BAYCAT Youth Win Awards Around Digital Equity

No matter the age of the competition, BAYCAT’s youth media producers continue to shine, and inspire, at local film festivals

BAYCAT Winners at RYSEIt was a clean sweep for three films submitted to “Truth Be Told: Justice Through My Eyes,” winning 4 awards at RYSE Youth Center’s first-ever film festival. Open to ages 13-24, our youth media producers won 3 of 4 categories open to ages 13-18, as well as the overall fan favorite at the social justice-themed event! Students won for Best Documentary (#Activism) co-directed and edited by Bella Vallero and Miguel Rivera, Best Music Video (Take A Look at Yourself) produced & written by Alex El Titerito, Amir Chatman, Isaiah Manuel, Jordan Stultz, and Best Experimental Video (This is Me), a solo project by Alex El Titerito. Take a Look at Yourself also won the Audience Award.

Director Becky Choi also won 1st Place in the Student/Mentor Music Video Category of the 2015 MY HERO International Film Festival for her guidance in Take a Look at Yourself! The festival will be held later this November in Santa Monica.

Stella in at Locally Grown Docs Q&ABAYCAT Youth Media Producers Stella (director) and Hugo (cinematographer) represented BAYCAT for the Locally Grown Docs showcase at The New Parkway, where their film Tangles screened among a number of other inspiring shorts. Of the 6 films screened, Tangles was 1 of only 2 youth pieces invited to be shown. Congrats to our young filmmakers!

Stella took the mic for a great Q&A session after the screening that left people buzzing about her film. “More people wanted to talk to Stella after [she] had to go, so she definitely made an impression!,” according to event organizers.

If you haven’t seen it yet, be sure to catch Tangles, a personal portrait of life with trichotillomania, on our YouTube channel. And don’t miss Hugo’s amazing piece on the fight to be more than a statistic in The Stats of Life.

Giving Back

Giving Back is Priority for Award-Winning Teen

Many teens might think of themselves first when they win $1,000, but not Stella Gutierrez.

Youth media producer Stella, 15, is the winner of the Art with Impact award for March, which comes with a cash prize. Her first thought was giving back to BAYCAT, and her film crew.

After finding out she would receive a cash prize for her award-winning film, Stella brought a $100 check for BAYCAT with her to class the next day.

“The BAYCAT team, especially [lead instructor] Zara, has been so supportive to me these past few years. I wanted to give something back,” she said.

Stella also intends to give some of her winnings to Hugo and Miguel, who worked with her on the film. The rest she plans to use toward other artistic pursuits like an amp for her electric bass, and saving for film school. Her only indulgence: a carpeted stand for her cat Oreo.

Her short autobiographical documentary Tangles shares her story of dealing with trichotillomania and dermatillomania (pulling of the hair, and skin), two not-often discussed forms of OCD.  The short documentary has been used by trich support groups, and also won Short of the Month (documentary category) in an online film festival of the same name.

“To be honest, I had a feeling about it. I put a lot of work into my film, so I was really excited to win,” said Stella. The film’s editor, Miguel is “not surprised” by the win. “We put in extra time, worked extra hard.”

The biggest takeaway from the experience for Hugo, the cinematographer for the film, has been a sense of respect for the honesty in the piece.

“Stella is an amazing person. I am so appreciative that she was brave enough to share her story with everyone,” he said.

As for the future, Stella plans on attending college and, “follow film, or some kind of art. I love the UC Berkeley campus, but it would be nice to go to UC Santa Cruz, or just stay in the UC system.”

There are no immediate plans to follow up Tangles, but Stella hopes to revisit the subject in another 5 years or so with a longer film.

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!

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!