Carla - BAYCAT Youth Instructor / Mentor

Inside BAYCAT: Carla Orendorff, BAYCAT Media Producer & Mentor

Getting to Know our Newest Team Member & Youth Media Instructor

Meet Carla! Carla joins BAYCAT as a Media Producer and Mentor, working with the youth and young adults teaching filmmaking skills. A documentary filmmaker, artist and educator, Carla has taught filmmaking classes with hundreds of young people in collaboration with organizations throughout Los Angeles and the Bay Area, and is excited to use her skills to inspire a new group of students.

Where are you from? 

I was born in Hollywood and raised in Los Angeles. I mostly grew up in Reseda- which is in the San Fernando Valley, 30 miles northwest of LA. The Valley is where the term “Valley Girl” comes from, so I guess that makes me one! The neighborhood I grew up in is a diverse, working-class Latino, Asian, and Eastern European immigrant community with lots of families and many languages spoken. The landscape consists of auto body shops and horse stalls and the subject of the Tom Petty song, “Free Fallin.”  Reseda is also where the movie Karate Kid takes place.

Why the Bay Area? 

The Bay Area has always been this place of possibility- there is a spirit of challenging the status quo through art and politics that is very inspiring to me. I have always been drawn to the legacies of radical activism here in the Bay Area- from the Black Panthers, to the student activism for Ethnic Studies at SF State, to queer activism of ACT UP during the AIDS crisis. What I love most are the people here- the many faces that I see become familiar in a city full of neighborhoods, each with their own histories.
The reality of living in the Bay Area, specifically in San Francisco, has been harsh. The cost of living, the struggle for housing, and the fight to remain in the city affects all of us- whether you are a teacher, a businessman, a mother, a city worker, or a young person just trying to get by. We are all connected and have a real impact on each others’ lives, and we need to make it right for all the families, the elders, and young people who call San Francisco their home.

What made you want to work with youth?

Growing up as a queer mixed-race girl, I didn’t see myself in the movies or TV shows I watched, or the books I read. Thankfully, I had some amazing teachers in high school who encouraged me to develop my own perspective as an artist and an activist- it was the first time I began to take my own ideas seriously. My hope, as an educator, is to challenge this dominant culture of profit and level the playing field where young people recognize their power as creators, decision makers, and full and complete human beings with something important and valuable to share with the world.

What is your favorite part of working with youth?

I love the way young people breathe life into a room, into your lesson plans, take the theme and the concepts we’re working with and make it their own. Young people will always surprise you. They keep it real too. I’m grateful to always be learning from the experiences of young people. Oh! They also make me laugh and tend to find the humor in all things.

Have you had and fun or memorable experiences with youth in your career so far?

So many! I will never forget shutting down the 2nd Street tunnel in Los Angeles with 40 young people to film an opening scene on Halloween a few years back. Working on the set of a Margaret Cho music video with a team of teen girls was amazing. Seeing young people off to college or writing recommendations for jobs in their dream field has been extremely rewarding as well.

What has working with young people taught you?

Working with youth has reminded me to never give up on the 15 year-old girl that resides in me and to tell her to never give up on her dreams.

Why is youth media important?

Seeing the world through the eyes of young people will change the way you look at the world. Young people hold vision and they have really solid ideas about how to make the world a better and more inclusive place for all people. I have seen youth media inform curriculum, affect policy, and remind us of what it means to bring out our best for our communities and ourselves.

What do you do when you’re not at BAYCAT?

You can find me swimming, climbing trees, reading books, watching movies in old theaters, going for long walks through the city, and working on my own documentary projects.


Last book read? Spitboy Rule: Tales of a Xicana in a Female Punk Band by Michelle Cruz Gonzales

On Your iPod? Kendrick Lamar’s good kid m.A.A.D city forever, on repeat.

Favorite movie: Shadows by John Cassavetes

Favorite restaurant: The Old Clam House in Bayview

Favorite meal of all time: Sopa de Mani is a potato and peanut based stew from Bolivia, where my mom is from. It’s cooked slowly over hours with beef ribs and garnished with parsley fries on top- so delicious!

music album, BAYCAT

Listen. Vibe. Share. Change Their World.

First Album Ever Produced by BAYCAT Youth.

