Annual Report 2011: Independent Media

SF Commons: San Francisco’s innovative public access television station

The name “SF Commons” is derived from the notion of a public commons – a physical gathering place for community debate and celebration – and also a set of shared community assets and knowledge. We intend to honor the broad notion of a community’s stories and experiences for sharing, but in our efforts to reimagine public access, we also imagine a future in which commons refers to the pooling of assets, expertise, and the deepening of civic engagement to collectively address social challenges. 2011 was a year of deepening organizational relationships, collaborating regionally and nationally with peer organizations, promoting broadband adoption through media-based learning, and planning for an expansion of our collaborations in 2012.

In 2011, SF Commons:
· Operated two 24/7 cable channels and live web streams
· Served 100 independent producers creating programming for distribution on SF Commons
· Supported an average of 10 live shows in our Flash Studio weekly, with Flash Studio guests including
· Provided 791 days of fully subsidized (free) equipment and edit suite rentals to producers
· Provided 383 hours of training in video production, postproduction, and Flash studio production to producers

Special projects included:
· The neighborhood news network or n3, with journalism and live show training for groups of community producers at SomArts Cultural Center, Mission Cultural Center for Latino Arts, and the Willie Mays Boys & Girls Club in Bayview
· Live programs and events streamed from our n3 sites, such as “100 Performances From The Hole” at SomArts Cultural Center and Open Mic nights and BUMP Records performances at BAVC
· A PSA Day workshop and production services for nonprofit organizations such as the San Francisco Family Services Agency, Youthline/Chalk, the Afro Solo Theatre Company, African American Arts & Cultural Center, West Bay Multi Service Center, Project Commotion, Positive Pro News, Bridge the Gap & Urban Education Academy
· The Veterans Storytelling Project, a digital storytelling program in partnership with the Veterans Administration
· The recording and distribution of candidate statements for any local candidate for mayor or supervisor

In addition, collaboration with peer organizations strengthened our organizational relationships:
· Collaborated with eight fellow public access centers in the Northern California region to share curriculum and best practices and discuss collaborative efforts
· Developed the California Community Media Exchange to continue collaboration and sharing of content and curriculum among regional access centers
· Implemented innovative system for building community media archive in partnership with the Internet Archive
· In collaboration with BAVC’s Next Gen programs, developed a partnership with the San Francisco Public Library, KQED, and California Academy of Sciences to plan for a youth media center at SFPL

MediaMaker Fellowships

Throughout the course of 2011, eight remarkable fellows participated in a series of workshops and labs designed to help them advance their social issue media projects, get feedback and inspiration from a network of expert mentors, they worked in BAVC’s facility, and presented their progress in a culminating presentation.

“What we didn’t have the bandwidth to do is to figure out a transmedia plan because we were so busy keeping up with this narrative. Then, we got the BAVC fellowship, and since then we have had our eyes open to so many new ideas. The BAVC fellowship has really changed how we have thought about how to tell this story. And it’s given us great ideas for ways to use the film’s potential to empower the movement.”
--- Megan Gelstein, Emmy Winning Documentary maker, 2011 MediaMaker Project: Green Shall Overcome, the story of controversial environmental activist Van Jones

“I was thrilled to be a 2011 MediaMaker fellow, it has meant exposure to cutting edge technologies, collaboration with this amazing group of filmmakers, and also, very importantly, it forced me to make space in my life to think about innovation and how I could make this work.”
--- Samantha Grant, lecturer at UC Berkeley's Graduate School of Journalism and Stanford's Knight Fellows program 2011 MediaMaker Project: A Fragile Trust, a transmedia doc project about the Jayson Blair/New York Times plagiarism scandal and ethics, power and responsibility in the media.

“It has really been a fantastic year here at BAVC. I’ve learned so much awesome new technology and new ways of thinking about approaching projects that has really impacted my projects and my approach.”
--- Sara Maamouri, documentary filmmaker and editor 2011 MediaMaker Project: Burned, a documentary about arson investigations and the execution of Todd Cameron Willingham.

“BAVC has allowed us to create the space where we can debate and discuss transmedia. I really want to thank BAVC for their support, and all of the MediaMakers too - I’ve come out of this feeling really inspired.”
--- Nadia Shihab, is a documentary filmmaker and experimental musician residing in San Francisco, California 2011 MediaMaker Project: Poppies for Kirkuk, a portrait of Iraqi Turkmen as they find themselves suddenly living in the boundaries of a newly emerging Kurdistan.