Bayard & Me, matt wolf, Bayard rustin

Before Same Sex Marriage There Was Adoption: Matt Wolf’s ‘Bayard & Me’ Documentary Tells How Bayard Rustin Legalized His Relationship

*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.

“Bayard & Me” releases on Super Deluxe’s social channels on May 15:

“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.”

“Radicalism demands unusual creativity,” Wolf recently argued in an Opinion article for the Los Angeles Times.

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.”

Wolf’s previous films include Wild Combination, about the avant-garde cellist and disco producer Arthur Russell, and Teenage, about the birth of youth culture. His most recent shorts include HBO’s documentary It’s Me, Hilary: The Man Who Drew Eloise, executive produced by Lena Dunham and Jenni Konner, and The Face of AIDS for TIME Magazine.

“I love making short films – it’s like writing a short story,” says Wolf. “But in the past there weren’t many outlets to show shorts. I’m excited to work with Super Deluxe because they understand the new media landscape, and they’ll help this personal film find a big audience.”

About Super Deluxe

Super Deluxe is an omni-platform entertainment company committed to amplifying unconventional creative voices. With online video for social feeds, television series, documentaries, interactive live experiences, and consumer-facing tech products, Super Deluxe talks to a generation of insatiably curious viewers who grew up clutching smartphones. Super Deluxe is a division of Turner, but it operates independently in Downtown LA.

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Alexandra Le Tellier
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Claire Barthelemy
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