Tuesday, September 10, 2019

Megan McGarvey and Katie Lindow Discuss Outsourced, Their Documentary Film About a Decision at UWS

Megan McGarvey with Katie Lindow
Last Friday a schedule for the upcoming Catalyst Content Festival was posted online. Having thrown my hat in the ring as a volunteer, I was eager to see what would be happening when so I could schedule accordingly. (I believe volunteer opportunities still exist if you are interested yourself.)

Two films especially interested me. One of them features Jeffrey T. Larson, founder of the Great Lakes Academy of Fine Art here a few years ago. (Watch the trailer.) A second is a documentary selection titled Outsourced: The New Wisconsin Ideas.

Outsourced is a documentary about the abrupt suspension of over two dozen programs at the University of Wisconsin Superior on October 31, 2017. The film digs deeper into the aftermath and the real impact of those suspensions, from faculty, students, and the community of Superior Wisconsin. The documentary doesn't just highlight this event but it expands beyond it and looks into why these suspensions occurred in the first place. It's a deeper look into the budget cuts to higher education both in Wisconsin and across the country.

Megan and Katie in Superior.
The director and producer of the film, Megan McGarvey and Katie Lindow, are UWS alumni who say they love UW- Superior as an institution but do not condone the decisions made in secret. felt we needed to tell this story. The two submitted their film to eight film festivals before getting accepted as part of the Catalyst Festival. They considered it important that Catalyst is committed to independent and small creators in both traditional media and new media.

The interview here was originally with director Megan McGarvey. Afterwards II was interested in hearing the producer's answers to the last two questions as well.

EN: How long have you been making movies?

MM: I started making films professionally June of 2018 so just over a year now.

EN: What motivated you to your documentary Outsourced: The New Wisconsin Idea?

MM: Katie, my producer, and I were really motivated to make this film because we both care deeply about UW Superior and all of the people who were effected by the suspensions that occurred on October 31st 2017. As alumni we felt like we needed to preserve this moment in UW Superior's history, and share the voices of those people who were directly impacted by these suspensions, and to look deeper into what those suspensions meant for the entire UW System.

EN: What is it that makes movies such a potentially powerful medium?

MM: Cinema, and media in general, is such a powerful medium for story telling because it can be the most authentic piece of truth or the most beautiful illusion. Narrative filmmakers have the ability to completely construct a reality. Documentarians have the opportunity to share stories that are preserved truths.

Personally, the story we tell in Outsourced is a very complicated one, however with the power of film we were able to drop audiences into the actual experience of what it was like to be a student at UW- Superior. You get to see never before seen forum footage, and be a part of protests that only students or UW Superior Faculty knew about. You get to hear from experts and eye witnesses and that is definitely a more powerful method of story telling than me gabbing all afternoon about one event.

Scene from . film. Vigil in Superior.

Getting the angle right.
EN: You submitted this film to nine Midwest festivals. Is Catalyst the first to accept it?

MM: Yes, Catalyst will be our first festival, and my first film festival ever!

EN: What were your biggest takeaways from working on this project?

MM: The biggest take away from working on this project is that whatever you do, do it with passion and zeal. Katie and I would spend hours at her kitchen table editing on two standard laptops combing through over a hundred hours worth of interview footage every Sunday together for a year. We would meet each other at work watching cuts of the documentary in between dinner breaks. Neither of us had all of the professional equipment, and we definitely didn't have money but we put our hearts and souls into this film. It was with that passion that we were able to finish this film and we feel so blessed that we get to share this film with Catalyst!

EN: How have you been personally changed?

MM: I've been personally changed in a lot of ways. I have changed in how I approach projects now and how I would like to execute them. I also feel this deep connection towards anyone who has allowed me to be a part of their story and I take great care of that story once it is given to me. I respect my subjects so much and I am always so grateful when someone will agree to sit down with me. If everyone would have said no to me then Outsourced wouldn't exist! I really got to experience just how collaborative this medium is and it is still one of the best experiences I've ever had and I can't wait to start on my next project!

Producer Katie Lindow was also  asked these last two questions.

EN: What were your biggest takeaways from working on this project?

Katie Lindow: The biggest takeaway for me is how important it is to have passion for the project. This is a subject we both care deeply about, so it was important for us not only to complete this film but to also create something we felt could stand on its own for a larger audience. The other takeaway would be the importance of having a well-thought-out process in place to get through this film. Megan and I both work full-time careers and also hold second jobs, so we were really structured in what our goals each week were. We had the entire film mapped out with completion dates long before we really got into the editing process. Having a plan really allowed us to stay on schedule and create a beautiful end product without feeling rushed.

EN: How have you been personally changed?

KL: Since Megan and I were the only two people working on this project, we really had to become jacks-of-all-trades. In my role, I juggled fundraising, screenings, marketing, and had a hand in editing the project, while Megan became the cinematographer, director and editor. Time management became something that was incredibly important, and something that I'm happy to say I've succeeded in.

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Related Link

Catalyst Content Festival

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