FILMMAKER SPOTLIGHT: Lindsey Megrue, Producer THIS IS HOME
THIS IS HOME premiered at this year’s Sundance Film Festival and won the Audience Award for World Cinema Documentary. Salem Film Fest Selection Committee member Shelley Sackett had a chance to talk with producer Lindsey Megrue, ahead of THIS IS HOME’s New England premiere, which will take place at The Cabot in Beverly on Friday, March 23 at 6:45pm.
SS: You have Massachusetts roots, where and when did you live here? Did that influence your becoming a documentary film producer?
LM: I spent nearly twenty years living in Dorchester, the most diverse neighborhood in Boston. Growing up surrounded by such rich diversity was very formative for me – it made me more curious, it made me want to understand other people’s lives, experiences and points of view. I truly love making documentary films because it allows me not only the great privilege of getting to know and learn from people that I might never have crossed paths within my daily life, but also the honor of helping people bring their unique stories to a larger audience.
SS: How did you get involved with THIS IS HOME?
LM: I met director Alexandra Shiva in early 2016 just as the project was green-lit. I had recently seen her film HOW TO DANCE IN OHIO, which I admired for its intimate and sensitive portrayal of a group of young people on the autism spectrum. I was thrilled to hear she wanted to make a film about Syrian refugees arriving in America in the same style – a style that allows the viewer to get to know the subjects without talking heads or experts telling you what to think or feel, but rather through simple direct human connection. While other filmmakers were examining the war and the journey out of Syria, no one seemed to be addressing what happens next. The story doesn’t end when they reach safety; in fact, it’s just beginning. Given the scale of the refugee crisis, it is vital that these types of stories be told and I wanted to be a part of making that happen.
SS: What do you hope audiences take away from the film?
LM: First and foremost, I want audiences to connect with the film’s subjects, to have a deeper understanding of their lives and see them as individuals, not statistics. Then, I hope this connection and sense of empathy will inspire people to think about what they can do at the local level in their communities to impact the refugee crisis.
SS: What are you looking forward to at Salem Film Fest?
LM: Festivals are such a wonderful way to connect with the film community. I am looking forward to meeting not just the other filmmakers, but also the festival staff, volunteers and moviegoers. Some of the best conversations I’ve had about film were while waiting in lines at festivals. It’s wonderful to be immersed with others who are passionate about films.