Lindsey Grayzel, filmmaker, showed her first full length documentary entitled The Reluctant Radical on April 21 at the Portland Hollywood Theater. Portland, Oregon—the home of gray mornings and misty rains, also known as the greenest city in the United States—is where Lindsey Grayzel films and produces her most recent work.
Before creating The Reluctant Radical, Grayzel majored in Political Science at Bates College in Lewiston, Maine. “I actually don’t have a journalism background or a film background; I just kind of learned on my own on the job,” Grayzel confessed. Leading up to the creation of The Reluctant Radical, Grayzel had been making films for 20 years. At first, Grayzel worked in local television news stations, and then she moved on to making films for museums and non-profits. Franklin High School librarian, Sandra Childs, reflected on Grayzel’s earlier work. “She’s made a couple of different pieces about grief, counseling, families, and suicide. That’s what she said got her interested in trying to approach a subject that people don’t seem like they want to talk about,” said Childs. She took time off after having children, but when they got old enough to go to school, Grayzel started doing freelance film work.
The Reluctant Radical is the longest film produced from Grayzel’s freelance work. She was inspired to create this persuasive and informative documentary profiling Ken Ward, an avid environmental activist. When she initially met Ward, he was very forward about his extreme concern about climate change and global warming. His assertions that the global environment is on the verge of an irreversible collapse resonated with Grayzel, and she believed his efforts to fix the global crisis needed to be illuminated to the public. Grayzel started filming for The Reluctant Radical in July of 2015, and she didn’t finish until September of 2017.
Grayzel has ties to the Franklin community through librarian Sandra Childs. Grayzel and Childs have been good friends “for 21 years,” according to Childs. Childs convinced Grayzel to come speak to students taking video production, environmental science, and journalism classes in the Franklin Theater on April 9, to explain her experience making the film and getting arrested for filming Ken Ward’s act of civil disobedience. Prior to Grayzel’s visit, Childs also bought the rights to the film and allowed the Video Production teachers to show it to all their students before Grayzel’s visit to Franklin.
Grayzel plans on continuing to make freelance films on controversial conflicts in hopes of educating people on important issues and inciting change. In an interview with the Franklin Post, Grayzel said, “I strive for authenticity, even if it’s uncomfortable and especially if it’s uncomfortable.” When asked why, Grayzel replied, “Those are the stories that mean something.”