Serial Storytellers is an artist development program from BAVC Media for diverse emerging writers and future showrunners between the ages of 18-25 that are interested in developing either a fiction/scripted or nonfiction/docu- series.
By the end of this program, you will have a project description, overall concept and potentially your pilot episode completed. Serial Storytellers aims to support women, BIPOC, LGBTQI, queer, trans, non-binary, filmmakers with disabilities and low-income filmmakers in creating episodic projects. This program is a 10-session intensive writing and producing class taught virtually via zoom.
Fellowship Dates: Saturdays, May 1 – July 10, 2021
Application Open: Monday, March 22, 2021
Updated Application Deadline: Friday, April 23, 2021
Questions? Email us, or check out our Frequently Asked Questions
The 2021 Application is now closed. Congratulations to the participants selected! Please check out their bios and projects below and make sure to tune in mid-July to hear their series ideas.
Meet our 2021 Spring/Summer cohort of Serial Storytellers and instructors:
WREN LEE (They/Them)
Wren (they/them/theirs) is a storyteller and activist using the mediums of human-centered design, film, and writing to impact social change. In their free time, they explore how media and entertainment reflect culture and society, write novels, and study the history of various theme parks.
JARRED GREGORY-GRIMES (he/him)
I went to school for screenwriting and aspire to be a writer-director or showrunner for a show. I love stories that are personal and genuine and feel that the stories I connect with the most are ones that I can feel their creation within them. What I mean by this is I feel what the artist and voice is behind it. I find that representation is something I didn’t realize until much later was seriously lacking. I’ve found as representation in stories and film has improved over the years, I hardly ever could see myself or deeply connect. I felt an emptiness and something missing. Particularly with the lack of representation of mixed-race kids and queer men, most of the content was derogatory or highly stereotyped. I want to make stories and create honest representations of the mixed experience. I also want to emphasize the representation and normalization of masculine queerness especially in portrayals that are not brutal and violent, but calm and gentle.
MIRACLE EVERETT (They/Them)
Miracle Everett is a 25 year old artist, drag performer, musician, painter, writer and filmmaker. They are non-binary, genderfluid, transgender, Mexican and Austrian American. They are originally from Los Angeles, and have been living in the Bay Area for the past 8 years. They went to college at San Francisco State University and California Institute of Integral Studies, studying nature psychology and social justice. Their senior project was an outdoor workshop for artists to connect with their creativity. Since graduating in 2017, they have been teaching children and adults in the arts. As well as performing original music and as their drag persona, “Ezra Everything.” Over the last 2 years, they were able to focus more on personal creative expression, such as writing, painting and filmmaking. They created their first short film, “Chamomile Blue” which was simply about showing a transgender couple in a happy moment together. They want to create and uplift stories of BIPOC transgender, intersex, nonbinary, and genderfluid people which celebrate their lives. They are currently in pre-production for their first feature film which they are writing and directing, “A Wedding to Diego.”
GAVIN HUSEIN (they/them)
My name is Gavin Husein. I am a 23 year old aspiring screenwriter living in Oakland. I’m brown, queer, pissed off, funny, and warm. I want to tell stories to make genuine human connections. Most importantly, I want to tell authentic queer stories to forge connection and understanding between people of all different backgrounds. I’ve spent my whole life creating stories in my head to forget about the traumas of my past; to forget what I feel and what I fear. Now, it’s changed, and I’ve realized all I have in this life are the things I feel and the things I fear, so why not turn them into something beautiful. A good story takes someone by the hand and gently guides them through an experience that they may not have understood otherwise. That’s why I am a storyteller, I want to help others understand the things that they feel, and the things that they fear.
TRI-AN CAO (she/her/hers)
I’m a writer and visual artist based in the Bay Area, graduating this May with my BA in Creative Writing and Studio Art from Mills College. Drawing from my experiences as a queer Vietnamese-American, I celebrate intersectionality and diverse perspectives in my writing and art, weaving identities together rather than separating them.
