Posts

What have we done today at BAYCAT?

Director – Sarah Taborga
Cinematographers – Nasi Fountain & Danny Lopez
Audio – Chanel Kaliski
Editor – Ariel Dovas
Music – Jason “Trackademicks” Valerio
Producers – Ariel Dovas, Katie Cruz & Savana Vagueiro
Executive Producer – Villy Wang

Avoid the Back to School Rush + Support Diversity

Streamline back to school shopping, and do some good while you’re at it!

BTS

Back to school madness is upon us. The end of summer means school is now back in session. As students head back to the classroom, busy parents are even busier making sure kids are prepared. Consider giving yourself or someone you love one less headache during this hectic shopping season – try smile.amazon.com, and let the schools supplies come to you. Plus, using this link means Amazon donates a percentage of what is spent to BAYCAT, investing in our community at no cost to you. It doesn’t matter if you live in San Francisco or the other side of the world — anyone can share and use the link to Benefit BAYCAT. Be sure to bookmark it on whatever search engine you use and then just click the link every time you want to shop at Amazon. It’s simple, easy and a really great way to help fund the work our students and interns do without any additional cost to you.

Wishing you a safe and healthy start to the new school year!

– The BAYCAT Team

Grateful Thanksgiving

6 Things We’re Thankful For and Why You Should Be, Too!

As you’re getting on a plane, in a car, or busy prepping for your Thanksgiving celebration, here are 6 things we’re truly thankful for at BAYCAT that you can add to your list of things to be thankful for, too:

1. Our youth media producers’ creativity and inspiration. Seven films created by our youth media producers won 22 awards this year.

Doc shorts: #Activism, Stats of Life, This Is Me, Tangles

Music Videos: Take a Look at Yourself, Mood Swings, Reach for the Stars

2. Our employers who hired 88% of our graduates from the last 2 years. SF Giants Production, Lucas Film, Wired Magazine, the Golden State Warriors, HBO, Netflix, and others. You’ve given our interns, mainly young creatives of color and young women, dream jobs in the competitive fields of digital arts, broadcast and tech.

3. Our clients.  We love working with you, and also appreciate you for giving back by hiring our professional Studio.

4. All the stories we get to tell.

Special mentions: We’re grateful to tell 50 stories of 50 amazing Bay Area nonprofits in 50 weeks leading up to Super Bowl 50. THANK YOU 50 Fund for partnering with us and for being visionary in creating the most giving Super Bowl ever.  

Thanks also to all our nonprofit partners who make our community and The Bay Area stronger!

5. The best BAYCAT team, board and volunteers who make this happen each day.

6. All our donors!

We are very proud of what we have accomplished, and thankful for all the support. However, in order to continue to serve our community, we need your help and money. Therefore, we are launching today our year-end annual campaign: “Fund Passion. Not Prison.”

The goal of this campaign is to keep our youth’s free arts and tech programs alive. You can make a difference by donating before December 31, so that we will continue to help low income youth, young women and kids of color, who have no access to the creative and digital fields, to follow their passion and find the job of their dreams.

Click here to donate now.

Also check out the option to build your own page to help us reach the goal. You can do it as a team at your school, organization and company. Or it’s just a way to invite your friends, family and colleagues to pitch in.

This money will help us to educate and train 250 kids from the lowest opportunity neighborhoods of San Francisco and the Bay Area.  More importantly, it will give them a safe place where they’re able to express themselves, and where we can nurture their passion into a meaningful profession. This is a growth opportunity they can’t access anywhere else.

Your tax-deductible donation will help Jazzy and Hugo to continue to follow their passion and build a future. After all, we think the world would be a better place if everyone had the opportunity to follow their passion and find a job they love.

Happy Thanksgiving from the BAYCAT family!

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.

baycat youth, media production

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.

baycat, baycat academy, youth, media, education, san francisco, bayview hunters point, filmmaking, nonprofit, social, enterprise, production, studio, open, house, mental, health, wellbeing, illness, stigma, film, music, digital, divide

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!

baycat, baycat academy, youth, media, education, san francisco, bayview hunters point, filmmaking, nonprofit, social, enterprise, production, studio, open, house, mental, health, wellbeing, illness, stigma, film, music, digital, divide

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.

baycat, baycat academy, youth, media, education, san francisco, bayview hunters point, filmmaking, nonprofit, social, enterprise, production, studio, open, house, mental, health, wellbeing, illness, stigma, film, music, digital, divide

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!

baycat, baycat academy, youth media, san francisco, education, bayview hunters point, candlestick park, outdoors, u.s. forest service, music video music production, nonprofit, social enterprise, zoom in, youth, rap, filmmaking, film, festival

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.

 

baycat, baycat academy, youth media, san francisco, education, bayview hunters point, nonprofit, social enterprise, zoom in, youth, politics, LGBTQ, filmmaking, film, festival

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.

 

BAYCAT, BAYCAT Academy, BAYCAT Productions, youth media, education, autobiography, documentary, San Francisco, Bayview Hunters Point, family, foster care, filmmaking, I Hella Love Shorts Film Festival, International Black Women's Film Festival, black women, self-representation, short film, the beach, Ocean Beach

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!

amazon_smile-02

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!

BAYCAT, BAYCAT Academy, youth media, education, san francisco, bayview hunters point, nonprofit, production studio, social enterprise, mental health, filmmaking, documentary, youth, media, media production, digital divide, film, mental illness, mental wellbeing, schizophrenia, stigma

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

BAYCAT, BAYCAT Academy, youth media, education, san francisco, bayview hunters point, nonprofit, production studio, social enterprise, mental health, filmmaking, documentary, youth, media, media production, digital divide, film, mental illness, mental wellbeing, schizophrenia, stigma

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.

BAYCAT, BAYCAT Academy, youth media, education, san francisco, bayview hunters point, nonprofit, production studio, social enterprise, mental health, filmmaking, documentary, youth, media, media production, digital divide, film, mental illness, mental wellbeing, schizophrenia, stigma

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.

BAYCAT, BAYCAT Academy, education, youth media, San Francisco, Bayview Hunters Point, cooking, healthy eating, healthy mind, mental health, nonprofit, social enterprise, production studio

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

BAYCAT Academy, BAYCAT, education youth media, San Francisco, Bayview Hunters Point, healthy eating, healthy cooking, food, Bayview Opera House, mental health, healthy mind

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.

BAYCAT Academy, BAYCAT, education, youth media, San Francisco, Bayview Hunters Point, cooking, healthy eating, healthy mind, mental health

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!