Film Artist for October 2020: McKinleigh Lair

McKinleigh Lair is an emerging documentary filmmaker from Oklahoma who strives to facilitate timely societal conversations through observational storytelling. She has assisted on productions for The New York Times and Kartemquin Films, and currently pre-screens for POV and the Camden International Film Festival.

As a Southern Exposure Film Fellow in the age of COVID-19, Lair spent the summer of 2020 remotely collaborating with an Alabamian production team while directing and editing an environmental justice documentary from her home in Tulsa. As the Oklahoma representative for PBS American Portrait, she shoots and edits mini documentaries about residents in the community that raised her. A former collegiate tennis player herself, Lair is developing a new documentary following an OKC tennis program that supports underserved youth.

Her most recent film, “You Know the Drill” (2020), screened with PBS and the deadCenter Film Festival and is now up for a jury prize at the National Film Festival for Talented Youth (NFFTY).


WATCH “YOU KNOW THE DRILL”.

As a Park Scholar at Ithaca College (class of May 2019) she majored in Documentary Studies and Production, minored in Anthropology, and studied abroad in Seoul, London, and Jönköping, Sweden. Her senior thesis documentary, “One Nation Under Guns”, was nominated for the 2020 College Television Award (“College Emmy”). Lair was first introduced to documentary as a Jenks High School student under the guidance of Clifton Raphael. While in high school, she directed a short documentary that was nominated for the 2015 Heartland Emmy.

“Lately I’ve been trying to develop my voice as a filmmaker through identifying the stories that only I can tell,” said Lair. “Often when we share identities with the communities we are representing on camera, it leads to more authentic, empathetic representation. Being an Oklahoman will always be part of my personal story and it feels fulfilling to bring that part of myself to my work.”

For more information and a list of credits, visit McKinleigh Lair’s listing in the Oklahoma Production Directory.

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