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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.

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.