Every Story Matters: BAYCAT’s Impact Goes Beyond Making Media

You never know what event will change your life, forever. For Stella, that was walking through the doors at BAYCAT. Like many teens, Stella would head home after school and watch TV, but never imagined being the storyteller. BAYCAT was able to show her something different.

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For Stella, learning storytelling at BAYCAT was a bridge to understanding her own journey.

Over the last three years at BAYCAT, Stella has found her voice through filmmaking and the digital media arts. Learning to tell the stories of others helped Stella understand her own journey: learning to manage her OCD. Exploring the topic through media gave her the courage to share her struggle with her parents, and an autobiographical documentary short Stella wrote and directed will be premiered in Zoom In 31: State of Our Minds on December 4th. Through her film, Stella wants other young people to know that they are not alone, and that there is always hope.

Supporting BAYCAT isn’t just about making a donation, but it is about making a difference in the lives of young people. Stories like Stella’s can’t be told without your help. We hope you join us in our mission to ensure that every kid left out by the digital divide has the opportunity to find their voice at BAYCAT.

Come in person to applaud and to meet Stella, or bring other youth who would be inspired by her story! And if you can’t make it in person, you can still join us via our online livestream of the show!

For more stories on youth like Stella, SIGN UP NOW to subscribe to our e-newsletter. You can stay up to date on all of our new projects, partners, student stories, and programs.

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BAYCAT to Host Fall Open House & Premiere Zoom In 31 – December 4th!

It’s finally time!! BAYCAT will be hosting our Fall Open House next Thursday, DECEMBER 4th at 6p.m.! As we all begin our holiday-season celebrations, we at BAYCAT want to celebrate our young media producers, our community partners, and our 10 years (and running) of educating, empowering, and entertaining. And we’ve got some exciting new things to share with you!

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Young music producer & BAYCAT Academy student, Angela, films a music video for State of Our Minds, the 31st episode of BAYCAT’s award-winning television series, Zoom In.

Our youth have been hard at work these past few months writing, planning, producing, directing, editing, and recording their original songs and short films for the 31st episode of our award-winning television series, Zoom In. This fall, our young media producers explore the topic of mental wellbeing. Some have been creating documentaries about social pressure, like Angelica and Bella, who in “Expanded Minds” talk about stress at school and how it affects them everyday. Our music producers have been writing songs about persevering through times of struggle, with original tracks like “Mood Swings” and “State of Our Minds.” And finally, our young storytellers will allow us a glimpse into their personal experiences of hardship and coping, with Zette sharing the story of her recent move from Japan to San Francisco in “Between Here & There”; and, Stella will premiere her short autobiographical documentary, “Tangles,” in which she opens up about her struggle with OCD.

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BAYCAT Academy Youth Music Producer, Precious, films a music video for State of Our Minds, the 31st episode of BAYCAT Academy’s award-winning television series, Zoom In.

 

We’ll also be sharing our latest BAYCAT Studio and Pathways Internship news, and will be screening our intern-directed and -produced, “What About Water” – a short documentary created in partnership with our latest clonor, the San Francisco Public Utilities Commission. Through this project, we learned how the Bayview Hunters Point community makes the most out of its water, and what we all can do to conserve water in this California drought.

 

So come join us!! We can’t wait to see you there. And if you can’t make it in person, you can still join us via our online livestream of the show!

 

And, stay up to date on all of our new projects, partners, and programs! SIGN UP NOW to subscribe to our e-newsletter!

Heroic Celebration: BAYCAT Original Shorts to be Featured at MY HERO Film Fest!

Our BAYCAT Academy youth media producers are enjoying continued success on the festival circuit! We are proud to announce that three our youths’ films have won awards and will be featured at the MY HERO Film Festival this Saturday, November 22nd!

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A BAYCAT Academy youth music producer raps at Candlestick Park for an original track, “Just Maybe”.

