Success Story: Sydney


The Factory has been very influential in my life. As I said, I have been working with the art of film-making for a few years, but not until this year have I seen myself grow so much in such a short time. I have learned to work a little more professionally and network with people, especially my peers. I have gained not only knowledge but also resources and friends.
- Sydney

Sydney Matterson is a 17-year-old student in BAVC's Factory program. She joined the program as a junior at the San Francisco School of the Arts when one of her teachers told her about BAVC. She is an Oakland native and currently lives in Richmond, California.

Sydney's interest in film-making first came as an actress when she was in middle school, but she soon decided she wanted to try her hand on the other side of the camera. She wanted to experiment with the different ways she could tell a story. It doesn't come as a surprise, then, that she counts among her artistic influences Paul Haggis, the director of "Crash."

On election day last year, Sydney organized a "youth voting booth" in the middle of downtown Oakland and shot footage for her current project - a documentary on youth voice and voting. That project, now titled, "Youth Voices" premiered at the San Francisco International Film Festival in early May 2009 in the Youth Bring the Truth program. "Youth Voices" is also included in the Youth Film for Change Award competition at the Festival. After the film screening, Sydney participated in a panel titled "Youth Make Media, Incite Change," sponsored by Adobe Youth Voices.

In her own words, "The idea for 'Youth Voices' came mostly from my frustration of not being able to vote last year. Like the rest of the country, I was glued to the television whenever election coverage was on, and I wanted to be a part of the election of our new president. The election of 2008 was a huge deal, it was a turning point in many ways, and I needed to be involved some way. That is where "Youth Voices '08" came from. I know my peers have just as much to say, if not more, as I do. So I wanted to create a place where people with opinions whose vote would not be counted could make their voices heard. Although we did not elect the president, now the rest of the country, mainly adults, are able to see the youth as the intelligent and opinionated leaders of tomorrow."

We asked Sydney if she would ever send her video to President Obama. She replied, "I have been encouraged to send my video to President Obama, and I would love for him to see it, especially since many of his supporters are featured in my movie. My hope is that I can get a lot of plays in festivals and online, and maybe my video can become something he hears about and eventually views. It might be a stretch to ask him to seek me out. But I would love to get it to him somehow."

In Fall 2009, Sydney began film school at New York University where she graduated in 2013. She is currently working part time for The Factory summer Community Filmmaking Partnership and clients through BAVC Productions.