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iU Creator Spotlight: Ellie Gravitte
Ideas United works with a global community of creators to cultivate and support the next generation of filmmakers. iU Creator Spotlight features a closer look with a new creator every month.
Aug. 6, 2019 | By: Victoria Lightfoot
Director, Writer and Editor
Tell us about yourself.
I grew up in the small and shiny town of Ridgefield, Connecticut, with two brothers, a dog, a cat, and yes, 14 chickens. That’s an actual statistic. After a lot of sports, angst and emotional conversations, I landed at Brown University, where I got a theater degree to further stress out my actor-parents.
Somewhere in the middle of school I discovered that film was where my heart really lived, but theater was where I learned everything about storytelling. Theater and the dinner table, with those actor-parents, whom I love more than everything.
How did you get connected with Ideas United?
I connected with Ideas United through a female filmmakers initiative. Ten finalists were selected to pitch a commercial concept to a major broadcast network. iU was there from the moment I was chosen as a finalist through all the drafts of my pitch, the final selection of my concept, and every stage of production for the actual commercial shoot.
It was the kind of collaboration you dream about – my first professional directing opportunity, and I got to do it alongside this young, kickass company of people who went out of their way, time and again, to make sure that I felt supported – technically, emotionally, spiritually – I’m obsessed.
What project(s) are you currently working on?
I’m working on a few different projects at the moment, but the one I’m most excited about is a series I’ve written called SOMEONE LIKE ME. It’s a musical dramedy show about a singer who is at the convergence of all these personal and professional beginnings.
I directed a proof of concept for it last spring that I’m hoping to shop around this fall. Looking at you, internet! It was my first project out of college and definitely the thing I’m most proud of creating. I wrote the series because I wanted to watch a show that spoke to my own experience and, as far as lesbians go, I hadn’t seen that show yet. (sorry The L Word, it’s not you, it’s me).
What kind of work would you like to develop moving forward?
In terms of projects I’d like to develop moving forward, it’s always been important to me to center queer stories in my work. I want to make films and TV shows about queer women that have joy. Women who get into fights with their older brothers or eat a whole pizza with their homies instead of hitting the club. Women that move through their lives with their queerness at their side, not at war with it but absolutely thrilled by it, made stronger for it, at peace with it.
What does that look like? Family comedies! Character-driven dramas! Superhero movies! I’d love to try it all, though, in my heart of hearts, I’ll always be drawn to films with a strong musical component. I’m currently writing a short with a composer friend of mine that will eventually stand for a longer feature idea. Folklore, musical performances, make-out scenes, fight scenes, we’re pulling out all the stops, y’ all.
What does it mean to you to be a part of the Ideas United Family?
Being a part of the Ideas United family means precisely that, you’re a part of a real-life family. I know that I can call upon these people any time I have a question or idea about anything. It means being lifted to the best of your potential and then set on your own two feet to implement your ideas.
They have this incredible mission of opening doors for young creators. iU is one of the few companies out there that’s putting their money where their mouth is in terms of creating impactful change. My life has been inalterably changed because of them. I’ve officially set down my path as a professional director because of them. So, now they’re stuck with me forever. I’d like them to collectively godparent my first child.
Where can we follow your story?
You can keep up with my current and past projects on my website: www.elliegravitte.com. Also, feel free to follow along on IG at @elliegravitte, or shoot me an email at email@example.com. Say hi!