BAYCAT Academy’s music video, Just Maybe, directed and edited by young filmmaker Anthony Rivas to an original track written, recorded, and produced by BAYCAT youth music producers, has won 3rd Place in the Student/Mentor Music Video category! Originally produced for Zoom In Episode 29: Outside Your Door, the film was created in partnership with the U.S. Forest Service. Challenged to express how they feel about the outdoors, the youth shared their complex perspectives on whether the outdoors are always a safe space for urban youth.

 

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BAYCAT Academy young filmmaker, Maceo ‘Moony’ Mayorga plays The Perfect Mayor

The Perfect Mayor, which has also recently won 2nd Place at the 2014 BAYMN Film Festival and was selected for the 2014 Project YouthView Film Festival, has garnered 3rd Place in the High School Experimental category at the MY HERO Film Fest! Written and directed by Advanced Filmmaking student Ginger Chen, the film takes a fun look at who the perfect San Francisco mayor would be, if he or she could be everything that her young constituents would want her to be.

 

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Alia in a scene of her short autobiographical film, The Beach: My Diary

And last but not least, Alia Gabrielle’s moving autobiographical short, The Beach: My Diary, has won 3rd Place in the Student/Mentor category at MY HERO! Alia’s film was also officially selected for the I Hella Love Shorts Film Festival this past September, and will be featured exclusively online this December 4th – 14th as part of the International Black Women’s Film Festival. In telling her story, Alia shares why the beach is so meaningful to her, and how it helps connect her with her family.

 

Congratulations to our youth! Thanks for being our heroes and inspiring us to work for positive change. Can’t wait to see what new stories the youth are telling this fall? Come to our Open House at BAYCAT on December 4th for the world premiere of Zoom In 31: State of Our Minds, or join us via our livestream!

WATCH, SHARE: NEW RELEASE! BAYCAT Pathways Interns ask, “What About Water”?

What About Water director Alyssa Hailemariam on set

What About Water director Alyssa Hailemariam on set

We’re in a drought. While that’s been a big issue and concern for Californians this year, BAYCAT seized the opportunity to learn more about what we can do about it.

This past summer, the San Francisco Public Utilities Commission funded a Summer Learning Grant for our Pathways Interns. The goal: to learn more about our Bayview Hunters Point community’s perceptions about water, how the Bayview makes the most of our vital resources, and what we all can do to conserve water everyday.

Our 2014 interns have just wrapped producing, directing, and editing the new documentary, entitled “What About Water”! WATCH the film on our Vimeo page now, and SHARE with your friends!

AmazonSmile: You shop. Amazon gives to BAYCAT!

What if another way of supporting BAYCAT was as simple as a one-time update to your Amazon account settings? Good news: it is!

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The AmazonSmile Foundation makes it easy to support your favorite charities – without costing you a cent. Whenever you shop on AmazonSmile and purchase an item marked, “Eligible for AmazonSmile donation,” the foundation contributes 0.5% of your purchase price to the organization of your choice. (You’ll still find the same great prices, huge selection of products, and convenient shopping service that you already do on Amazon)

So how to begin? Go to smile.amazon.com and under “pick your own charitable organization,” select “BAYCAT”. That’s it. Why wait? Start empowering youth today! (Just be sure to always shop through smile.amazon.com, not the regular site.)

 

Not an Amazon-shopping fiend? You can still support us by following us on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, and sharing our content!

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A Shared “State of Mind”: Filmmaker Debra A. Wilson Visits BAYCAT

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BAYCAT Academy youth media producers Zette and Bella chat with Bay Area filmmaker, Debra A. Wilson

This week at BAYCAT Academy, Bay Area filmmaker, Debra A. Wilson, stopped by to chat about mental health and share her documentary, “A State of Mind,” with our youth. Affected by Robin Williams’ recent passing and his struggle with mental illness, the youth decided this fall to explore the subject of mental wellbeing through their own eyes and films. As the young media producers prepare for the world premiere of their works at our Open House on December 4th, they enjoyed the opportunity to share inspirations with a fellow filmmaker exploring the same issues.

