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KingWolf Interviews Melissa Gregory Rue on Her Latest project "Live Out Loud"

KingWolf catches up with Filmmaker Melissa Gregory Rue, to talk about her latest documentary "Live Out Loud" and her passion for film-making.

KingWolf catches up with Filmmaker Melissa Gregory Rue, to talk about her latest documentary "Live Out Loud" and her passion for film-making.

What inspired you to create your latest documentary "Live Out Loud"?

  • Not long before I started LIVE OUT LOUD, I watched the Academy Award nominated documentary Waste Land. As a former educator, I loved the idea that making art can empower those who feel powerless, whether it’s people sorting trash at the world’s largest garbage dump in Rio or people sleeping on the streets of Portland, Oregon. So when a friend told me he was part of a group who had received a grant to teach free video production classes to unhoused people, I jumped at the opportunity to document the program.

How did you go about researching and gathering information for the film?

  • First I researched Portland’s attempts to end its housing crisis. Despite the work of many city leaders over decades, the number of unhoused people was already escalating back in 2013 when I shot this film. Sadly, today tent cities are everywhere you go in Portland. It’s heartbreaking. A lot of people are drawn to the city because it’s known for its compassionate resources for people without homes. Unfortunately the programs that actually get people into housing are far from adequate. To familiarize myself with the scope of the crisis, I researched the local nonprofits who assist unhoused people as well as national and worldwide advocacy groups. I tried to form partnerships with some local organizations but had no luck. I think social service workers are stretched so thin that they just don’t have time for anything extra. The latest newspaper and magazine articles on homelessness were also a big help. But far and away I learned the most by actively listening to the stories of unhoused people who showed up to class every Saturday to learn about filmmaking.

How did you choose the individuals or groups featured in the documentary?

  • I chose Sumaiyya, David, and John on the basis of their personalities, diverse backgrounds, and their willingness to participate in the project and sign a release form. But honestly, it felt like they chose me. They showed up, and they stayed for the entire year. I’ll never forget the day Sumaiyya walked in the door with a huge smile and signature groovy shades in her tousled hair. I sensed immediately that she was special. For me, intuition plays a major role.

What message do you hope to convey to audiences through this film?

  • The isolation and stigmatization of homelessness tears people down, but the creative process can help them regain self-esteem and hope for the future.

Can you tell us about any particularly memorable moments or experiences while making this documentary?

  • They’re all in the film, and I don’t want to spoil anyone’s experience of watching it. I will say this—one of my favorite moments is at the end when unexpected guests show up to support Sumaiyya’s documentary screening. The timing of that scene was magical. Sumaiyya is dressed in red, hair wrapped up in a scarf, like a star of Hollywood’s Golden Age and the natural light hits her in the most ethereal way.

How did you decide on the style and tone of the film?

  • Given that I had no budget, cinema verité made the most sense. When you’re shooting verité, the tone is whatever the participants make it. I just had to show up with my camera every Saturday and capture the moments. Some days were joyful and some days were sad depending on what was going on in their lives. Some days were a bit of both. Such is life.

KingWolf catches up with Filmmaker Melissa Gregory Rue, to talk about her latest documentary "Live Out Loud" and her passion for film-making.

What impact do you hope this documentary will have on viewers?

  • We want to help cities rethink their approaches to uplifting those without homes. There’s no doubt that getting people into housing, with food and water are vital first steps. But there’s another side to solving this crisis—restoring self-esteem. We want this film to inspire people in other cities to create similar arts education programs for people experiencing homelessness. We seek both to give unhoused people a voice and to create greater understanding and empathy among residents of diverse communities.

Are there any upcoming projects you are working on that you can share with us?

  • Yes. I’m in pre-production on two short documentaries. One deals with my personal struggle with Lyme Disease and aims to expand on the conversation that other doc filmmakers with Lyme recently started. The other will be a participatory documentary with high school students in search for solutions to one of the biggest problems of our time

KingWolf catches up with Filmmaker Melissa Gregory Rue, to talk about her latest documentary "Live Out Loud" and her passion for film-making.

How do you see the role of documentary filmmaking in today's society?

  • Today many of us documentary filmmakers want to do more than just tell a powerful story that makes people think. We want our films to spark social impact work in communities that will create lasting change.

How can our followers and readers get updates about you and your projects? Your website or social media links?

KingWolf catches up with Filmmaker Melissa Gregory Rue, to talk about her latest documentary "Live Out Loud" and her passion for film-making.

Watch LIVE OUT LOUD on the following streaming links:

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