“I was always the kid telling stories,” says filmmaker Lindsay Thompson, who remembers climbing over the fence of her family’s Baltimore row house to recount epic tales to the neighbors.
Raised on Narnia and missionary biographies, Thompson says she has always had an appetite for fairy tales and stories about Christian sacrifice. By the time she landed at University of North Carolina School of the Arts, Thompson had decided to dedicate herself to the craft of film.
“A big part of what I’ve been figuring out is how to create a culture where young artists can have that balance of faith and art.
Her first major documentary — “Travel Light,” which won several film festival awards — centered on her 2013 experience walking the Camino de Santiago de Compostela (Way of St. James) in Spain. It came from a longing, Thompson says, to better integrate her faith with her craft by experiencing raw community.
“A lot of Christianese talk is ‘we’re doing life together,’ but on the Camino it actually happens. On the Camino when all you had to do was walk and cook and do laundry with people, relationships build in a couple of days that might take years in the States. It made me realize how important it is to be in community. It’s doing the everyday life that will open up the vulnerability to talk about God.”
Three years later, while trying to figure out how to create a career as a filmmaker, Thompson was invited by teaching elder Andrew Holbrook to relocate from North Carolina to Connecticut, to be a part of his new church plant, Christ Presbyterian Church Fairfield.
Thompson paused. Many of her peers from film school were finding their ways in New York City and L.A., epicenters of filmmaking. But she knew from her experience on the Camino that she wanted to prioritize spiritual community over career.
“At times, I thought I looked a little stupid to friends who weren’t believers that I hadn’t moved somewhere where I could have jumped on any reality TV show and gotten work,” she says. “But the relationships I’m able to build now might not have happened if I had made a move for a job where I’m working 18-hour days on a film set.”
After working at Trader Joe’s for a year and a half to pay the bills, she got sustainable work in her field. She’s currently working on a series called “Dinner with Strangers” and recently contributed to a FOX Sports documentary about the one-armed pitcher, Jim Abbott.
“A big part of what I’ve been figuring out is how to create a culture where young artists can have that balance of faith and art. … How can I pave the way for younger artists to experience the fullness of God in community and be excellent in what they’re doing?”
Follow what Thompson’s up to at www.suchtalltales.com.