Wilson’s latest documentary examines the stigma of mental health through Alexander and Timothy’s love story, a couple who have both been diagnosed with schizophrenia. As Wilson’s camera allows us a look into Alexander and Timothy’s daily experience of mental illness, the film challenges us to consider the inadequacies of our mental health care system, confront our fears about acknowledging the mentally ill, and recognize our collective responsibility to end stigma.

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BAYCAT Academy young filmmakers Bella, Zette, and Orione watch a preview for Debra A. Wilson’s moving documentary, “A State of Mind”

Wilson’s relation to Alexander (being cousins) fuels her passion to create this film. Witnessing his personal struggle motivates her to give his story a voice, and by doing so, hopefully spark a dialogue, a movement, and a desire for change. We at BAYCAT support Debra’s mission, and ask you to consider donating to “A State of Mind”’s Indiegogo campaign so that the film may continue production, and Timothy and Alexander’s story can be told.

 

Can’t wait to see what our young film and music producers have been creating this fall? Look out for upcoming previews of their producitons and join us at Open House this December 4th for our world premiere of Zoom In 31: State of Our Minds. Can’t make it in person? You can still tune in via our livestream.

 

Debra A. Wilson has been featured on Showtime with her previous documentaries, The Butch Mystique and Jumpin’ the Broom: The New Covenant. Her films have screened in film festivals worldwide and have garnered Juried and Audience Awards.

Bye Bye Bullying: The BAYCAT Youth Speak Out

In New York City, a young filmmaker screens his documentary at the Media That Matters Film Festival. The young man, Isaac Haney-Owens, meets a fellow filmmaker and Bay Area native, Yusef Haroun, at the festival. Their conversation soon drifts towards the topic of the nonprofit production studio where Isaac developed his passion for media and learned (for free!) how to make his films – BAYCAT.

the-bully-project-movie-poster-2-001Since bumping into Isaac in 2011, Yusef has been eager to meet the team and young media producers at BAYCAT. So this week when the opportunity arose, he came to volunteer his time and skills to mentor our youth. BAYCAT’s Filmmaking and Music Production students recently partook in a community screening of the powerful Lee Hirsch documentary, Bully. Inspired by the film and its anti-bullying message, the filmmakers are, with Yusef and BAYCAT Lead Instructor Zara Ahmed’s mentorship, creating short, 60-second original pieces to enter into the San Francisco District Attorney Office’s Bye Bye Bullying Video Contest. Written, directed, performed, and edited by the youth, the films explore how to confront cyberbullying (“Being Bully-Free Starts With Me”). These shorts will be submitted, and the top prize for winners is the chance to appear in a anti-bullying PSA with the Golden State Warriors.

“Pretty much a good day for me would be people leaving their hands off of me.”

“People think that I’m not normal.”

“I’ve never had real friends that would stick around and help me.”

-students from the documentary, Bully (2011)

IMG_2841For Yusef, his career as a filmmaker comes as a surprise. A self-admittedly “bad kid” growing up, Haroun shared with the young media producers that he was not the ideal student in school, nor expected to achieve great things. Despite this, he has gone on to graduate from the Berkeley Digital Film Institute, earning degree in directing and screenwriting. In addition to working as a production manager, casting coordinating, and director, Yusef includes the title, music video producer, within his repertoire, having worked with such artists as Mike Mills (2Ls) and Snoop Dogg. BAYCAT appreciates his volunteering his time and talents at Academy this week, helping the youth create media that hopes to inspire positive change in the community.

In music news, Academy’s music production students have just wrapped recording of their newest track, “Stay Strong.” The State of Our Minds Intro is currently in post-production, with the Advanced Filmmaking students having directed and filmed a music video for the track originally written, performed, recorded, and produced by Academy’s Beginning and Advanced Music Production students. Preview release for the video is slated for mid-November.

Can’t wait to see what the youth are creating for this fall? Only one more month until our Open House on December 4, 6-8pm — Come check it out! And if you can’t make it in person, be sure to tune in for our live stream.

BAYCAT’s on a Roll: Official Selections & Motion Graphics Workshop at the BAYMN Film Fest!

