BAVC Media Community Celebrates Our 45th Anniversary!

Published On: December 2, 2021 |
Old black & white photo of BAVC's old office at 1111 17th St., SF.

BAVC Supported Media Makers Reflect Our Past, Present and Future!

After another acutely challenging year, we feel renewed gratitude for our community members, old and new, who inspire, teach, and collaborate with us.

You may recognize some of them…

They’re BIPOC and underrepresented creatives that train at BAVC and get hired and promoted in the notoriously white and male tech industry, they’re documentary filmmakers using hybrid storytelling and new media to expand the documentary form, they’re established filmmakers that got their professional starts at BAVC 10, 15, 20 years ago that come back as mentors, guest speakers and executive producers, they’re filmmakers using archival materials preserved by BAVC to produce groundbreaking films like Crip Camp, they’re young women and nonbinary students premiering their first short film at a major film festival, they’re executives that run major film companies and organizations like Pixar and ITVS that worked at or made projects supported by BAVC, they’re our passionate and informed neighbors in San Francisco who produce truly authentic shows for public access television that you won’t find on corporate TV, they’re pros at the top of their game that moonlight as instructors in advanced practice areas, and they’re a growing force of passionate filmmakers that uplift, upend, and expand our understanding of pressing social issues, with early support from BAVC Media. 

It’s hard to put BAVC in a box, even the 11,000 square foot one that we just moved out of! Our programs reflect the plurality of media makers that we support, and our evolving crew of staff, Board members, and community partners.

In celebration of 45 years of trailblazing media makers, and all of those yet to come, we’re excited to share a series of portraits taken by Oakland-based photographer, Lara Kaur, over the next few weeks on our blog and Instagram. We hope you enjoy them! Please help us support more more media makers by donating to BAVC Media today.


Photography by Lara Kaur

Jun Stinson is a producer, documentary film director and journalist based in Oakland, California. Her work can be seen in The New Yorker, Washington Post, AP, ESPN, amongst others. She was a co-producer of the three-time Regional Emmy winning Untold America series at AJ+. Jun is a 2020 News and Documentary Emmy Awards Judge, 2019 International Documentary Association awards judge and a former SFFILM House resident. Jun is a 2015 BAVC National MediaMaker Fellow.

How did BAVC aid, inspire, or catalyze where you are today?

Jun: Being part of the MediaMaker fellowship had a huge impact on me being able to finish my documentary Futbolistas 4 Life by inviting me into a supportive community of filmmakers who could offer constructive feedback and advice. Futbolistas 4 Life ended up screenings at festivals across the country and I continue to produce films today. With our trip to Full Frame and joining forces with Firelight on a distribution conference held at KQED, BAVC helped break down barriers I faced in the doc world and provided spaces where I could get one-on-one introductions to gatekeepers in the industry – all of which helped me get to where I am today. 


Photography by Lara Kaur

Sarah Bryant-Cole is an independent textile artist from the California Bay Area whose work incorporates elements of playfulness and interactivity. Sarah is currently on staff at BAVC Media as a Reel Stories Instructor and Co-Teacher for the Reel Stories Student Board. Sarah attended the very first Reel Stories summer program in 2013, returned many times as a camper, and ended up volunteering as a Producer after aging out of the programs.

Can you describe your connection to BAVC Media? 

Sarah: I was lucky enough to know Esther Pearl, who founded Reel Stories, as a family friend. I was able to participate as a camper in the program from the first year it ran, meeting so many amazing people. I now work for BAVC, and can say that Reel Stories and BAVC have definitely altered the trajectory of my life. I recently graduated from the Rhode Island School of Design with a degree in Textile Design, and am very interested in how interdisciplinary the film industry can be. Costume design and production design are especially interesting to me, and if I had not been involved with BAVC Media, I definitely would not be pursuing this kind of career.


Photograph submitted by Peter Nicks

Peter Nicks is an Emmy Award-winning director, known for his immersive camera work and vérité style. He won the Sundance Directing prize for his second documentary, “The Force” (2017). He previously directed the critically acclaimed documentary “The Waiting Room” (2012), the first in a trilogy of timely, immersive films exploring the interconnected narratives of health care, criminal justice and education in Oakland, CA. Nicks participated in BAVC’s Producers’ Institute in 2010.

What are you up to now – personally, creatively and professionally?

Pete: I’m directing documentaries full time as well as supporting other productions in my role as an executive at a media company. BAVC played an integral role in my development as a filmmaker and also inspired me to think beyond traditional ways of storytelling to reach audiences in new and impactful ways.    


Photograph submitted by Arthur Dong

Arthur Dong is an Oscar-nominated, Peabody and triple Sundance award-winning filmmaker, author and curator whose work centers on Asian American and LGBTQ stories. A theme that underscores Dong’s films is personal stories of survival and resistance set against backdrops of social and cultural oppressions. Dong was a beneficiary of BAVC Media’s Preservation Access Program between 1996-1997.

Favorite story from BAVC?

Arthur: Filmmakers in the 1990s were transitioning from film to video, confronting the challenges of digital production head on — we were on a steep learning curve and working with a myriad of older video formats in a new era of non-linear digital editing. Grace Lan, our production assistant on “Licensed to Kill” (1997) was also on the BAVC staff. As the liaison between our edit room and BAVC facilities, Grace was instrumental in making sure we had elements in the right formats in order for our post-production process to flow smoothly — we couldn’t have done it without Grace, and she always completed each task with a commanding smile and verve. Anyone who has had the privilege of working with Grace will know what I mean.

Where can we watch your work?

Arthur: My retrospective on The Criterion Channel runs through March 2022. If you’re not a subscriber, no problem, they offer a 14-day free trial — lots of great films! Here’s a link to my series: Stories of Resistance: Documentaries by Arthur Dong.”

Thank you to everyone who has been a part of BAVC Media’s legacy through the years – if you’re reading this, that means you!

The generosity of our community allows us to offer mentorship, training, preservation, equipment, and support to media makers at all stages of their careers. Big thanks and high-fives to our donors – we appreciate you! If you’re able to contribute today, hit that donate button, and you’ll receive our heartfelt gratitude.

Donate today to help BAVC Media continue offering an array of accessible, high-quality, programs. We can support media makers because you support us!