Abbeville: Lynching In America

Filmmaker Q&A with Director Juan Mejia

Is there a particular documentary film or filmmaker that had a major influence on your career?

Joshua Oppenheimer


What motivated you to make this impact video?

I am committed to fighting and exposing white supremacy and I was deeply moved my the powerful work that EJI does day in and day out in this regard.


Please tell us what camera(s) you shot with primarily – and any other special equipment that you used and why you used it.

Sony FS7 4K, Sony A7S II 4K, Movi Stabilizer


Please tell us about any special styles or techniques that you used during the production of your film to help tell your story.

We try to be always in the mix; make sure we are in there where things are happening. Always being respectful but always present and paying attention to what is going on. This allows us to read the energy of the moment and be better prepared to follow the action and capture the most powerful moments.


How did your story evolve from day one, to the very last day in post? Is your story what you thought it would be?

Initially we conceived it more as the straightforward documentation of an important event, but as the day evolved it became a much more emotional piece delving into the powerful and compelling effects that this act of remembrance evoked. It was amazing seeing first hand the impact of the work EJI does on the ground.


Please describe the most rewarding experience you had while making this impact video.

Seeing the tremendous engagement that the video generated on social media. So many people commented and had really amazing discussions about it.


What advice can you give to other impact filmmakers?

Allow your political convictions to drive your work… forget notions of “objectivity”.


What’s your favorite part about the filmmaking process and why?

I love being on the ground, meeting people, listening to stories. A lot of our work is spent in front of a computer, writing or editing. But you recharge being out there and seeing change being made.


What’s the one item you always take with you when working out in the field and why?

Besides the camera? A good book in case I get stuck at an airport or train station.


What do you want audiences to take away from your film?

We need to face our history. We haven’t confronted the depths of the legacy of white supremacy in this country. Until we do so it will be difficult to pretend to address racism and discrimination.


Please list key points that should be covered in a post-screening discussion:

White Supremacy, legacy of racism and terror, what really happened after Jim Crow and reconstruction? Why is it important to recognize and acknowledge this history?


Please provide any additional resources (websites, links to additional videos, forms, articles, etc.) relevant to the context of the issue discussed in your video:




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