Community Comes Out to Support Youth at Z Space

Attendees kickstart effort to support BAYCAT’s free arts program

What a night! It was a full house for the World Premiere of Zoom In – Episode 33: Me, Myself, & I!

Our first ever screening at Z Space, this evening of films, music, and a live performance is one we won’t soon forget. (You can relive and share all the fun with those who didn’t make it at All of us at BAYCAT were especially touched by the outpouring of community support to keep our free programs strong.

We raised the ante to prep our next set of youth for producing Zoom In: Episode 34. Our goal is to raise $34,000 before our next term starts on September 14th. From the premiere, we’re off to a great start with $2,044 raised that evening toward our goal. Keep this effort going – you can donate or share the link.

Together we can make sure this program is available for the youth who need it.

Zoom In 33 Co-Host Lucrezia Berry

YOUTH PERSPECTIVE: “Being a live host for BAYCAT only took 1 hour and 36 minutes, but has had such a huge impact on me. I went from a shy little girl to a teenager with courage. BAYCAT over one summer, one term, has changed me in the best way possible. As a cinematographer, graphic artist, editor, and host, this helped me improve my experiences. For example, my dream is to go to Italy for college. Having these experiences now gives me a higher chance of getting accepted into the school, and getting a good job. It’s so much more than I had before BAYCAT.” – Lucrezia Berry, 14, BAYCAT Student, and Zoom In Co-Host


Zoom In: Episode 33 Tonight LIVE in Person or Online

See the Premiere of ZOOM IN: Ep. 33 Live & Online

Don’t forget – the World Premiere of “Zoom In: Episode 33 – Me Myself, and I” is TONIGHT! The event is taking place at Z Space, and online at starting at 6:30pm.

You won’t want to miss a live musical performance by BAYCAT youth Angela King and Ze’Vonte Hamilton, plus the amazing short films, documentaries, and music that explore their free time activities and those of notables in the community: from managers at Pixar to our local Supervisor to Broke-Ass Stuart.

We hope to see you there!

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

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

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.”

BAYCAT Grad, Bella Goes to USC Film School

Young BAYCAT filmmaker Bella Vallero, 17, has always been influenced by media, and dreams of being like the people she sees on TV. Now it’s her turn to do the influencing as she prepares to step behind the camera next year as a freshman at the University of Southern California.

USC has the best film school in the country. She credits BAYCAT with helping get her there.

“When I found out I got in, I didn’t believe it. I thought it was a joke or a mistake. I kept telling my mom, “I can’t believe I got in” for the longest time… Everything still hasn’t hit me yet,” she said. “I got to apply to as many colleges for free because of our financial standing, so I applied to a lot. Because everything was free, I applied to USC just to make my mom happy,” she said.

It will be a major shift for the film student, which can be a little daunting at times.

“I’m both excited and scared _MG_8421for so many things. I’m kind of intimidated because a lot of the kids going there have been doing this for years, if not their entire lives. Some of their parents even got to work on major films that have been released within the past few years, so they’ve always been exposed to this kind of stuff. The money thing intimidates me a bit, too. Not the cost of schooling, but the amount of money the other kids have. I don’t know how I’ll be able to adjust or fit in with all the other film kids there, but I have to somehow, if USC thinks I have just as much potential as them.”

Despite some nerves, after her time at BAYCAT, Bella feels well prepared to take on USC.

“BAYCAT has taught me so much. Technically speaking, they’ve helped me work better in a group setting and construct good work ethic in a collaborative environment,” she said. But the best lessons go beyond filmmaking technique.

“[BAYCAT] really taught me the importance of a diverse community. BAYCAT is all about representation and guidance and helping kids achieve their goals, and I am all about that. They helped me realize my potential in an industry as competitive as film. They helped me realize the lack of representation in media. They helped me realize that instead of noticing what’s wrong and not doing anything about it, that I should be proactive in things that I want to change, and I feel I could do that through the work I create,” she said.

The lessons in film and diversity impacted by BAYCAT instructors, have had a deeper personal impact that the young filmmaker expected.

“[The teachers] have also been really helpful in aiding me on speaking out more and having more confidence in myself. Throughout this past year, I’ve learned that I work really well under pressure, and I’ve learned that I’m worth more than I think and that I shouldn’t doubt myself too often,” she said.

Armed with renewed confidence and desire to champion representation in media, there is no other career she would rather have.

“Film combines everything I love to do into one profession. I never wanted to work a regular 9 to 5 job in an office all day, and I just feel that film can offer me the pleasure of traveling, writing, producing, interacting, and creating while still doing things I find exciting. Not knowing what each day has to offer while working is one of the main things that I found most desirable about film. The variety and constant change involved in the film industry, I feel, fits well with the kind of person I am.”

