45 Years Of BAVC Media: Community Portraits
An Interview with BAVC Media's Development Director: Jenny Slattery!

Join us as we sit down with MediaMaker Co-Director, Niema Jordan, one last time to reminisce on her time at BAVC Media, congratulate her on her myriad of accomplishments in 2021 alone, wish her well on her exciting future endeavors, say thank you, and bid her farewell (for now)!

Full length portrait of Niema Jordan standing hand on her hip on an Oakland California sidewalk, dappled light, buildings, trees. Niema wears a gold watch, an asymmetrically flowing green dress to her knees, delicate hoop earrings, sharp flats. Her nails are painted and her hair is like a crown.

BAVC Media: What was a highlight from your time as Co-Director of the Media Maker Fellowship?

Niema: Ah, what a difficult question. There were so many. I think overall, being able to connect with filmmakers from all over has been a joy. The current fellows and alumni have been an absolute pleasure to with. I am constantly inspired by their work and their dedication to the craft of documentary filmmaking.

BAVC Media: What was it like going to Camden International Film Festival (CIFF) and DOC NYC with the MediaMaker Fellows? Any memorable moments or takeaway lessons you can share with us?

Niema: Camden was my first time in a movie theater since the pandemic began. To be able to watch great films with super talented filmmakers was amazing. During our stay, we spent the last night talking by a bonfire, which was beautiful. It was also just great to be able to connect with fellows outside of a Zoom meeting. While I am thankful for technology, there’s nothing like sitting with people face to face.

Two photos side by side. On the left Niema and Isa take a selfie, on the right Paula, Reid, Sisa, and Colette pose for a picture. Both photos are from a MediaMaker Fellowship alum gathering in NYC.

BAVC Media: What is something you learned or relearned about documentary filmmaking in your time at BAVC Media?

Niema: I was reminded that “our films are always in a space of becoming.” My thesis advisor, Orlando Bagwell told me that during an editing session a few years ago. I was so frustrated about my film. It wasn’t doing what I wanted it to. It wasn’t there. His words allowed me to trust the process and I found myself repeating these words to the fellows, and thus relearning/remembering them.

I was also reminded that there are so many ways to make a documentary.

BAVC Media: Tell us about the many exciting projects you’re currently working on!

Niema: Recently, I produced the short documentary, Bree Wayy: Promise, Witness, Remembrance. We were shortlisted at DOC NYC and are currently streaming on Paramount Plus. Currently, I am working on a six-part documentary series for HBO, writing my first screenplay (it’s a love story), and teaching at Santa Clara University. I am so very excited about the year ahead.

BAVC Media: What’s something that keeps you motivated and/or grounded through the continued uncertainty of COVID?

Niema: My nephew Angel is in elementary school and is such a joy. He manages to be in good spirits, curious, and all of the things despite a very sucky two years. I mean, can you imagine doing 3rd and 4th grade on a screen and not being able to play with friends? So, yeah, he definitely keeps me motivated and grounded. Also, my community is amazing, walks around Lake Merritt help. I also drink tons of Teas With Meaning and listen to Geminelle’s Mantra Loops V. 1.

Niema's nephew Angel sips strawberry lemonade and smiles joyfully. He is wearing a brown Northface fleece.

BAVC Media: Any films or docs you watched in 2021 specifically that you recommend?

Niema: Ooh, another hard one, but let’s say: Unapologetic by Ashley O’Shay (BAVC MediaMaker Alum, I also co-executive produced this), 499 by Rodrigo Reyes (my MediaMaker Fellowship co-director) , Listening to Kenny G by Penny Lane, and Lynching Post Cards: A Token of a Great Day by Christine Turner. 

BAVC Media: How can we stay in touch with you? Are we allowed to follow you on the gram?

Niema: So, I’m @NiemaJordan on everything, but I mostly use IG when I’m not on a random social media break. I also occasionally send out a newsletter, so feel free to drop your email address here. Ooh, and I have a website.

BAVC Media: Well, Niema, we miss you already but we are so grateful for your generous contributions to our MediaMaker community and beyond! We wish you all the success, abundance and joy. We know this isn’t a goodbye, more like “see you around” and that’s reassuring. 

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45 Years Of BAVC Media: Community Portraits
An Interview with BAVC Media's Development Director: Jenny Slattery!

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