Housing crisis.

Election fears.

Black Lives Matter.

Today, our youth are navigating a world with big questions and few answers. Empowering them to use their voice through music and media to confront these major issues is more important now than ever. BAYCAT works with kids as young as 11 years old to educate and train underserved kids in San Francisco and the Bay Area, combating gaps in social equity and education by placing young people on the path from education to employment in the digital media arts. BAYCAT creates a safe place where youth and young adults are able to gain the tools and platform to express themselves and advocate for world they want to see.

In the first ever BAYCAT album 3rd @ Twilight, the lyrics in “What’s Going On,” written by Angela, 14, and Ze’Vonte, 16, and inspired by Marvin Gaye, have an undeniable power: “It’s hard to fight a fear that will always fight back. … It feels like a modern day war. Haven’t we been here before? Back in 1954.”

The 3rd @ Twilight release party experienced a neighborhood-wide blackout, which could have been an event killer. For us, it became a testament to the strength of our youth. “The power is out on the block, but the power we need is in these youth and in each of you,” said BAYCAT Founder, Villy Wang.

BAYCAT’s youth first music album, 3rd at Twilight. 17 new tracks on social justice, displacement, election madness, Black Lives Matter, and more.

Make a Difference. Buy the Album to Support BAYCAT’s mission.

By purchasing their album, or gifting a tax-deductible donation, you make a difference by directly supporting BAYCAT’s mission to help low-income youth, young women and kids of color who have no access to the creative and digital fields. Together we can change the face of the media, have an impact on the messages we see and hear, and make a meaningful difference in the community.

That starts here. Buy 3rd @ Twilight today. Listen to their message. Share your favorite lyrics and songs. Change the world with their message.

Music album produced by BAYCAT youth

The cover of 3rd @ Twilight, first music album ever produced by BAYCAT youth.

Alessandra Photo

Inside BAYCAT: Meet Alessandra Carter, Our Academy Manager

Getting to Know our Newest Team Member on Youth Education, Media + More

Meet Alessandra Carter, aka “Ms. C!”  An Oakland native, she recently returned to the Bay Area and brings a huge enthusiasm for youth, education and social justice.  Jumping right into the role of Academy Manager, she’s already on board leading our Academy for our first Summer Media Camp focusing on music.

Why the Bay Area? 

In late 2015, I was living in Harlem New York. I had been there for 6 years and decided that I wanted to return to the Bay. Now that I’m home, I look forward to contributing to the educational space, specifically educational program design and college access and career readiness efforts for low-income and underserved populations.

What made you want to work with youth?

I’ve been in the educational field for 6+ years. I enjoy their energy, honesty and am constantly inspired by their resiliency.

What is your favorite part of working with youth?

Building relationships and creating opportunities for them to learn more about career and college options.

Have you had and fun or memorable experiences with youth in your career so far?

I’ve had quite a few. While working at a start-up in Manhattan, NY, I managed a 6-week Computer Science and leadership intensive for Black and Latino boys. My work included recruiting the students, reviewing applications, planning exposure trips and supporting the lead Computer Science teacher. It was a whirlwind experience!

My favorite parts were getting to know the boys and taking them on the career exposure trips to awesome companies like Google.

What has working with youth taught you?

That students can be learners as well as teachers.

Why is youth media important?

Well, I think it’s important for two reasons.

1-  It’s important to empower the traditionally disempowered and disenfranchised because their experiences are valuable.

2- Youth media, especially in the current social and political climate, has value because they tell stories from a viewpoint that can be overlooked by adults.

What do you do when you’re not at BAYCAT?

Spend time with family, dabble in digital photography and (re)explore my hometown, Oakland.


Last book read? Soka Education, By Daisaku Ikeda.

On Your iPod? I’m more of a Spotify/Google Play kinda girl.

Jill Scott, Kendrick Lamar, Anita Baker, Anderson Paak and Frankie Beverly and Maze are usually in rotation 🙂

Favorite movie: That’s hard! Top 3: The Lion King, Sister Act and Steel Magnolias.

Favorite restaurant: I just moved back to the Bay. I don’t have a favorite just yet. Recommendations?

Favorite meal of all time: Southern style smothered chicken over rice and collard greens. Sweet potato pie and vanilla bean ice cream for dessert.

