Synopsis: ‘In Bayard & Me, award-winning filmmaker Matt Wolf shares the little-known story of civil rights activist Bayard Rustin and the lengths he went to legalize his relationship with his partner Walter Naegle.
‘The civil rights activist is best known for organizing the March on Washington and advising Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. In the 1980s, Bayard adopted his younger partner Walter Naegle for legal protections. In this intimate love story, Walter remembers Bayard, who died in 1987 at the age of 75, and a time when gay marriage was inconceivable. He also reflects on the phenomena of intergenerational gay adoption and its connection to the civil rights movement.’
“I made this film because I’m inspired by the creative ways that Bayard Rustin and his partner Walter Naegle worked around the system to obtain equal rights,” says director Matt Wolf. “We need direct action in the streets, but sometimes radical things happen in private acts of defiance.”
Bayard & Me premiered at the Sundance Film Festival in January and had its international premiere at the Rotterdam Film Festival. It’s continued to earn kudos along the festival circuit, winning Best Documentary Short at QFest and the Calgary Underground Film Festival. Filmmaker Magazine called it “a moving remembrance,” and Town & Country praised it as a “movie to see.”