I also enjoy folklore, D&D, sci-fi, and animated media, with an avid interest in how stories are told through writing and cinematography.
CHLOE SAMILLANO (they/them/their)
Hello! I am a queer Filipina writer/filmmaker. I was born in Manila, Philippines, but later immigrated with my family to the United States, and grew up in Moreno Valley, California (aka a place passed by on the freeway). I recently graduated from San Francisco State University, where I received a BA in Cinema and a minor in Drama. As a storyteller, I’m interested in exploring the ways larger, macro-level systems influence our interpersonal, micro-level lives. Because of this, my artistic work tends to revolve around identity, the banality of everyday life, and making sense of my own self-delusions. I aspire to write for television, and to one day become a Showrunner. Aside from my creative work, I like reading in-depth opinion pieces, watching unboxing videos (because they’re strangely satisfying), and trying out new vegan recipes.
SYDNEY REDD (she/her/hers)
Sydney Redd currently works as a freelance production coordinator in the Bay Area and Los Angeles. In her free time she writes and produces her own work centered around empowering women of color. She studied Film at SFSU and graduated in 2018. Her latest film, “The Misadventures of Maisie” is being entered into festivals and most recently participated in the Lift-off Global First Time Filmmaker Showcase
ERUM JAFFREY (she/her/hers)
Erum Jaffrey is a multimedia journalist, producer and writer based in Los Angeles. She has worked in journalism, documentary, and film in the field, on set, or in an edit room. She likes covering geopolitics, social justice, climate, and anything Middle East/North Africa/South Asia. She has an academic background in International Relations and Arabic. Her work has appeared on CNN International, USA Today, CBS News, 60 Minutes, Morocco World News, and more. For her, storytelling is creating art for social change. She’s applied this philosophy in her current and previous work around the globe.
KRISTAL SOTOMAYOR (they/them)
Kristal Sotomayor is a bilingual Latinx documentary filmmaker, festival programmer, and freelance journalist based in Philadelphia. Currently, they are in post-production on Expanding Sanctuary, an independent short documentary about the historic end to police surveillance organized by nonprofit Juntos and the Latinx immigrant community in South Philadelphia. Kristal is a MDOCS Storytellers’ Institute Visiting Fellow, If/Then North Shorts Resident, DCTV Docu Work-In-Progress Lab Fellow, Justice For My Sister Sci-Fi Screenwriting Lab Fellow, Good Pitch Local: Philadelphia Fellow, and NeXtDoc Fellow. They serve as the Programming Director for the Philadelphia Latino Film Festival, Co-Founder/Journalist for ¡Presente! Media, and are on the Editorial Board for the film journal cinéSPEAK. Formerly, Kristal was the Communications and Outreach Coordinator at Scribe Video Center. Kristal’s journalistic background includes having written for ITVS, AL DÍA, WHYY, and Documentary Magazine. They write the Latinx cinema column “Cine alzando voz” for cinéSPEAK. They are a recipient of the Sundance Institute Press Inclusion Initiative, TIFF Media Inclusion Initiative, International Documentary Association (IDA) Magazine Editorial Fellowship, NBC University Visual Storytelling During Breaking News, and the Lenfest Next Generation Fund.
HERAN LEMMA (she/her/hers)
I’ve once been described as the African American production assistant with the big afro hair on set. I can also be described as a black woman, child of Ethiopian immigrants, born in Ethiopia and raised in Maryland, who makes ends meet lugging around director chairs and making sure the crafty table looks good so that I can become a storyteller successful enough to buy her parents a house. Since I was a kid, all I wanted to do was tell stories. I wanted characters that looked like me with depth, in worlds I made, in environments I navigated through, and cultures I embraced. In the fourth grade, when my parents came across my short stories, they pulled together cash from their 14hr work days and, metaphorically speaking, bought the pen that would catalyze my life as a writer/storyteller. Through my stories, I hope to conceptualize my multicultural and unique voice and translate it visually.
