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Reviews, &

War of Films Interview



First of all we would like to know a little more about you. So that the audience has as much information as possible. Who is Lisa Gray?

I am a combination of artist, activist, and healer. Documentaries can powerfully incorporate all of these aspects.  I use film to artistically bring together threads of truths discovered whether horrific or sublime into a story.  I invite the audience to help create positive change in horrible situations  or appreciation and joy of those things  magical & beautiful;  and by doing so, help repair the world.


How many years have you been making movies and how did you end up making movies?

As a young teenager, I created a short about escaping stress by hitting the road on a motorbike using a borrowed camcorder.  It was terrible in every single aspect–lighting, cinematography, sound, editing… and I was instantly love-struck–fascinated by the art form and the process.  Later, I created film shorts and began mixing film and activism.  Our Bus is On Fire is my first full length feature film.  It is my first film for public viewing.


Let's talk about your project. How long did it take from the initial idea to have it ready to be released?

The film was shot in 5 days and in post-production 2 months.  As a full length film goes, that’s a unicorn and will never happen again.


Can you tell us a bit about the process you've had with Our bus is on Fire? Is it self-financed or were you able to get financing?

This project was completely self-financed.  


No spoilers, but what will the public find in Our Bus is On Fire?


The audience will discover a new generation of clear-minded, informed, inclusive-leaning, erudite young people who are not afraid to name as well as  question what is; they  have solutions to offer, and  are ready and willing to create a better society. Their voices and their visions of our future are both illuminating and inspiring.


Have you been inspired by any other film of the same genre?


I was moved by other documentaries:  13th, Shoah, and most recently, All That Breathes.  The cinematography and intimate snapshot into the heart of the story without actually explaining the story was magnificent.


There are many creators who seek inspiration from other artists, literature, music, painting, etc. To create this work have you used references from other arts? If so, what are they?

I drew from feminist texts by Laura Bates, Emma, and others.  I was moved to action by political events within the USA, particularly the revocation of Roe v Wade, and other Supreme Court decisions that became wide sweeping.


We would also like to know more about your film preferences. We would love to know which directors you like and which are your favorite movies.

Alan Pakula, Ron Howard, Andrew Niccol, Sarah Polley,  Nora Ephron, Rory Kennedy, and of course, Speilberg.  I can appreciate and learn so many things from different directors of all genres, even those whose genres and styles are hugely different from my own.  Favorite movies?  So many…August Rush, Sophie’s Choice, Gattaca, Forrest Gump.


There are great classics of cinema considered masterpieces, but for us cinema is subjective and we also love films that critics may consider bad. Do you have movies that are not considered masterpieces but that you could watch over and over again without stopping? Which are?

I could watch August Rush over and over again.  I identify deeply with the main character in so many ways and his undying faith, love, vision, and pure magic is just exalting and contagious.


Your favorite black and white movie?

Speilberg’s Schindler’s List deeply haunts me every time I see it.  It is one of those movies that leaves an indelible mark on your soul, regardless of your religion or background.   I  was so caught up in it, I actually watched it several times before I realized it was a black and white film. 


Have you seen anything by Martin Scorsese? How would you define it in one word?


I have experienced several works by Martin Scorsese.  The word that comes to mind is “edgy.”


Your favorite 2010-2020 movie or series?

I loved one movie and was haunted by another.  Inception tickled my imagination and creativity. Room gnawed indelibly through me.


Your favorite actor or actress?

Tom Hanks creates characters that are instantly relatable and loveable no matter what. 


Changing the subject, one of the concerns of many creators is the lack of financing or opportunities that producers provide. What do you think about this?


I believe that if you wait for the perfect anything, including having “enough” financing, you will not make movies you were born to make.  Grab an idea that wakes you up at night and find others that share your passion about bringing the vision to life and just do it. The result might not be as shiny or slick as a big studio production, but it will have an undeniable clear voice and you will have incredible freedom to create.  After a while, lack of funding is just an excuse.


A very personal question, but… What are your strong points and weak points?

As a documentary filmmaker I feel the movie before it takes shape.  I am open to the truth revealing itself during the course of the film making, as opposed to going in with a set idea and shooting footage to show that.  Combined with the ability to see the common truths coming together to tell the story–this is a strength I am grateful for.


A point that I am developing is drawing the audience into the documentary without words, showing the story without dialogue or narration while holding everyone’s attention and hearts.  


Do you have experience on the festival circuit? As a filmmaker, how do you see film festivals? Where do you think they should improve?

Our Bus is On Fire has been awarded accolades as “Best Feature Documentary” and “Best Social Themed Feature Film” in 10 film festivals.  It is an official selection in more.  I support independent film festivals as I feel that this is where many of the films that are truly creative, daring, and society-shaping will come from.  As there is no big production company or marketing angle to satisfy, the filmmakers have more freedom to exercise their innovation.


I believe that film festivals are in their infancy as an industry and will only improve as the industry grows.  It has its growing pains, challenges, and attributes as does any fledgling industry. 


Do you have any other project in mind? Can you advance us something?

I am currently deep into filming a documentary regarding domestic violence.  I just interviewed Lundy Bancroft, author of Why Does He Do That? and the film itself revolves around the brutal murder of a young pregnant woman by her intimate partner and the search for his previous girlfriend who disappeared two years ago with him being the last person to see her alive.  


We can discuss advancing something.


Would you like to add something else?

I believe in challenging limitations. I believe that movies have the power to change the world quite completely.  And I feel that we can create exactly the world we want our children to live in.


Access the full interview on War of Films website HERE.


(843) 929-2033



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