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Elizabeth Westrate

Elizabeth Westrate
Producer/Director Elizabeth Westrate on location, 2002.
Photo by Andrew Kist © 2002.

Elizabeth Westrate is a documentary filmmaker, based in New York City. She has over twenty years of production experience in feature documentaries, episodic television, music videos and commercials.

Ms. Westrate has worked with Director/Editor Thom Zimny on numerous film projects for Bruce Springsteen. She is Line Producer of the feature documentary THE PROMISE: THE MAKING OF DARKNESS ON THE EDGE OF TOWN, which premiered to acclaim at the 2010 Toronto International Film Festival and was broadcast on HBO. She is Line Producer of the Springsteen concert film DARKNESS ON THE EDGE OF TOWN, an intimate performance that was filmed at the historic Paramount Theater, and BRUCE SPRINGSTEEN & THE E STREET BAND: LONDON CALLING - LIVE IN HYDE PARK. Westrate also Line Produced the music video THE WRESTLER for Columbia Records, as well as the documentary WORKING ON A DREAM: A SUPERBOWL JOURNAL, a look behind the scenes of Springsteen’s performance at the Superbowl XLIII Halftime Show that was produced for Thrill Hill Productions and NFL Productions at PostWorks New York.

Westrate is the Series Producer of E2, a multi-part PBS documentary series about the economies of being environmentally conscious. The three installments of the series: E2 DESIGN, E2 ENERGY and E2TRANSPORT chronicle global efforts to solve pressing ecological challenges with a combination of policy, technology and ingenuity. Produced by Kontentreal, these thirty episodes were filmed internationally and narrated by Brad Pitt and Morgan Freeman. The E2 series was later rebroadcast on Sundance Channel.

Recently, Westrate was the producer and director of the short documentary A DAY WITH THE STANLEY CUP, which was produced for Discover and the National Hockey League and aired on NBC during the 2011 Stanley Cup Final Games. She also served as Supervising Producer for Conde Nast on the television series, INSIDE THE VAULT in 2011. During this production, Westrate collaborated with editors from Vanity Fair, New Yorker, Details and Wired magazines, among others.

Westrate is the Producer and Director of A FAMILY UNDERTAKING, a documentary film that follows several families as they forgo a typical mortuary funeral to care for their loved ones at home. This project was broadcast to critical acclaim on the PBS series P.O.V. in 2004 with an encore airing in 2006 and a coordinated broadcast on the Public Radio International program, The Next Big Thing. The film premiered at the Silverdocs Film Festival and was also broadcast internationally on the series True: Stories, Life in the U.S.A. It has screened at festivals and art museums across the country, and was funded by The Independent Television Service/ITVS.

Westrate is also the Producer and Director of PASSING ON THE GIFT: HEIFER INTERNATIONAL’S MISSION TO END HUNGER. This film celebrates the 60th anniversary of the innovative humanitarian organization, Heifer International, which provides food and income-producing animals and training to millions of resource-poor families in 115 countries. For this project, Westrate filmed in Tanzania, Cambodia, Ecuador, Romania and the Navajo Nations. The project was a collaboration with director Emma Wilson and was completed in 2005. PASSING ON THE GIFT screened at the United Nations in 2005, and footage from the film was included in the Sarah McLachlan video World on Fire. The DVD is currently being distributed for free to over 350,000 World Ark magazine subscribers and through public schools, libraries and churches internationally.

Westrate also produced and directed segments for the SUNDANCE CHANNEL series Festival Dailies.  These pieces included stories about festival founder Robert Redford; Lebanese filmmaker Ziad Doueiri and his controversial feature LILA SAYS and Andrew Wagner, director of the uproarious family road trip film, THE TALENT GIVEN US.  All three stories were produced and broadcast during the week of the 2005 Sundance Film Festival. In 2004, Westrate followed experimental filmmaker Jake Mahaffy and his debut film WAR, for the program Right Now! At the Sundance Film Festival. Other Sundance Channel projects include a piece that explores the Alternative Art Movement in New York in the 1980s for the series Aftereffect, as well as a portrait of child prodigy filmmaker Chaille Stoval for the series 24 Frame News.

Previously, Ms. Westrate was the Associate Producer of the THE VAGINA MONOLOGUES starring Eve Ensler for HBO, which John Leonard in his New York Magazine review described as "not to be missed under any circumstances". The program aired on February 14, 2002 in conjunction with V-Day, a global movement to end violence against girls and women. She was also the Associate Producer of OUR HOUSE: A VERY REAL DOCUMENTARY ABOUT KIDS OF GAY AND LESBIAN PARENTS. This ITVS production, directed by Meema Spadola, was broadcast on public television in June, 2000 and won the "Best Documentary" award at both the New York and Los Angeles Gay & Lesbian Film Festivals.

Ms. Westrate was the Associate Producer for the Simon & Goodman Picture Company from 1996 to 1999. While there, she received a Cable Ace Award for "Best Documentary Special" for her work on HEART OF A CHILD, an HBO documentary which follows the emotional story of a child in need of a heart and lung transplant. The following year, 27TH AND PROSPECT: ONE YEAR IN THE FIGHT AGAINST DRUGS, was broadcast as part of HBO's Faces of Addiction series. For this portrait of an inner city neighborhood's struggle to combat the perils of substance abuse, Ms. Westrate was nominated for another Cable Ace Award in the category of "Best Public Affairs Special or Series."

Elizabeth Westrate was also the Associate Producer of THE TELEPHONE, an hour-long American Experience special for public television, and SABA: THE LIFE OF TED ARISON, a privately funded biography of an international philanthropist which required extensive location production in Europe, the Middle East, the Caribbean, and the United States. Previously, Elizabeth Westrate worked as the Post Production Coordinator on BUCKMINSTER FULLER: THINKING OUT LOUD. This Simon & Goodman production aired on the P.B.S. American Masters Series

Performing arts projects include THE PAUL TAYLOR DANCE COMPANY REPERTORY PRESERVATION PROJECT for which Ms. Westrate was both Associate Producer and Editor. This five-year project was funded by the National Endowment for the Arts in order to record and archive 28 major works by choreographer Paul Taylor. Ms. Westrate also helped produce Simon & Goodman's short film for the NEW WORLD SYMPHONY’S 10th Anniversary, which premiered at Lincoln Center in 1998. In 1996, Ms. Westrate worked closely with choreographer Bill T. Jones and video artist Gretchen Bender as both Script Supervisor and Post Production Coordinator on STILL/HERE, a KTCA/Alive TV production of the award winning modern dance piece by the Bill T. Jones/Arnie Zane Dance Company.

She received a Bachelor of Fine Arts degree in Film & Television Production from the Tisch School of the Arts at New York University in 1992.