Synopsis: As their population dwindles, their businesses are all about gone, this town in rural Monterey, Indiana fights to stay alive. An in-depth look into small town life, “Welcome to Monterey” follows a town’s journey to their 20th annual Labor Day Festival, capturing the people’s passions and doubt about whether this town has a future in today’s world.
I was inspired to make this film ‘Welcome to Monterey’ because since 1845 my family has lived in the same small town of 200 people called Monterey, Indiana. I wanted to document what made this town so special and how they are coping in today’s modern world. As I started to get to know the people of Monterey, I realized that it isn’t an ordinary town, it’s one with a heart. The people here treat each other as family, which can be a good or bad thing, depending on the day of course. This film will always be special to me because it’s like a time capsule for my family. My grandfather was in this film and has since passed away. Now I not only have the beautiful memories of him telling me his life story, I also have it captured on film. The experience working on this film with my family has made me so proud of my heritage and so proud of myself for completing my first film.
Director Lauren Z. Ray grew up in a small town called Logansport, Indiana. She enjoyed making videos as a kid with their family videocamera and roping all her friends to be in them. After graduating High School, she moved to New York City to attend acting school at the New York Conservatory for Dramatic Arts. After completing the program, she then moved to Los Angeles where she was an actress in several t.v. shows and commercials. Stepping behind the camera for the first time in her documentary film ‘Welcome to Monterey’, she returned to her home state of Indiana to follow her passion to document her family and the small town they are from. She now travels the world full-time working as the director for a hit YouTube channel.