As for her hopes for the future: “I would like to see myself living comfortably and exploring the world at the same time with a camera in hand. Other than that, I’m unsure of what I’ll actually be doing. Hopefully, I’ll be successful in my film endeavors and life in general.”

Career Spotlight: Internship Graduate Blue Bergen

Some kids want to be a cowboy or firefighter when they grow up. But usually what we end up doing professionally looks very different from what we imagined as a kid. Not so for Blue Bergen. Blue, a graduate of BAYCAT’s 2014 TechSF Pathways Internship, always had a feeling about film.

“I’ve been making videos since I was a child, and towards the end of high school I realized that I could pursue a career in what I love doing,” he said. BAYCAT was a part of making that love of being behind the camera into a career.

Now B11015597_418136601696646_895315707_nlue is creating video projects for Autodesk, a multinational software company, filming their monthly “Design Night” event, while also participating in a video internship with the company at Pier 9.

He started pursuing that dream at City College of San Francisco, but it was an unexpected moment there that helped him get his start in the industry.

“Towards the end of my last semester working in the Cinema Dept. equipment room at CCSF, a department head pointed out a flyer posted on the bulletin board. It was a flyer for the BAYCAT 2014 Pathways Internship program. I applied online and got called in for an interview!,” he said.

That turned out to be a life changing moment for the young digital media artist.

“Being a cinema major, I already had a good understanding of video gear and set protocol. However, BAYCAT helped me to greatly improve and focus my skills for professional and documentary shoots, while also providing me with guidance on professionalism, interacting with clients, and networking. They gave me a huge push in the professional world that has led to many opportunities,” he said. “Mostly it’s a ‘know someone who knows someone’ kind of deal, and without BAYCAT I wouldn’t have had a way in.”

Beside his job at Autodesk, Blue has also used the connections 10500506_10152690594414155_8354394903425744413_nBAYCAT has helped him forge to build an independent client base, and films a weekly event capture for  Calvary Presbyterian Church.

“The BAYCAT experience is definitely not over after graduation. After the internship is over, they find great job opportunities for all graduates. After I graduated, I was pleasantly surprised that they were offering me so many opportunities for videography gigs, set positions, and internships. It has been a great opportunity that has allowed me to expand my clientele and portfolio,” he said.

While his career is keeping him busy, he still makes time for the thing that started it all: movies!

“When not working on films, I love watching them! Watching movies and shows is what sparked my interest in cinema as a child, so watching is fun and gives me lots of inspiration and ideas,” he said. “But I have an equal love for the outdoors! I love to go on hikes, explore, and climb around with my friends and amazing girlfriend whenever I have the chance.”

Blue offers this advice to other young people getting started in the digital media arts: “Don’t be afraid to try, change your mind, and be willing to try different things. What you always wanted might not turn out to be right for you, and you might find pleasure in work you hadn’t considered before. Try to take on a variety of jobs before deciding on one. You could be missing out on something great,” he said. And he recommends getting into the internship if you can. “They foster a friendly environment that stimulates growth in digital media skills and professionalism. BAYCAT has helped me come a long way, and I will be forever grateful for their assistance.

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.

LGBTQQ Youth Learn to Tell Own Story Through Film

Taking the time to examine the familiar through the eye of a film lens can sometimes reveal the unexpected. Recently, BAYCAT guided the young adult interns of Lavender Youth Recreation & Information Center (LYRIC), through this process as the first-time filmmakers took on the challenge of telling their own story.

Liz teaching camera work.“My experience with BAYCAT allowed me to explore my interest with cinematography in a new and creative way,” said participant Jassmyne. “Having to create my own work and see others in post-production with the same material was also very inspirational. Especially in an environment where everyone was so supportive and knowledgeable on what they were teaching.”

BAYCAT staff mobilized for a 3-day workshop-on-wheels, helping the youth of LYRIC create their own promotional highlighting the support and services the nonprofit has available for LGBTQQ youth. After facilitating training and planning the shoot on day 1, the crew of LYRIC youth broke into their production roles like director, cinematographer, and talent, to film a short promo video for the organization to use with recruitment and fundraising. Day 2

It was a great experience for both organizations.

LYRIC student's drawing“I really appreciated how [BAYCAT] didn’t try to take control of what we were doing, you all just let us do what we felt was right. I also appreciate how you all took the time to teach us. It was really fun working with all of you guys. You all kept me laughing and you were all pretty nice. I hope to work with you all again” said LYRIC intern Jennifer.

