Melissa Gregory Rue

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Melissa on set.

As a child, I dreamed of becoming a writer but not in a million years did I think I would become a filmmaker. I grew up roaming the fields of my grandfather’s cattle farm in Bourbon County, Kentucky. No one I knew owned a video camera, much less worked in the film industry. Thankfully I had some inspiring English teachers and devoted parents who kept me engaged in a variety of extracurricular activities. I read a ton, got the acting bug and gathered what experience I could in my high school drama club and as an extra for commercials. Later I talked my way into Miami University (Ohio) to study theater. Not far into the program, I realized I wasn’t cut out for acting and switched my major to English Literature. My senior year I took a mind-blowing German Cinema class and got a lead role in a student film. That’s when the light bulb went off—I wanted to make films and be on the other side of the camera. But I also wanted to eat and pay my bills. At that point, film school sounded like a sure route to destitution. So I moved to Oregon and worked as a teaching assistant at Portland State University while earning my M.A. in English Literature. I went on to direct the writing centers at Marylhurst University and Clark College and eventually landed a full-time job as an English Instructor at Portland Community College. More than a decade after the light bulb went off, I started filmmaking classes at The Northwest Film Center. I juggled teaching and film school for several years before completing their certificate program in 2011. Since then I’ve written short films, produced and directed narratives and documentaries, and freelanced as a cinematographer. I have three projects currently underway. I'm in pre-production on a short narrative called "Esperanza's Turn," post-production on my documentary "To Live Out Loud," and writing a pilot for a series set in Kentucky.