Success Story: Edgardo

"The Midnight Hour" by Edgardo Cervano-Soto.

Edgardo found out about BAVC as a 16-year-old student at Richmond High School in Contra Costa County. The school has a history of gang-related violence and is known for the poor an working-class immigrant communities it serves (80% of the students speak English as a second language). An after-school coordinator at the school told Edgardo about BAVC's YouthLink video training program (now called Digital Pathways ), and he filled out the application that day. Edgardo travelled more than an hour to San Francisco three days a week to participate in the year-long program.

During his time in the program, Edgardo learned how to operate a digital camera, shoot with lights and other equipment, edit using Final Cut Pro, and pitch and present his creative ideas to his peers and instructors. His first film, titled "Contra," is an experimental short film that revolves around ethnic stereotypes. It has played at dozens of venues around the country including screenings at: Global Youth Media and Arts Festival, Young at Art at the De Young Museum, Cinemakids, and Intersection for the Arts among others.

His second film, "Tent City" was a collaborative documentary about a group of Richmond residents who protested crime and violence in their streets by camping out in their neighborhoods. "Tent City" won the Best Documentary award at the Future Filmmakers Festival in Chicago in 2007 and it screened on the Oakland Tribune website as part of the "Not Just Another Number" community voices section.

Edgardo described his"Tent City" experience, and the connections he made to activists in his community, in the personal essay he wrote as part of his application to Stanford University. He was accepted and started at Stanford in 2007. He has said of his acceptance, "Im pretty sure that if I had not been in BAVC, I would not have the opportunity to do such a thing. BAVC and YouthLink, was the beginning of a chain of good fortunes that has led me to my present state. Its weird sometimes when I find some connection to BAVC in Stanford. I feel like I am on the right track because everything comes around full circle."

In the summer of 2008, Edgardo returned to BAVC to take part in an advanced video production class called "Dialogues in the Dark." As part of that class, he produced "The Midnight Hour," a meditation on the doubts that creep in during the quiet dark. He returned to Stanford for his second year in the fall of 2008.

When we asked Edgardo what he hopes to be doing after graduating from Stanford, he replied, "I hope to be working in film, either in documentary or fictional narrative. It would be amazing to work for a media outlet, National Geographic or the New York Times...Those are my hopes, but no matter what, I wish that ten years from now, I am happy."

Edgardo is currently a graduate of Stanford. In April 2012, he participated in BAVC's 3-day Youth Advocacy Boot Camp (funded by CA Endowment). In spring 2013, he organized "La Rosa Mixtape" - a film festival and performance on queer/culturally mixed stories.