Elizabeth Gray Bayne awarded GBF Women in Docs grant
We’re thrilled to welcome filmmaker Elizabeth Gray Bayne as one of our newest Women in Doc grantees!
Elizabeth is not only a filmmaker, she’s also a public health advocate. She earned her Masters of Public Health from Yale University and MFA in film from the Art Center College of Design in Pasadena, CA.
A member of Women in Film Los Angeles, BADWest, Film Independent and the American Public Health Association, Elizabeth is committed to using film to promote health and social issues in underserved communities. Since graduating, she has successfully bridged both worlds to produce PSAs and digital content for numerous institutions, health agencies and nonprofits, as well as write and direct several narrative short films.
Segments of her short documentary Safe Agua Chile have appeared on the Smithsonian Channel’s Design with the Other 90%, while her narrative shorts Las Chicas and My Best Asset aired recently on cable network Aspire TV’s American Black Film Festival (ABFF) Independent Series hosted by David Banner. Her digital video Introduce A Girl To Engineering Day, produced for the USC Viterbi School of Engineering, received six awards, over 30K online views and was recognized by Physics Today, Edutopia, Popsugar, and the National Science Foundation. Her web series about breastfeeding disparities in the black community Chocolate Milk has earned over 250K online views, screened at dozens of national health conferences and is currently being expanded into a feature documentary.
Elizabeth began documenting the black cowboy community in Los Angeles County three years ago and produced “Bulldogging” a short five minute documentary about attendees at the Bill Pickett Invitational Rodeo. The short focused on the hope of black cowboys to continue their legacy through their children and screened at the 2017 Black Association of Documentary Filmmakers - West (BADWest) Day of Black Docs.
Her upcoming Glassbreaker Films’ short doc about London and her family is a continuation of that earlier project.
To find out more about Elizabeth’s inspiration and what drives her, check out our 1 on 1 with her below:
Title of your Film:
Continuing a Legacy
Can you give us a summary of your film in 7 words or less?
One cowgirl’s season in the junior rodeo
Awesome, now tell us a little more about your film:
10-year-old London is the daughter of legendary jockey and exercise rider for California Chrome Dihigi Gladney. As she works to make a mark in the junior rodeo and step out from under her father’s shadow, her parents work to keep the family afloat and fund their daughter’s passion to compete.
What is your main goal with the film?
The main goal of my film is to tell a simple story about a girl competing in a sport she loves, while also shedding light on a lesser known aspect of the black community.
How did you find your story and your main character?
I started following the black cowboy community a few years ago after attending the Bill Pickett Invitational Rodeo and stayed in touch. Through my connections with this group I found London and her family.
Who else is working with you on your team to make this happen?
I’m fortunate to have a great team working with me to make this happen, including cinematographer Victoria Stein, editor Anedra Edwards, and composer JB Bontemps.
Why did you feel like this was a great project to pitch to us at Glassbreaker Films?
I felt like this project closely aligned with the Glassbreaker Films mission to highlight the stories of women and girls and my own interest in expanding perceptions of black identity by centering the film on the story of a black cowgirl.
What impact has Glassbreaker Films had on your film and/or on you as a filmmaker?
Up until now, I’d largely been focused on content with a social impact and thought this was a story that would only be interesting to me. But with the incredible support and encouragement from Glassbreaker Films, I’ve been inspired to also tell stories that come from my heart.
What was your reaction when you found our you'd been selected to receive a GBF grant?
Complete and utter gratitude.
Any advice to other filmmakers just starting out?
Just make something. Learn where you can improve and repeat.
What is your favorite part about being a documentary filmmaker or storyteller?
I like the independence of telling the story the way you see and feel it and the spontaneous nature of capturing life as it happens on camera. There’s no better way to humanize a subject whose been historically marginalized or stereotyped than by observing her everyday interactions with the people in her life. By highlighting the mundane, I’m able to show the universality of my subjects and help audiences relate.
Who's a (woman) filmmaker you admire? And why?
I really admire Andrea Arnold, the director of American Honey (2016), for her ability to capture narrative in way that feels as organic and poetic as a documentary. She made scripted feel like cinema verite and that’s a style that I admire.
Why is representation in storytellers and stories told so important, especially right now?
The more we tell everyone’s stories, the more we begin to see the world through each other’s eyes and the more empathetic we become. I believe this translates into making more space in the world for us to coexist with all our beautiful differences.
What's the best documentary film (digital/short/or feature length) that you've seen this year?
I don’t like answering questions like this, because there’s inevitably some film I forget, but I’ll say Step, a 2017 film by Amanda Lipitz about a high school step team in Baltimore, MD.
Favorite camera to shoot on?
My current camera, the Canon C300, which I was able to purchase through a generous CEDF grant from the Center for Cultural Innovation in 2017.
Favorite part about the filmmaking process?
I’ve heard this said before and I absolutely agree that coming up with the idea is the best part of the filmmaking process. Producing it is hell, then making it though to the other side to see the final product that evolved from your idea is the second best part.
Least favorite part of the filmmaking process?
The hell that is production.
Random fact no one would know about you?
I’m organized only because I’m overcompensating for my incredibly scattered brain.
Where can we find out more about you and your work? (Website)
Recent honors/awards or proud moments in your filmmaking career? Or with this film?
I’m currently producing three documentaries and am making a living as a full-time filmmaker, which a year ago just seemed like a dream. When I decided to stop treating my passion like a hobby, I buckled down and was fortunate enough to receive three grants in a 12-month period after years of rejection letters. I’ve been awarded generous grants to complete my documentaries from Glassbreaker Films, the Center for Cultural Innovation and the W.K. Kellogg Foundation.
Anything else about your film or working with GBF that we forgot to ask?
Can’t think of anything. Although I just noticed that my production company graybayne film/media shares the same acronym with Glassbreaker Films. That's kind of cool.