REA KAPUR (she/her/hers)
I’m a writer, producer, director, actor, and comedian! Since the age of 16, I’ve been working on film, theatre, and comedy. I spent hours on sites like nofilmschool and youtube, teaching myself how to create films. Finally, I set out and gathered a crew to start collaborating on projects with me acting as a writer, producer, and performer. Since then, I’ve created films, improv shows, sketch shows, stand up comedy, and plays. Growing up as a neuro divergent, brown, gay woman, I never saw myself portrayed in media, and I’ve made the decision to create art for people like me. Specifically, I’m passionate about creating content with realistic portrayals of mental illness. When I’m not creating content, I’m in acting class or auditioning for projects like Euphoria (HBO), The Wilds (Amazon Prime), and Sacred Lies(Facebook Watch). I was also lucky enough to attend Second City Chicago and Second City Hollywood, where I’m planning on finishing their improv and sketch program, so I can audition for their conservatory.
SEAN SMITH (they/them)
I’m from Sun Village, California. Which is an unincorporated SoCal desert township founded in 1939 by Black folks who were discriminated against from buying homes in the surrounding areas of Palmdale, Lancaster, and Los Angeles. Currently, I’m finishing a creative writing degree at SFSU. I’m primarily a poet, but many of my inspirations come from the visual and the audible. Animation and its range and versatility. Music and audible storytelling, their ability to capture imaginations and force your mind to participate to visualize the journeys.
I love media. from podcasts and radio to television and film. I don’t remember a time in my life when I wasn’t surrounded by it. And because of that, I want to put those pieces of myself found in my work into the spaces that still inspire me today.
AMBER BISHOP (they/them)
Amber is an artist and filmmaker born and raised in Ohio but currently living in Texas. She is attending the University of North Texas to obtain an MFA. In her work, she seeks to translate her Black experience, revisit the past, and reimagine the future. She is inspired by the collective Black imagination that allows one to see beyond their present state and dream. Amber is currently dreaming and conjuring her next project into existence.
IMAN BLACKWELL (she/her)
My name is Iman, and I am a proud biracial, Malaysian-American woman from Arkansas. At Georgetown University, I study Science, Technology, and International Affairs with a minor in Film and Media Studies. In high school, I discovered my love for environmental activism and once believed that I would aim for a career as a political representative. During college, I have gained clarity on government careers and consequently decided to pivot into being an agent of change through film. Through classes and extracurricular activities in photography, film, and theatre, I have rediscovered my love for creative work. I like to say that we consume art just like we consume food; we need it to sustain our desired livelihoods. After Georgetown, I want to pursue life as a full-time filmmaker who makes ecojustice documentaries and independent film dramas (a big inspiration for them being A24). I believe in creating diverse representation in the media and positions of power, and I hope to contribute to this goal as a core part of my career. Thank you, BAVC Media, for this amazing opportunity!
ROSINA GHEBREYESUS (she/her)
From age 5-18 if anyone ever wondered where I was, they’d quickly remember I was at the Excelsior Boys and Girls Club. That’s where I began writing, and thank god because I was always good at masking my pain and not talking about the real stuff. It wasn’t until I found writing as a tool for expression that I learned the power of my pen and my truth. Believing I could be a filmmaker was initially kinda daunting but I realized there was nothing to be afraid of, that I have stories to tell and stories people wanna hear.
I’m very multidisciplinary but filmmaking is where it’s at for me. I use documentaries to tell interesting untold stories and fiction to explore aspects of relationships + memories I often ruminate on. My goal with film is to create a classic rom-com. Romance films shaped me into a person that romanticizes every moment, probably to a fault lol. But I always play relationships in my mind like movies, where we’ll first kiss, that great first date, the conversations, romantic relationships fascinate me. I want to create a picture for 21st-century lovers that makes them laugh, think, cry, and feel seen, what else is film for if not to spark emotion and action.
