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!

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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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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 baycat.org. And if Stella’s story has inspired you, please help us share her story with your friends on Facebook, Twitter, Google+ and beyond!

World Premiere Screening: “Endangered”

It’s the first of our 10-year celebrations, and BAYCAT is excited to be indoors this Saturday afternoon with you to premiere worldwide our latest Community Cinema film Endangered: A Healthy Bayview For All as part of The Roxie Theater’s Future Filmmakers Series.
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Join Supervisor Malia Cohen, Bayview community leaders and our young filmmakers as we screen a series of shorts, Pictures of Bayview, stir your curiosity and start conversations about Bayview Hunters Point, one of the most misperceived neighborhoods in SF.

We’re also filming with our partners, One Day in San Francisco, to tell your untold stories about what you love, hate and fear most about living in SF as part of a nationwide, participatory media-creation event.

WHEN: THIS Saturday, April 26th promptly at 2:00pm

WHERE: The Roxie Theater, 3117 16th Street, SF

COST: Free. Thanks to our partners, The Metta Fund, who are sponsoring the event and healthy snacks!

RSVP and share on Facebook.  See you Saturday!

Villy Wang

Zoom In 28: My Neighborhood

The latest episode of our long-running student TV show Zoom In is complete and online! Watch the full episode below.

Zoom In #26: A Day in the Life

The latest episode of our long-running student TV show Zoom In is complete and online! Watch the full episode below.

BTOP Vlog: Spring Program Update

The BAYCAT instructors talk about the progress of the students work in the spring youth program. Created for San Francisco’s Broadband Technology Opportunity Program.