university. It’s available on Crave! I’ve also just completed an ESPN 30 for 30 documentary, I’m Just Here for the Riot, which I co-directed with Asia Youngman. We premiered the film in April at the Hot Docs festival in Toronto and are currently touring it around the film festival circuit.
My most recent short, The Unboxing of Paul Sun-Hyung Lee, was produced with the National Film Board of Canada as a tribute video marking Paul’s recent Governor General’s Performing Arts Award. It is now available on nfb.ca.
I have a few projects in development, but it’s been really nice to take a breather after working on these films for the past few years non-stop.
Where can we find your work?