Lauren Z Ray

1. Your project was entered into our festival. What is your project about?

As their population dwindles, their businesses are all about gone, this town in rural Monterey, Indiana fights to stay alive. An in-depth look into small town life, "Welcome to Monterey" follows a town's journey to their 20th annual Labor Day Festival, capturing the people's passions and doubt about whether this town has a future in today's world.

2. What are your ambitions with your project?

To tell the story so that people understand what's happening in small rural towns in America.

3. Tell us something about your shooting? What pleasantly surprised you?

My family moved from Germany to this small town in the 1850s. It was amazing to interview people and find out so much about my family and their early beginnings.

4. For what group of spectators is your film targeted?

Anyone who has a connection to small towns.

Welcome to Monterey signjpeg

5. Why should distributors buy your film?

Though the story may have been told before, this town specifically is incredibly unique with its quirkiness and the fact that most of the people who live there are related.

6. How would you specify your work? What characterizes your film?

You can tell by watching how natural and relaxed the people are when telling their story.
7. Why did you decide to become a filmmaker?

I have been making films since I was old enough to hold a camera. I also have always loved telling stories, and I am very good at it too.

8. Who is your role model?

My role model is any female film director.

9. Which movies are your favorites? Why?

My favorite movies are The Lord of the Rings trilogy. The amount of stories and journeys in that film are enough to fill my bucket, and I love that.

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10. Where do you look for inspiration for your films?

I get inspired whenever I realize there is a story that needs to be told and no one has told it yet.

11. Which topics interest you the most?

I love history and I love people - so anything with that.

12. What do you consider your greatest achievement in your career?

With this documentary, "Welcome to Monterey", I was able to capture a town and its personality so well that its current and past residents told me so. To me, telling a story correctly and entertainingly is a great achievement.
13. What do you consider most important about filming?

The most important thing is a good story.

14. Which film technique of shooting do you consider the best?

The best film technique is whatever one you choose. Just go out there and start filming.
15. How would you rate/What is your opinion about current filmmaking?

I think it's the best it's ever been. People are taking real chances and telling new and diverse stories.

16. What can disappoint you in a movie?

If the script is too predictable.

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17. Who supports you in your film career?

My partner Lukas and my family, especially my godparents and my grandma.

18. What are the reactions to your film? (opinion of spectators, film
critics, friends and family)

Everyone was so surprised about how good it was, kind of a backhanded compliment, but they had never seen my work before so that's ok. I knew it was good, so I was happy everyone else enjoyed it too.

19. Have you already visited any of the prestigious film festivals?

Not yet!

20. What are your future plans in your filmmaking career?

I am currently working on another project, a Documentary about a local theater production in my hometown.




Director Biography:

Director Lauren Z. Ray grew up in a small town called Logansport, Indiana. She enjoyed making videos as a kid with their family videocamera and roping all her friends to be in them. After graduating High School, she moved to New York City to attend acting school at the New York Conservatory for Dramatic Arts. After completing the program, she then moved to Los Angeles where she was an actress in several t.v. shows and commercials. Stepping behind the camera for the first time in her documentary film 'Welcome to Monterey', she returned to her home state of Indiana to follow her passion to document her family and the small town they are from. She now travels the world full-time working as the director for a hit YouTube channel.