John William Bailly: In Situ at the Deering Estate Wins 2 Regional Emmys

David Melendez Uncategorized

n a recent triumph, filmmaker Jorge Gonzalez Graupera, Audio Engineer Daniel Abrusci, and Artist & Honors College Professor John Bailly clinched two Regional Emmy Awards: Best Long Form Content for Arts & Entertainment and Best Audio for their captivating film “John William Bailly: In Situ at the Deering Estate.” 

The film’s inception stemmed from The Deering Estate’s Head Curator and Exhibits and collections Manager, Melissa Diaz‘s suggestion. Originally the film was intended to be a short documentary about John’s fellowship as the inaugural Charles Deering McCormick Fellow of the Deering Estate’s artist-in-residence program. As the filming progressed, Jorge uncovered a more profound narrative for the story. Reflecting on the inspiration, Jorge shared, “As I started speaking with John and just finding out more about him, I realized there’s a bigger story here. Not to mention how much I was inspired by his passion.” John’s infectious energy and enthusiasm became a driving force for both the filmmaking process and the narrative itself. The film evolved into a profound exploration of identity, blending John’s dual heritage, his annual trip back to his hometown of Lyon, France, and the intertwining of Miami and French landscapes in his art. Jorge emphasized the universal appeal of this theme, resonating not only with South Floridians but with anyone navigating the complex layers of identity. 

Bailly and Graupera with Vincent Dugast and Monica Michala in Paris


The duo recounted the intricacies of the filmmaking process, spanning over a year and a half, and shed light on the behind-the-scenes efforts. Multiple scenes were re-shot while on a trip to John’s hometown of Lyon, France after a snowstorm struck. “If we wanted to truly capture the contrast between Lyon and Miami, we needed to film everything all over again.” Jorge shared. “It was so cold, and our hands were freezing. We had to take multiple breaks while filming, but it was fun.” John added. Through these challenges, their dedication to capturing Jorge’s vision shone, embodying the resilience and passion that led to the film’s success. 


Graupera with Honors intern Monica Perez in the Deering Estate Nature Preserve.


Another noteworthy aspect of the film’s success was the significant involvement of FIU Honors College students. John emphasized their integral role, with approximately 15 students contributing to various aspects of the project. “They were huge in all different parts in helping Jorge and me, examples include Melis Gercek, who’s a certified lifeguard and kayak instructor, Liliana Fonte, who’s a videographer, Michelle Puentes who hiked with us through the mangroves, Monica Perez who was at the sunrise scene with us, and Christian Gonzalez who helped us in the studio”. Whether it was helping carry equipment or stabilize the camera to shoot in the water, the collaborative effort not only elevated the film but also created a sense of camaraderie among the creators and students involved. 

Graupera filming in Biscayne Bay with Melis Gercek and Christian Gonzalez

Amidst the intensity of their creative endeavors, Jorge and John recalled an interesting story that added a layer of humor during their filmmaking efforts. “So it was during the World Cup and Jorge was expected to arrive in Lyon in the afternoon. The plan was seemingly straightforward – meet at the house and head to a bar known as Le Traquenard to watch a highly anticipated game between France and England. They missed their train in Paris, not because of their fault, there were just too many people on board,” John explained. Undeterred by the hiccup, John improvised and instructed Jorge to meet at the nearby bar. The scene at the bar, however, was far from ordinary. “This bar, you couldn’t walk inside. We were squeezed, and the game had started,” John described. As the match unfolded, so did the unexpected arrival of Jorge and his wife, Monica, with all their luggage in tow. Before they knew it, they found themselves embraced by enthusiastic French locals. “Yeah, we’ll take care of your luggage,” they declared, unaware of the valuable film equipment inside the luggage. The unexpected encounter climaxed as France scored, prompting an exuberant celebration with beer flying in all directions. “We were baptized by beer,” John humorously recalled. “What’s funny is that John didn’t even know the people who embraced us and took our luggage, he told us he’d just met them, but they were nice” Jorge added. Despite the many unforeseen twists, this amusing incident symbolized their readiness to embrace the unexpected. 


Winning two Regional Emmy Awards marked a transformative moment for Jorge and John. Jorge shared his initial disbelief at the win, describing the experience as surreal. “At first, I was shocked. The nomination itself was enough for me, but I’m glad it made it a step further and won.” John emphasized the significance of the Emmy win as a milestone in a filmmaker’s career, equating it to a museum exhibition in the art world. “In the art world, the most significant endorsement of your work that you can get is from a museum, right? Because they don’t know you, they’re not your family, and they don’t have a financial stake in what you’re doing,” John elaborated. “So, I think winning an Emmy Award is similar to a museum exhibition. It’s people that don’t know you, that don’t have a stake in you, that are celebrating and endorsing your accomplishments.” Looking ahead, Jorge and John envision the film’s success as a catalyst for introducing John’s story to a broader audience. Their shared aspiration is to inspire more projects and showcase the profound narratives embedded in the intersection of art and personal identity. 

Graupera and Bailly in the Museum of Fine Arts of Lyon (Photo by Monica Michala)


Jorge Gonzalez Graupera and John William Bailly extend their gratitude to many key individuals who played pivotal roles in the film’s realization: Melissa Diaz, for her unwavering support and financial backing through the Deering Estate Foundation, stood out as a central figure. Their families embraced the eccentricities of their creative lives. The Développement, Musée des Beaux-Arts de Lyon (Museum of Fine Arts of Lyon) for granting official authorization to film within its premises, a crucial element that enriched the film’s visual narrative. Pierre-Jerome Biscarat, who works in the mayor’s office in Lyon, and helped them into the building. John’s artistic friends Vincent Dugast, and Nathalie Lorand, and Laurent Vernay from Lyon. Jorge’s wife, Monica, got much more than she bargained for by carrying equipment during the entire trip while in France. Finally, the film and arts community of FIU played integral parts in the lives of Jorge and John. 


Bailly and Graupera at sunrise at the Deering Estate (Photo by Monica Perez)

“John William Bailly: In Situ at the Deering Estate” stands as an Emmy-winning film and a testament to the power of creative partnerships, the exploration of identity, and the universal resonance of compelling narratives.