National Mediamaker Program

Since 1991, BAVC's MediaMaker Fellowship has provided in-kind training and production grants for independent artists at work on social-issue film and multimedia projects, with a particular focus on supporting emerging artists and underserved communities. The National MediaMaker Fellowship builds an engaged national community of creative media artists from diverse fields, increases their capacity for project completion and lasting impact, and inspires new partnerships and collaboration to support future work. The Fellowship is designed to give independent artists direct access to the latest digital media technologies and prepare them for broadcast on public television or other independent outlets, with focused digital and multiplatform strategies for community engagement.

Program Structure

The ten-month program supports the development of projects at all stages of production, and includes professional mentorship in multi-platform and transmedia storytelling, curriculum development, social media and marketing, fundraising and distribution strategy support. Fellows participate in three to four separate three-day immersive workshops and feedback sessions at BAVC’s San Francisco office, as well as five informal convenings and check-ins. All Fellows will also attend the Full Frame Film Festival in April of 2016 and IDA’s Getting Real conference in September 2016.

The 2016 National MediaMaker Fellowship is supported in part by an award from the National Endowment for the Arts, The Andy Warhol Foundation for the Visual Arts, and the California Wellness Foundation.

Program Eligibility & Criteria

  • Any BAVC member working on a noncommercial project is eligible for the MediaMaker Fellowship.
  • The project must have a strong digital media component or vision, and potential for social impact, but it need not be a traditional documentary or narrative film. Projects can be web-based, linear, interactive, performance, installation, exhibition, or a hybrid of these.
  • BAVC takes special interest in artists who are working on projects about community and social justice issues, but encourages projects of any genre or subject matter to apply.
  • The MediaMaker Fellows program is particularly interested in supporting a diverse cross-section of artists with multi-disciplinary backgrounds, as well as applicants who demonstrate a capacity for artistic growth.
  • The proposed project should have some existing content to share, and it is preferred that applicants have a funding commitment from at least one additional source (besides BAVC).


  • Early application deadline: Friday, January 22, 2016
  • Final application deadline: Friday, January 29, 2016, 5pm PT.
  • Meet the 2016 National MediaMaker Fellows. Read the full press release here.

Current Fellows

See past fellows

Bridgette Auger - 2016 National Mediamaker
We Are Not Princesses
Erika Cohn - 2016 National MediaMaker
Belly of the Beast
Aggie Bazaz - 2016 National MediaMaker
And Not to Stay
Nicole Opper - 2016 National MediaMaker
The F Word
Jethro Patalinghug - 2016 National MediaMaker
Alcee Walker - 2016 National MediaMaker
Pain of Love
Kevin D. Wong - 2016 National MediaMaker
Home is a Hotel

Frequently Asked Questions

What is the timeline?
  • Application available: December 2015
  • Early application deadline: Friday, January 22, 2016, 5:00pm PST
    • BAVC Membership (any level) required, no entry fee before this date and time.
  • Final application deadline: Friday, January 29, 2016, 5:00pm PST
    • BAVC Membership (any level) required, plus $40 late entry fee.
  • 2016 Fellows announced: Friday, February 11, 2016
  • Welcome reception & first weekend workshop: March TBD (San Francisco, CA)
  • Full Frame Film Festival: April 9-12 (Durham, NC)
  • Second Workshop: July TBD (Bay Area, CA)
  • National Industry Event: Fall TBD
  • Year-end showcase: December TBD (San Francisco, CA)
What is the commitment required during the fellowship?

Applicants must be an active participant in all five in-person events (three in the Bay Area, one in Durham, NC and the TBD industry event) and are encouraged to participate in the five informal convenings.  In-person events will each be three days long, while the bi-monthly convenings will be two to three hours. Applicants must commit to citing BAVC along with other major funders of the project that they develop through MediaMaker (such as in project credits, in any “About,” “Funders,” or “Sponsors” page of a project web site) with BAVC logo and link; and must commit to participating in the production of a short promotional case study video about their project (with assistance from a BAVC-trained filmmaker). Each fellow must also write one guest blog about their project and complete the program evaluation to receive their stipend. [Note: These commitments are all designed to “help us help you” as a Fellow, and we frequently use these materials to gain exposure opportunities for your project at conferences, public forums, funder presentations, and other events.]

Do I have to complete my film during the year of my Fellowship?

Not necessarily. We hope that the Fellowship will help you make great progress with your project, and that what you learn - and the relationships you form - will help guide not only your current project, but also your career and creative work. At the final event in San Francisco, participants share something of what their trajectory has been over the course of their Fellowship: where they began the year, how the project changed through the MediaMaker, how the Fellow’s creative process was influenced, where the project is now, and where it is headed.

Can more than one person from a team participate?