BAYCAT worked with the nonprofit’s interns to film a video about the internship program, which just premiered at LYRIC’s 27th Annual Open House. The event may have ended, but the video is still a great one to watch. Check it out here:


Warriors Sweep SF with Community Spirit

There is no denying the Warriors are HOT — and the wins keep coming as the team prepares to become BAYCAT’s neighbor to Bayview Hunters Point! The sports team is already making a full-court press to show their commitment to the community.

BAYCAT was invited to tell the stories of 4 community based organizations as part of the team’s Taste of the Warriors event, a food and wine festival exclusively for their Season Ticket Holders. The annual event reached out to BVHP and mission-based nonprofits La Cocina, Old Skool Cafe, Young Community Developers, and BAYCAT to cater, staff, and film the event respectively. (The video will premiere at our Open House this Thursday— join us to see a Taste of the Warriors.)

That isn’t the only way the Warriors are reaching out to our community.

Warriors Youth Media DayTwo BAYCAT youth were part of an exclusive group of 6 young people invited to interview Warriors players Harrison Barnes and Draymond Green as part of the team’s Youth Media Day. Youth media producers Nailah Reynolds, age 11, and James Parker Pennington, age 13,  interviewed the players, asking about overcoming obstacles, and if they always knew they’d make it to the NBA.

The experience was a great one for Nailah, who got to practice her interview technique on Draymond Green. But her favorite part was being close to her favorite player, who was practicing on the court while the youth were conducting the interviews.

“Most of my pictures are of Stephen Curry,” she said with a laugh.

diversity in media, Oscars, 2015 Academy Awards

Diversity in Media is an Ongoing Effort

“Tonight we celebrate Hollywood’s best and whitest, sorry … brightest.” – Neil Patrick Harris, host of the 87th Annual Academy Awards.

Diversity in media matters. That is one of the core beliefs here at BAYCAT, and it’s something that many would say they support as well. However, diversity and representation was not on display last night when the staff at BAYCAT joined 36.6 million Americans in watching the 87th Annual Academy Awards.

diversity in media, Oscars, 2015 Academy AwardsWhen we look past the glittery gowns and gold statues, we realize that not much has changed in the last 87 years of the Oscars. 2015 marks the whitest Oscar year since 1995, as the Academy did not recognize a single actor of color. There were also no female directors, screenwriters or cinematographers nominated. None of the Best Picture nominees were films about women or had a female lead.

As trainers of the media makers of tomorrow, BAYCAT aims to change this trend.

In Academy Award history, only 4 female directors have ever been nominated, and there has been only 1 win (Kathryn Bigelow in 2010 for The Hurt Locker). The number of major studio films directed by women has declined since Ms. Bigelow’s win, “hitting a high of 8.1% in 2010, and falling to a low of 4.6% last year,” according to a Los Angeles Times analysis of films directed by women at the six major studios. Women in general lagged behind their male counterparts across the board, with 44 out of 200+ Academy nominations being for female artists this awards season.

Academy membership is still 94% White, 77% Male, with a median age of 62. What kind of stories will be told, and what narratives recognized when there is such a sameness in the voting body? We can access such a rich story when we invite a diversity of perspectives.  Now, more than ever, nurturing the ambitions and career plans of our young artists is essential if we hope to see a change on screen and in society.

But becoming one of these media makers requires access. Access that many youth of color do not have, thanks to the creative digital divide. In San Francisco, specific communities like Bayview Hunters Point and the Mission have limited access to computers and technical training. A 2013 U.S. Census study found that Hispanic and African American youth still trail significantly behind other ethnicities in computer ownership, while a class-based digital production gap exists, as low-income users are less likely to engage in content creation due to disadvantages in education, according to a 2011 study out of UC Berkeley.

If Ava DuVernay, the director of Selma had been nominated, she would have been the first African American director nominated in Oscar history. Some groups had planned to protest the lack of diversity among nominees, but it was canceled at the director’s request.

Diversity and representation in media is not equitable, and as a community, it is up to us to demand change, not simply by words, but through action. Our Media Pathways Internship, and youth programs began earlier this month, and BAYCAT is working with our youth of color, low income youth and young women, to strengthen the representation of all people in media, both in front of and behind the camera.  Our young artists create a tapestry that reflects all of us, not just some, and we empower them, everyday, to tell their own stories. We don’t have to wait for change to start. It already has.

Sign up for our newsletter, or follow along on Facebook as these talented and capable young media makers add their voices to diversify an industry that will only evolve if you demand it.