Ellie Stayner was born in Burlington, Vermont, and raised in Birmingham, Alabama, then traveled west for college. In 2017, she earned a degree with honors in film and digital media with a concentration in film production from the University of California at Santa Cruz. While in school, she was active in the Film Production Coalition, constantly creating fiction and and nonfiction short films with friends, and volunteered at the local Second Harvest food bank. Ellie hopes to make her first feature-length film after serving with Impact.

What is your proudest accomplishment?
One of my proudest accomplishments is writing and directing my very first short film, Meyby Di Guerrero. Independent filmmaking is one of the hardest jobs because usually as the sole creator you have to coordinate crew, food, locations, cast, permits, costumes, and much more. You also have to ensure the right direction in the creative process of your own writing. I can’t even put into words the joy I felt once completed with my film — I was proud to have a beautiful and vulnerable piece to share with others.

Name and describe a memorable place you’ve been.
A memorable place I’ve been to and have even lived is Los Angeles. I lived in an area on the inside edge of LA proper called Highland Park. I think what made LA memorable for me was my relationships with people with lived all different kinds of life. One minute I would be trying to speak terrible spanish to my friend Gabriel at the car shop he’s owned for decades, and the next I would be in West Hollywood nannying at a ballet studio in the same room with a celebrity and his wife watching their child at dance class. LA is the most eclectic place I have ever been!

What is your biggest strength?
I believe my greatest strength is my compassion for others. I used to think it was my biggest weakness, but as I’ve gotten older, I see the strength in feeling so much for others. It allows me to connect, build, and help people in a genuine way that others may not be able to experience.