With a commitment to unearthing diverse stories from her home state of Oklahoma to the far reaches of the globe, McKinleigh Lair wields a camera and a keen editorial eye to shape narratives that resonate across borders.
McKinleigh Lair is an experienced documentary producer and camera operator, currently based in Tulsa, Oklahoma.
She notably contributed to a number of award-winning projects as a freelance camera operator and associate producer for Vice News, which involved extensive travel across the United States. She works often with small verite-style crews on social-issue documentaries, having operated camera for the Peabody-winning Aftershock (on black maternal mortality) and Sundance award-winning Victim/Suspect (on sexual assault victims who are charged with crimes). As a digital storyteller working on RadicalMedia’s PBS American Portrait initiative, she shot/produced/edited 19 micro docs in Oklahoma, receiving personal recognition. Additional clients include Business Insider, PBS, ITV, Kartemquin Films, Firelight Films, the Obama Foundation, the Center for Investigative Reporting, and more.
Her directorial work includes a hard-hitting documentary on active shooter drills (streamed on PBS) and a conservation-focused documentary developed during her fellowship with the Alabama Rivers Alliance. In addition, she spearheaded an intercultural storytelling project in her hometown's German sister city, photographing over 40 unique stories during a recent US State Department fellowship year in Germany.
Early in her career, she supported curation at PBS American Documentary | POV and assisted in-office and on set at Kartemquin Films. A graduate of Ithaca College, she majored in Documentary Studies and Production with a minor in Anthropology. Her academic journey also included enriching study-abroad experiences in Seoul, London, and Jönköping, Sweden. For her senior thesis, she directed One Nation Under Guns, a project that earned a College Emmy nomination. Her passion for documentaries started in high school, with one of her early works receiving a Heartland Emmy nomination.
She owns a C300 mkii, Mavic 2 Pro drone, and sound gear, is a member of the Documentary Producers Alliance, Documentary Cinematographers Alliance, and has an FAA Part 107 certification.