This is my first time writing an introduction to BAVC’s annual report. Prior to becoming Executive Director in 2011 I worked as a grantmaker. Nine times out of ten a grantseeking organization would begin their application by saying: “This past year was a period of great transition….”

Well, here I am at BAVC and I am here to tell you that this past year was a period of great transition.

The Bay Area Video Coalition celebrated its 35th anniversary in 2011 but rather than enter middle age the organization displayed a youthful vigor as it rolled out new programs, welcomed new leadership, and engaged new partners.

Mark Twain said that “to stand still is to fall behind.” A sentiment that applies to the worlds of the arts, education and technology that BAVC inhabits.

Rather than stand still, teens in our advanced video program pushed the frontiers of what a movie could be by collaborating with the Mozilla Foundation on web-native filmmaking projects, and our preservation team created a first-of-its kind digital repository for historically essential media assets in partnership with the Dance Heritage Coalition.

BAVC’s public access television program – SF Commons - brought new voices to San Francisco’s airwaves by setting up remote-broadcast studios and a neighborhood news network in partnership with cultural centers in SOMA, and the Mission and the Bay View Hunters Point Boys and Girls Club.

In addition to empowering Bay Area youth and community members to tell their stories, BAVC helped leading documentary makers, technologists and activists from around the country bring their work to life on new media platforms through New York and San Francisco editions of the Producers Institute and by running the year-round Media MakersFellows program.

The value of bringing people from different fields together is best captured by Samantha Grant:

“I was thrilled to be a 2011 MediaMaker fellow, it has meant exposure to cutting edge technologies, collaboration with an amazing group of filmmakers, and it forced me to make space in my life to think about innovation and how I could make this work.”

BAVC continued its commitment to work with people who come to digital media with diverse experiences and different ambitions. Enrollment in BAVC’s media training classes surpassed 2500 adults and youth in 2011. And a team of 25 instructors offered nearly 300 courses to keep pace with fast-changing shifts in the skills the market demands and the desires of adventurous story tellers. We offered a class in DSLR Cinematography for the first time and brought back our soup-to-nuts Video Production Bootcamp and both joined Compression, Cinema 4D, Final Cut Pro: Introduction and After Effects as the most popular classes.

While thousands of people came in and out of our San Francisco and Oakland offices in 2011, we made key changes in staff and structure to better support the artists, activists, individuals, organizations and companies with whom we work.

In 2011 I became BAVC’s Executive Director, Carol Varney became Managing Director and Kim Bender became Development Director. The Technology and Operations Departments were integrated, the unrestricted net asset deficit was reduced, and a Board-designated Cash Reserve was established.

None of this great work would be possible without extraordinary support from individuals and institutions who believe in our mission and step up to help us achieve it. In 2011 we received support from an array of private funders, corporate sponsors and public agencies as diverse as our activities. We’re proud of the extraordinary support we received from the John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation through their MACIE award for Creative & Effective Institutions  and from the National Endowment for the Arts, Corporation for Public Broadcasting and National Science Foundation, from corporate sponsors and visionary, national, California and family foundations.

In my first six months at BAVC I learned very quickly that the organization’s core strength, and primary reason for its success and relevance over four decades, is its ability to execute exceptional programming today and to prepare for the changes that invariably will come tomorrow.

Heading into 2012 we’re gearing up to write a new strategic plan, renew a contract to deliver public access programming in San Francisco, redesign programs with city, state, and federal job training agencies, forge new digital pathways for Bay Area youth to succeed in college and the workforce, review how we best address the media preservation needs of the nation’s cultural community, and retool programs for media makers so that they continue to fuel innovation and achieve meaningful, real world impact.

But for all the “new” things that are a part of life at BAVC, we remain anchored in a mission to make technology accessible to anyone who wants to tell a story to engage a community to change the world. And we remain committed to a strategy of common uplift in which we seek collaboration with our funders, donors, partners, peers and you at every turn.

Marc Vogl
Executive Director
Spring, 2012