BAYCAT at Z Space

Zoom In at All New Venue This Summer

BAYCAT World Premiere of ZOOM IN: Episode 33


(Click The Stop Motion Above 🙂 )

Thanks to your enthusiasm and attendance, we’re moving our youth’s World Premiere of Zoom In: Episode 33 – Me Myself, and I to Z Space!  Please join our Youth Media Producers, BAYCAT Board and Team at our exciting new venue!


Enjoy YUMMY appetizers and be part of our live audience of BAYCAT’s 33rd Episode of our award-winning youth produced TV show, “Zoom In!”

Bring a friend, bring two friends, bring all your friends. Everyone is welcome!


Here is the invitation! (The screening is free, but RSVPs are always appreciated) If you can’t make it to the event, tune-in LIVE here for our live-streaming broadcast!


New Event Info:

VENUE: @ Z Space – 450 Florida Street (btwn. 17th & Mariposa Streets) SF, 94110

WHEN: Thursday, August 6th, 2015

Doors Open @ 5:30 pm; Screening Begins Promptly @ 6:30 pm


What are my transport/parking options getting to the event?

In the neighborhood immediately around Z Space, as in much of San Francisco, parking can be a challenge. If you are planning on parking on the street, please allow at least 30 minutes to find a space, and be sure to carefully read all restrictions on street signs and parking meters.

There are paid parking lots at the following locations: The UCSF lot at the corner of Shotwell and 17th Street has metered visitor spaces and is located approximately three blocks from Z Space. A second UCSF parking lot at Harrison and 15th Street also has metered visitor spaces and located approximately three blocks from Z Space.


Public Transit:

Z Space is close to a variety of public transportation lines, most notably:

The 16th and Mission BART stop. The 22, 27, and 33 MUNI bus lines.


Where can I contact the organizer with any questions?

Program Coordinator – Edgar Garcia (415) 701-8228 X 213

Sandbox Studio Group Shot

BAYCAT Youth Learn From the Pros at Sandbox Studio

Amid a jam-packed Summer Media Camp schedule, one of the best things are the amazing field trips. Youth get to tour the offices of digital media companies, seeing how and what working professionals are doing in the field. Visiting community partner Sandbox Studio, a national BAYCAT Youth Media Producers Angela and Zevonteproducer of visual content for retail advertising and eCommerce, BAYCAT’s youth media producers heard about a different use for the cameras they normally use to create films and music videos.

Only a short walk away from BAYCAT in the Dogpatch, Harrison Budd, Digital Services and EQ Supervisor at Sandbox Studio’s San Francisco office, gave the youth an overview of what a digital photography studio does, even giving them a quick studio session for some hands on learning.

“It was really amazing! I liked the still life photos, and seeing how how the camera works in a studio,” said Lucrezia Berry, 13, a first time Zoom In producer.

She, along with 25 of our youth, were hosted by Budd, who spoke about the different types of projects, and how lighting and post-production needs differ for still photography vs. film. He also stopped at one shoot to introduce the students to the creative director and digital photographer, who explained their roles and what they do. The tour gave the youth perspective on what they’re learning at BAYCAT, and how it parallels the professionals at Sandbox Studios.Sandbox Studio Tour

“I learned how much work it takes to do a whole photo shoot,” said Jevani Mclean, 13, “And how much you need to learn in school to be able to do this stuff.”

“The crew at Sandbox Studios had such a great time meeting the [BAYCAT] kids and showing them around our studio! They were very interested in learning about what we do and how we do it. They came prepared to learn and asked a lot of great questions,” said Budd. “I wish them all the best in all their future endeavors.”

Screen Shot 2015-06-01 at 10.11.20 AM

13 Days Left: Donate to Make Their Summer Happen

School’s out for the Summer, but BAYCAT teachers are working! We’re excited to start up again on June 15, but that means we only have 13 days left to reach our goal of 200 hours of instruction for our FREE Summer Media Camp. Thanks to our awesome donors we’ve raised 9 hours so far ($1,352) but we can’t get the rest of the way without you.