BAYCAT Academy’s Youth Media Producers have gotten yet another two films officially selected for festival showcasing! On the heels of Alia’s success with her moving autobiographical short, The Beach: My Diary, both Ginger Chen’s The Perfect Mayor and Amaya Thomas and Demaire Hughes’ History of the Dogpatch have been chosen amongst films from across the globe to be featured at this year’s Bay Area Youth Media Network (BAYMN) Film Festival.

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BAYCAT Academy’s Fall 2013 Youth Media Producers imagine the perfect San Francisco mayor.

The Perfect Mayor, a collaborative piece created by writer-director Ginger Chen, cinematographer AJ Martin, art directors Stella Gutierrez and Miguel Rivera, and editor/star Maceo “Moony” Mayorga, is a fun exploration of who the perfect San Francisco mayor would be, if he or she could embody every ideal of his constituents. He speaks Spanish, Russian, Tagalog, and Samoan! He represents districts from the Haight to the Sunset! He’s gender-fluid and he supports nonprofit organizations! He maybe twerks!

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BAYCAT Academy’s Fall 2013 Youth Media Producers invent an alternative history for the Dogpatch neighborhood of San Francisco, CA.

 

 

Miguel Rivera also narrates BAYCAT’s second officially selected film, the Amaya Thomas and Demaire Hughes animated short, History of the Dogpatch. The young storytellers imagine an alternative history of the Bay Area’s Dogpatch neighborhood, when butchers ran meat banks and lawbreaking pups kept eating their currency.

The BAYMN Festival will be screening these shorts on Saturday, October 18th at 2:30pm at the San Francisco Public Library.

In addition, every year the BAYMN Film Fest offers workshops to empower youth communities to create media that inspires social change. This year, BAYCAT’s resident filmmaking teacher, Zara Ahmed, will be giving a free motion graphics workshop this Saturday, October 18, from 12 to 2pm at the SF Public Library.  

 

Want to check out more of our festival-selected films? Head over to our BAYCAT YouTube page!

 

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A Giant Exclusive this #OrangeOctober: BAYCAT Intern Grads Turned SFG Productions Interns! A Win-Win Combo!

We’re pumped about Orange October. You too? We thought so!

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BAYCAT grad Iman Rodney gets interviewed at AT&T Park. To learn more about Iman, check out hist story

As the Giants advance on to play for yet another National League Championship Series, we at BAYCAT want to celebrate a few of our Pathways Intern graduates who are advancing their careers in the media industry – with San Francisco Giants Productions! Introducing: Pathways Grads-to-Productions Interns Latiece Brown, Tyre Brown, and Iman Rodney…

Before getting their start with the Giants, Latiece, Tyre, and Iman honed their craft first at BAYCAT Academy and then as 2013 BAYCAT Pathways Interns. While here, the Pathways Intern grads prepared to make their mark on the media production industry, developing their artistic expertise in scriptwriting, cinematography, editing, and more. They created award-winning documentaries, helped share stories of positive community change, produced promotional videos for local small businesses, and even worked on productions for HBO and the Food Network. Now equipped with the fundamental tools they need to begin their professional careers in the media field, these talented BAYCAT grads have moved onto to the AT&T Field, and are continuing to contribute their unique skills and creative ingenuities towards telling stories that inspire, entertain, and unite. As Blake Wilberding, Video Editor/Producer at SF Giants Productions, shares:

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BAYCAT grads Latiece and Tyre capture fan excitement outside AT&T Park just before Game 3 of the NLDS!

“It’s been a great partnership between BAYCAT and the Giants. With wonderful, dedicated and hard-working interns to be involved with SFG productions, it only makes our department stronger.”

If you are a want-to-be intern, or wish to learn more about our internship program, please visit our BAYCAT Academy page.

So as the SF Giants keep winning, so do our Intern Graduates at SFG Productions!  If you are working for a company that needs media or a fresh new marketing campaign, or perhaps you want to employ a media production intern of your own, contact us at studio@baycat.org.  It’s a Win-Win formula!