Cat Ellington (born November 28, 1970) is an American songwriter, casting director, poet, and author from Chicago, Illinois. She is best known for her work in the casting and music departments on the feature film, Dual Mania, as well as for authoring and co-authoring a collection of nonfiction books, including the Reviews by Cat Ellington series and The Making of Dual Mania: Filmmaking Chicago Style .
Early life & Education
Born Kimberly Monique Hart to unwed parents Linda Marie Hart and Ezell Ellington-Jenkins, Cat Ellington - the youngest of two children - grew up on Chicago's South Side with her mother and her older brother, RaVan Hart.
And over a period of several years the clan, originally from the Hyde Park – Kenwood Historic District, would relocate to other legendary South Side, Chicago neighborhoods, including Jackson Park, Bronzeville, Washington Park (where both Ellington and her brother would attend William W. Carter School on 57th and S. Michigan Ave. and Edmund Burke Elementary School on 53rd and King Drive over the stretch of a few years), and Douglas, where the family would come to reside in the Harold L. Ickes Homes, a Chicago Housing Authority development sprawled along the so-called "low end" of the South State Street corridor, after inflation forced them from their Washington Park habitation in 1979.
Products of the Chicago Public Schools system, both Ellington and her brother attended John C. Haines Elementary School in the South Side Chinatown community from 1979 to 1983 before they were once again uprooted and moved to another location quite foreign to their own: the state of Minnesota. With the acceptance of an out-of-state job offer, Linda, herself an alumna of Dunbar Vocational High School, would pack up her small family and head north to the quiet town of Saint Paul.
Cat completed her 8th grade credits as a student at St. Paul's Ramsey Junior High School before transferring to Highland Park High School to begin her 9th grade year in September of 1984. Majoring in her creative crafts of music and writing, Ellington would remain a student at Highland until her graduation year of 1988.
Homesick and desperately craving the noisy hustle and bustle of her nativity, Cat would return to her beloved Chicago in the summer of 1991 and commence to support herself by working odd-and-end jobs in the city until the winter of that same year, when she would then find stable employment with a downtown Chicago marketing firm.
It was there that she met and befriended a fellow creative artist named Joseph Strickland, who, incidentally, just so happened to be putting the finishing touches on the second draft to an original screenplay that she would soon learn was titled "Dual Mania." With time, Ellington and Strickland's friendship would blossom and continue to grow with one learning more about the other, and vice versa. But in early 1993, the two would part ways after Cat left the firm for a higher-paying position elsewhere.
It wouldn't be until the summer of 1993 that the pair would reunite and embark on both a romantic and professional journey.
In the coming months, Ellington would read the script to Dual Mania several times, falling in love with the psychological thriller and immediately letting Strickland know that she "wanted in." The couple would soon put their creative heads together - his as a writer, producer and director; hers as a songwriter (she would contribute original songs to the film soundtrack) and as a casting director (hired by Strickland after he realized her impressive and natural gift for picking the perfect talent to portray fictional characters) - and delve into the creative duties of bringing the magnificent screenplay to life on the silver screen.
The casting process on Dual Mania would not be completed until 1996, the same year that principal photography got underway. And it would not be until the spring of 1999 that filming would wrap. However, the highly anticipated feature film would stall on its originally planned theatrical release, instead diverting to the proverbial shelf where it was to lay "comatose" for the next seventeen years.
But in 2018, "The Independent Feature Film That Could" emerged from its creative coma and re-energized itself on the international film festival circuit, debuting at the Alternative Film Festival live event in Toronto (Canada) in September of the same year, and going on to become a dominant force at various festival events, earning nine official selection laurels and winning a whopping thirteen awards in just four months on the world festival route.
Awards and nominations
By September of 2018, the Cat Ellington-cast Dual Mania would finally awaken from its long, sedated coma and recharge itself on the international film festival circuit.
And by January of 2019, the film would have already been the winner of sixteen awards, including one 2018 fall nomination for Best Mystery/Suspense/Thriller Feature Film from the Alternative Film Festival in Toronto; one 2018 nomination for Best First Time Director (Joseph Strickland) from the Golden Earth Film Award online film festival; two Best of the Month Silver Awards for September-October from the 2018 Royal Wolf Film Awards in Los Angeles; three Silver Awards for Best Feature Film, Best Director (Joseph Strickland), and Best Actor (Joseph Plummer) from the 2018 Pinnacle Film Awards in Hollywood; one Gold Award for Best Screenplay from the 2018 Pinnacle Film Awards in Hollywood; and four Bronze Awards for Best Feature Film, Best Director, Best Screenplay, and Best Actress (Sherrice Eaglin) from the Mindfield Film Festival in Albuquerque, New Mexico.
On February 12, 2019, Dual Mania, still holding down a presence on the international film festival circuit, received an official selection from the Rome Independent Prisma Awards to feature in a live event screening on March 5 2019 in Rome, Italy. The date is set to mark the initial release of the highly anticipated feature film.
On December 03, 2021, Vital Vision Records released Instrumentals: Music from the Motion Picture Dual Mania - a compilation EP of instrumental tracks composed by Cat Ellington and Joseph Strickland.
Reviews by Cat Ellington: The Complete Anthology, Vol. 1 (2018)
The Making of Dual Mania: Filmmaking Chicago Style (2018)
Reviews by Cat Ellington - The Complete Anthology Limited Edition Holiday Gift Set (Books 1 & 2) (2018)
Reviews By Cat Ellington: The Complete Anthology, Vol. 3 (2019)
More Imaginative Than Ordinary Speech: The Poetry Of Cat Ellington (2019)
Reviews by Cat Ellington: A Trilogy of Unique Critiques #1 (2019)
Memoirs in Gogyohka: A Book of Short Poems and Memoirs (2019)
You Can Quote Me On That: A Collection of Quotes by Cat Ellington (2020)
Reviews by Cat Ellington: The Complete Anthology, Vol. 4 (2020)
Reviews by Cat Ellington: The Complete Anthology, Vol. 5 (2021)
Reviews by Cat Ellington: The Complete Anthology, Vol. 6 (2021)
I Do: Sheet Music (2021)
The Book of Us: Sheet Music (2021)
I'm Still in Love: Sheet Music (2021)
Something in Your Eyes: Sheet Music (2021)
Gett Out: Sheet Music (2021)
Dual Mania (2018)
List of songs written by Cat Ellington
I Do (Jaki Cavins song)
The Book of Us (song)
I'm Still in Love (Jaki Cavins song)
Something in Your Eyes (Jaki Cavins song)
Gett Out (song)
I Do (Instrumental)
The Book of Us (Instrumental)
I'm Still in Love (Instrumental)
Something in Your Eyes (Instrumental)
Gett Out (Instrumental)
Instrumentals: Music from the Motion Picture Dual Mania
• The first thing I look for, in addition to a performer's range, is a performer's look in comparison to the character. That is very important to me as a casting director.
Cat Ellington wrote her very first song titled "The Baby's Song" when she was just ten years old.
She founded The Black Jaguar Music Company in 1982 after completing the musical composition for her song "Gluttony (The Shell)".
Cat Ellington placed the entire cast for the award-winning feature film, "Dual Mania."
She founded The Centaur Casting Agency in 1996 two months after "Dual Mania" went into production.
Soon after she completed 14 works of poetry for her literary collection in 2005, Cat Ellington founded Quill Pen Ink Publishing.
From April 2018 to November 2019, Cat Ellington authored seven published books and co-authored one.