Annual Report 2009: Next Generation Youth Programs

Increasing the cultural and economic participation of at-risk youth

Targeting low-income youth facing multiple barriers to education and employment, BAVC's Next Generation Programs offer a flexible, alternative educational and employment pathway for at-risk youth ages 13-21. Our program model works simultaneously to develop young peoples' emerging voice and creativity; provide them advanced, industry standard training in new media; and help them develop the 21st century and soft skills necessary to live and work in our emerging information and technology-based society.

At the start of 2009 Next Gen ran satellite in-school and after-school programs in digital audio and video production at eight different school and community sites: Ralph Bunche High School, John O’Connell High School, Balboa High School, Lighthouse Community Charter School, Coliseum College Preparatory Academy, Frick Middle School, Edna Brewer Middle School, and Oakland International High School.

To say that this geographic spread was challenging on staff and program resources is an understatement. Each location had its own very specific set of needs and challenges and we realized that it just wouldn't be sustainable for BAVC to continue this resource-intensive type of programming. BAVC needed to change our strategy for program scaling. In the fall of 2009, we decided to turn over the BUMP Beats curriculum to our school and community sites at no cost, provide them trained instructors and technical assistance, and focus our efforts on delivering our curriculum and best practices via the web, free-of-charge, rather than running fully-staffed satellite programs ourselves. As part of this new strategy, we are also planning a BUMP Beats training for teachers and program managers in the summer of 2010.

This change allowed Next Gen to focus our efforts on BAVC's successful Digital Pathways program and introduce a new track in open source programming. It also allowed for a renewed focus on program metrics and evaluation.

BAVC's Next Gen programs served more than 700 youth in 2009 in our core programs including: The Factory; BUMP Records; Digital Pathways, Audio; Digital Pathways, Video; Digital Pathways, 3-D Gaming and Animation; Digital Pathways, Open Source; and our Community Storytelling projects.

The Factory

The Factory, BAVC's advanced video production collective for youth, produced 20 short films in 2009, including a mix of documentary, experimental, and narrative work. Many of the films have since screened at film festivals around the country including: the San Francisco International Film Festival, Los Angeles Film Festival, DocuJam, and the National Film Festival for Talented Youth (NFFTY). In all, Factory films produced in 2009 have screened at fifteen national film festivals and won five Best of Festival awards.

The Factory entered 2009 with a stated commitment to broadening the experiences of its filmmakers and exposing it to new modes of media production. Eight Factory students traveled to the Sundance Film Festival in January of 2009, meeting filmmakers, watching movies, and attending panels on new modes of film production and distribution. In the Fall of 2009, five youth traveled to the American Film Institute and post-production facilities in Los Angeles to experience professional filmmaking first-hand and develop a better understanding of the difference between celluloid filmmaking and digital media.

Factory students also traveled with their own media - to the Superfly Film Festival in Seattle and the Tower of Youth festival in Sacramento - where they got to meet and collaborate with other youth producers, talk about their projects in front of engaged audiences, and experience other communities. In May two Factory films (Youth Voices and El Pan del Dia) screened in the San Francisco International Festival and the filmmakers joined a panel of youth in panel discussion, led by Adobe Youth Voices, about youth filmmakers.

Factory youth had the opportunity, thanks to donations from Kodak, the film processing lab Fotokem and San Francisco State University, to shoot a handful of movies on 16mm film in the Fall of 2009. The process of learning to shoot on celluloid – to load the film with their hands, to measure focus and exposure manually, to see the film projected as workprint, and to experiment with editing the film manually – instilled a great deal of patience in the filmmakers and taught them to give each composition the consideration it deserves.

In an effort to help youth in our program make informed decisions about continuing their education, Factory staff completed a comprehensive review of undergraduate media programs for high school students applying to college. Counted among our greatest Factory program accomplishments is that all graduating Factory seniors in 2009 started college in the fall of 2009.

Dig In

The Factory

videoicon.pngView all the 2009 Factory Videos >

"How to Set a House on Fire" by Factory filmmaker Henry Zaballos.

Music from "Lifelines" by BUMP Records

audioicon.pngListen to the entire 2009 BUMP Records release "Lifelines" >

"Gettin' Hot" by V and Young Base

"Embrace" by 21 and Lyrical Tae

"You Inspire" by Breeyana Lovelace and S.k.a.l.a.