Screen Shot 2015-06-01 at 10.11.45 AMDuring the summer session, BAYCAT offers extra classes, which means hiring extra instructors. Help our youth from our community experience documentary filmmaking, music video production, graphic arts instruction, and digital music making. These classes and teachers, plus some really great field trips and mentors, keep our youth engaged and growing as artists and individuals. At BAYCAT we work with bright kids who need us most, but now we need you. Here’s how you can help:

1. Share our campaign with friends, family, neighbors, your coworkers… the person next to you on MUNI – anyone! You can share our link on Facebook, Twitter, Google+, email, etc.

2. Like and share the youth films and music posted on BAYCAT’s Facebook page. (The youth love to get feedback!)Screen Shot 2015-06-01 at 10.11.58 AM

3. Pick out your favorite youth film to share on social media. (One of ours is “Take a Look at Yourself.”)

4. Donate.

We love option #4, but each one is important! Please donate and share the links to our fundraising page, and to our youth’s media. Thank you from the entire BAYCAT family.

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Zoom In 31 Update: The Kids are Fed Up, Take a Cooking Class

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La Shea Sanchez got the fall 2014 BAYCAT Academy Youth Media Producers excited about healthy cooking ast Wednesday, Oct. 1

La Shea Sanchez surveys the room as each student, nose scrunched and lips pursed, holds a piece of fresh, raw broccoli to their mouths. She instructs everyone to take a crunchy bite, and almost immediately protestations begin. “What does it taste like?” she asks. “Gross!” “Dry!” “Like broccoli!”

How does the food you consume influence the state of your mind?


For the past couple of weeks, BAYCAT Academy’s youth media producers have been exploring answers to that question. This past Tuesday, the media-makers enjoyed a cooking class as research for this fall’s artistic theme: mental health. Students learned how to cook simple, nutritious meals with La Shea Sanchez, supervisor for the Bayview Opera House Dare 2 Dream Arts Enrichment program, events coordinator at the BVOH, and healthy eating instructor. At first hesitant to munch on raw veggies and gulp smoothies blended with spinach, the class soon gave way to enthusiasm and cheers for second and third helpings as the kids learned how to positively fuel their minds with healthy food for their bodies.

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BAYCAT Youth Media Producer Jade helps make a healthy salad with La Shea and her fellow media-makers

The culinary class followed a community screening of the documentary, Fed Up, which details the profound impact of America’s sugar industry on obesity in this country and the poor health of our children. After the screening, the students connected the film’s arguments with Zoom In’s theme: “A lot of people when they’re sad they eat a lot, and that can affect their physical health as well as their mental health,” shared Ginger, BAYCAT Advanced Filmmaking student. The media producers were so inspired by the film and its message that they elected to make changes in their own lives: the Music & Advanced Filmmaking students deciding to eliminate juice as a class refreshment option and Jazzy, a Music Production student, pledged to give up eating Hot Cheetos.

Since the two workshops, the filmmaking students have solidified themes for their group projects and will begin production soon…

You can catch the premiere of Zoom In 31 in person at BAYCAT on December 4th at 6:30pm PST, or online through our livestream!


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The Beach: My Diary – Officially Selected For Two Film Festivals!

BAYCAT is proud to announce that Youth Media Producer Alia Gabrielle has garnered two official film festival selections for her short autobiographical documentary, The Beach: My Diary. Alia’s film will be screening at the I Hella Love Shorts Film Festival later this month, an Oakland-based festival celebrating its second year exhibiting the work of talented San Francisco Bay Area filmmakers.


The Beach: My Diary will also be featured exclusively for the online film festival channel of the International Black Women’s Film Festival, MOVING IMAGES FORWARD. Alia’s documentary was selected to be celebrated along with works from the U.K., Australia, Senegal, South Africa, Zanzibar, France, Canada, Malawi, Kenya, and more. Alongside these films, The Beach: My Diary helps to continue the festival’s tradition of pushing beyond the Hollywood-construed stereotypes of black women populating popular media, and instead showcasing the the stories of black women as self-represented through their own voices.