Each project is expected to have a primary applicant and project lead; that person, if accepted, would be the “MediaMaker Fellow” featured on BAVC's site and would be the primary point person and public face for your project. He/she would also be responsible for communication and providing specific deliverables connected with the Fellowship. Additional project partners must be identified during the application process – and, due to capacity issues, we cannot guarantee that BAVC will be able integrate proposed project partners for accepted projects.  Furthermore, BAVC will only be providing travel stipends and lodging for one MediaMaker per Fellowship. However, if a co-director or key collaborator wants to pay for his or her own travel and accommodations, BAVC will incorporate he/she into events, screenings and feedback sessions whenever possible.   

How will travel and lodging be managed for traveling participants?

BAVC will provide all traveling participants with stipends well in advance of events to cover airfare and/or other transportation costs. Lodging will be provided for Fellows for all events; Bay Area-based filmmakers will have lodging provided at the films festivals.

What will happen at the film festivals?

Fellows will be provided with full passes to all screenings and events. They will also be provided with an itinerary that balances pre-arranged networking and workshop opportunities with unscheduled time to experience the festivals. BAVC will endeavor to arrange meetings between MediaMaker Fellows and filmmakers at the festival that are screening projects similar in form and/or content.

What are the geographic limits for eligibility?

There are no geographic limits for eligibility. The cohort will most likely consist of two-to-four Bay Area-based media makers and two-to-four national media makers.

Are previous MediaMaker Fellows and/or Producers Institute participants eligible?

Yes.  As long as the project itself is new to the National MediaMaker Fellowship.

What stage of the project should an applicant have attained before submitting?

There is no requirement that you have a media project at a rough cut stage before applying for a National MediaMaker Fellowship, but a work sample of some kind is expected.  Most applicants have some footage of their current project to show when they are applying, which helps the reviewers to envision and understand your project and where you are trying to go with it.  However, if you have a strong track record in completing previous work, and have momentum on your current project (meaning some funding, a strong team, an amazing idea or untold story, partnerships, advisors, production underway, or even a committed exhibitor), you should apply with confidence.


The application suggests that I have some funding secured for my project before applying. What counts as secured funding?

The reviewers want to see that your project has the ability to draw funding and move forward to completion. If you are the only person who has invested in your project to date, it may put you at a disadvantage compared to other applicants.  However, if your project has no other funders and the budget is small, or if you have already completed a strong work sample for your project without obtaining other funding, reviewers will take those factors into consideration, so lack of funding is not necessarily a disqualifying point for an otherwise compelling work-in-progress.

Do I have to have a fiscal sponsor to apply?

No. The National MediaMaker Fellowship is an in-kind package of training, services, equipment and facilities, consultation, and support. The stipend is given to you as a participant and is not itself a grant. If you are accepted to the MediaMaker program and need a fiscal sponsor in order to obtain other grants, BAVC may consider you for fiscal sponsorship.

Who is on the review committee?

Each year the review panel for MediaMaker is approximately eight reviewers, half of them being BAVC staff members and half being external industry experts such as funders, broadcasters, technologists, and programmers. We do not reveal who the panelists are in advance of the announcement of selected fellows.  Panelists are required to sign a statement abstaining from reviewing any application that they already have a relationship with.

What are my chances?

On average, we receive approximately 50 applications each year from applicants who meet the basic eligibility criteria. The review panel selects between six and eight Fellows per year, depending on the quality and scope of applications received.  In addition to the eligibility requirements and judging criteria, reviewers are asked to consider factors such as diversity of applicants and projects (subject matter and formats) and to recommend a strong overall slate.


What should I submit for my work sample?

You may submit one link for your work sample. Work from the proposed project is preferred. If you do not have a rough cut or work-in-progress from the project you are proposing, it is to your advantage to submit something visual from it.  Samples can be video content, a web site, images/screen shots, an audiovisual presentation, or anything that aids the reviewer in envisioning your project and your ability to complete it. The description field of the application form has room to explain your work sample, your role on it, and how it is related to the project you are proposing for your MediaMaker fellowship.  If the link is password-protected for privacy, please clearly provide the password in the first line of the description.


How long should my work sample be? How long will reviewers spend reviewing my sample?

Reviewers are instructed to review applications for up to 15 minutes each, including both written materials and any work sample(s) provided.  If necessary, give direction to the reviewers on which portion of the link to view.  For example, if you want them to watch the first two minutes and last four minutes from your link, skip to a specific portion of a longer work, or review a certain portion of a web site or slide show, please specify so in the description.  

Do I have to be a BAVC member in order to apply?

Yes. All applicants must have an active BAVC membership (at any level) prior to the final application deadline of 5pm PT on Friday, January 29, 2016. Applicants who have submitted an application but who are not active BAVC members will not be considered. BAVC membership can be purchased online at