Community Storytelling

videoicon.pngView the entire "Abriendo las Cajas" video series>

The introductory video from "Abriendo las Cajas."

photoicon.pngView photos from Next Gen programs >

A photo on Flickr
BUMP Records

Bay Unity Music Project (BUMP) Records is BAVC's music performance and production program for Bay Area youth ages 14-19. With the help of professional instructors, young people learn to compose music and lyrics, DJ, and produce and record original music using industry-standard technology. BUMP producers also get hands-on entrepreneurship training and experience in producing, branding and promoting albums. Participants have use of music production software and a professional-caliber rehearsal and recording space, free of charge.

In January, the start of the 2009 cohort saw BUMP Records artists and staff all impacted by the energy surrounding the impending Oscar Grant murder trial. BUMP Records along with Oakland Leaf, YMR, Cov Records, Weapons of Mass Expression and others organized a community performance at Merritt College to provide our youth with a platform to express their feelings about youth/police interaction in Oakland. In the Spring, BUMP Records produced four solo artist EP projects for students completing their artist development curriculum. These students have gone on the study Music Recording and Marketing at schools like NYU, Dillard University (New Orleans, LA), and GeorgeMason University and pursue careers in media arts at the Academy of Art in San Francisco. The Fall 2009 cohort also produced the first BUMP compilation CD in three years titled "Lifelines." The project focused on collaboration between artists in the program and was made available to stream online for free. The Spring and Fall cohorts both ended their seasons with release party events in Oakland. Students were able to perform their mastered works in front of family and friends in honor of their hard work.

In the Summer BUMP Records artists participated, for the third consecutive year, in the Allied Media Conference in Detroit, Michigan. Students and BUMP Records staff members were actively involved in the youth track of the conference. Students performed at two showcase events at the conference, and helped lead an audio production training workshop. The students were also involved in a Q&A Skype video conference with a music program in Durban, South Africa. The internet-globetrotting students were able to ask each other questions about creating music and inquire about each others environment in their local communities. They were also able to perform for each other by exchanging beats and performing using webcams.

Digital Pathways

Primarily funded by the National Science Foundation's ITEST program, Digital Pathways is an intensive media training program for young people who want to learn skills to advance their potential for careers in technology and the media arts. Students choose from 4 tracks -  video, audio, 3D gaming & animation, or open source - and participate in intensive training that leads to a portfolio of projects, and paid internships in their chosen field. During the training period, Digital Pathways students are challenged to apply their technical skills towards addressing community issues and exploring their own artistic voices while also preparing for job readiness. At the conclusion of the program, all students receive three units of college credit.

The first major accomplishment of the 2009 for Digital Pathways was the approval of our Advanced Audio curriculum through San Francisco State University, allowing students who successfully complete the 160 hours of training to received three transferable college credits and kick- start their paths to higher education. We also successfully launched our second cohort of 3-D Gaming students and launched our very first cohort of Open Source students- a major addition to the Digital Pathways program.

As part of the program in 2009, BAVC trained 110 youth and placed 88 in professional industry internships at sites including Common Sense Media,, Skyblaze Recordings, Yerba Buena Discos, and Sound Arts, among others.

Digital Storytelling

In 2009, BAVC completed the first year of "Abriendo las Cajas" programming with local partners La Clínica de la Raza and ZeroDivide through the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation's New Routes to Immigrant Health initiative. As part of the wrap-up for the first year of programming, in which participants created their own short documentaries and digital stories about domestic violence, BAVC co-facilitated the program, created bi-lingual story collections and community discussion guides, distributed 300 tool kits to community organizations, offered the story collection and materials online, and supported a culminating community screening event and celebration. In the second half of the year, the project was transitioned to find a new home with Next Generation programs alongside other community-based storytelling programs and curriculum. Rosario Sotelo, BAVC's "Abriendo las Cajas" facilitator, is an instructor for both Abriendo and Next Gen, and is leading the second phase of programming in which Abriendo participants will create a thirty-minute documentary about the affects of violence in the Latin American media.

We supported the California Council for the Humanties' Youth Digital Filmmakers initiative, assisting with technical and programmatic components of the projects, and the distribution of the eight program grantees' final films.