BAYCAT Academy youth filmmaker, Alia Gabrielle

The film centers on Alia’s relationship with the beach- why it’s special to her, how it gives her peace, and how it helps connect her with her mother. BAYCAT recently conducted a short interview with Alia; during the interview Alia shared that her mother was also a filmmaker, and spoke about one film in particular she helped her mother make: “it was actually about the beach…and it was a story about a little girl finding her way in life.” Earlier this spring, Alia found her way to BAYCAT Academy. While taking classes as a Youth Media Producer, Alia found the inspiration and opportunity to tell her own story. “I kinda had all that bundled up inside and BAYCAT let me express it finally.” Her reaction to her film’s success: “I was shocked: I was like, wow my film was that good that it got into those film festivals.”


Alia shared that while she plans to continue making films in the future, she also hopes to pursue her passion for helping kids in the foster care system. Alia says that before becoming adopted by her mother, “when I was younger and I was in the foster system, I wanted someone to support it more…the thing I wanna do is kinda be like a big sister…And help them out and make sure that they’re not alone. Make sure they don’t feel alone.”


You can catch Alia’s film on September 28th at the I Hella Love Shorts Film Festival and online from midnight December 4th to 11:59PM/PST December 14, 2014 at the International Black Women’s Film Festival’s MOVING IMAGES FORWARD.


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Zoom In 31: State of Our Minds!
Got any media or stories to share?

Crazy. Isolated. Dependent.

Happiness. Depression. Self-esteem. Stress.

Needs to be addressed.

How can we help._MG_0640

These are some of the words and phrases that came to mind when BAYCAT ACADEMY’s latest cohort of youth film and music producers were asked to respond to the question, “What does mental health mean to you?” The youth media producers brainstormed ideas to commence preparation for their upcoming collaborative project, the newest episode of their award-winning TV show: “Zoom In”.


This 31st addition to the series, to be titled “State of Our Minds,” will explore a variety of issues and perspectives orbiting the topic of mental health & wellness, and addressing stigma created by the media revolving mental health issues. BAYCAT’s Youth Media Producers will film documentaries, write songs, and produce music videos to tell these stories through the art of digital media.

Mark your calendars for 6pm on Thursday December 4, 2014 when BAYCAT will hold our next open house and our Youth Media Producers will premiere “Zoom In 31: State of Our Minds”.  You can also follow the show online at BAYCAT live.


Are there videos, songs, blogs, and other media about mental health that have inspired you? Do you have a story you’d like to share with us? If so, become a part of the conversation and share in our comments section

Turning 10

Earlier this year, BAYCAT celebrated it’s 10th anniversary, a decade of empowering underserved youth and young adults in the San Francisco Bay Area through education and employment in the creative digital media industry. BAYCAT believes that every story matters, and by providing youth with access to education and resources in filmmaking and music production, we encourage and aid young people to create media that positively impacts themselves, their communities, and the world. If you dig what we’re doing, we encourage you to get involved. There are so many ways that you can make an impact, and we can always use your help!

BAYCAT, BAYCAT Academy, Youth Media Producer Stella, youth media, education, San Francisco, Bayview Hunters Point, filmmaking, music production, creativity, digital arts

BAYCAT Stories: Stella

From Watching Media to Making Media

As part of our short film series celebrating the stories of our young media makers, BAYCAT would like to introduce Stella Gutierrez, a San Francisco teen, aspiring filmmaker and Youth Media Producer in our program. This piece was created as part of our 2014 TechSF Internship program.

Stella finds in BAYCAT a home, a family and a place where she can grow beyond just watching TV shows and can begin making movies of her own. “I see filmmaking as a door into other people’s lives and their perspective of things,” she expresses. Stella sharpened her curiosity and creativity during the summer of 2013 when she produced the short documentary Tech Free For a Weekend. The film explores the difficulties and challenges of local San Francisco writer and community artist Carrie Leilam Love’s attempt to live tech-free (no digital screens) for 48 hours. Stella’s documentary won her an Official Selection by the 2013 International Black Women’s Film Festival, as well as official selections at the 2014 CineYouth Film Festival and the 2014 Project YouthView Film Festival.

In the future, Stella aspires to make a film about her OCD and share her story with others who also struggle with the condition, and “show them that you’re not alone. There’s always hope.”

To learn more about BAYCAT and how you can get involved in helping us educate, empower, and employ youth and young adults from underserved communities to produce meaningful and impactful digital media, please visit our homepage at And if Stella’s story has inspired you, please help us share her story with your friends on Facebook, Twitter, Google+ and beyond!