MX. CLEO MIZRAHI (She/Her,They/Them)
Mx.Enigma (she/they/queen) is a Queer Mizrahi mixed media artist in NYC. They graduated from Brooklyn College in 2017 with a B.A in Media/Gender Studies. Their work focuses on the intersections of queerness, American culture & public’s perceptions. Their work is featured in over 40 galleries in NYC including MOMA, Bronx Museum, Tribeca Film Festival, HBO & BRIC media. They are an alum of the BCI residency in July 2017 & Fall 2019 Artist in Residence at Judson Memorial Church.
In 2020 they’ve worked with NYPL on a play production of “L’Chaim 2 Dykes” on Queer Ex-Hasidic Women who are struggling with their custody battles.
They have been the recipient of NBC/Tribeca Institute’s “Pitch NY” 2019 summit, 2019 Showtime Doc Fellow, and much more fabulous publicity!
JENNIFER ESPINOZA (she/her)
As a recent graduate , I started writing stories that may connect with other people with unheard voices. I would like these stories to be related and seen around the world. Currently I have been a production assistant on sets. I have been learning different techniques from each departments. Being on set has inspired me to create a world where people can come into. Writing has helped me understand techniques and concepts of the world. I believe writing can be a powerful way to create stories and bring them to real life.
ANNIE NING (she/her)
Annie is a filmmaker with a love for theater, journalism, public media and poetry. After growing up between Suzhou, China and Chicago, IL, she is currently based on the East Coast. In her work, she is drawn to stories that connect across generations, that engage with Asian and American communities beyond the lens of representation. She hopes to intersect narrative and documentary forms, and seeks to question dynamics of power and agency both behind and in front of the camera through her work. Her first short film, Fishbowl, tells a personal story of immigration, family and loss in a generation of elderly Chinese grandparents, and premiered at the Seattle Asian American Film Festival earlier this year.
Annie has a B.A. in both Film and English from Wesleyan University. She is currently a programmer at the Asian American International Film Festival in New York, and a 2020 Fellow at the Creative Visions Foundation Women Excel Project, producing short films for non-profits working for gender justice & equality for women, girls and non-binary persons in Los Angeles. This past year, she co-founded a production company, Rai Productions, with two close friends.
She is excited to learn and develop more stories at BAVC Media Serial Storytellers, and for the chance to bring greater care and intention into her writing and film.
DEOLINDA DELOIRE (she/her)
My name is Deolinda Deloire but the peeps and fam call me Deo for short. I was born and raised in Miami, Florida. I am 23 years old (but my knees are a good 75) and a recent grad in Bachelors’ Degree of Communication Arts. I am known to family and friends for being quirky, spunky, and a bit of mess altogether. With that type of personality, it is something I tend to use on my writing (except for the mess part)
SADE SEYMOUR (she/her)
I am a third-year international student from The Bahamas studying Media Production at the University of the Ozarks in Clarksville, Arkansas. Studying abroad has opened a window of opportunities for learning and professional development as I entered the world of media. I have an avid passion for digital storytelling and photography. My studies have allowed me the opportunity to create podcasts, executive produce sports events and work on studio projects. Aside from my studies, I enjoy nature and being outside. Transitioning from an island surrounded by water to a state surrounded by mountains and forests was a crazy culture shock, however, I have fallen in love with the scenery Arkansas has to offer. I’ve been on a road trip to Utah and I love how free-spirited I felt while exploring nature and the vast environment around me. I’m both introverted and extroverted with a small group of friends. My past times include watching movies, listening to music, occasionally working out, and sleeping. I love trying new things and I’m always down for an adventure, especially when there’s a stop to Starbucks involved. I would love to travel the world with my top vacation spots being Greece and The Maldives.
KAILYNE SARMIENTO (she/her)
Kailyne Sarmiento is born and raised in San Francisco/Yelamu Ohlone land. Through visual storytelling with film, video, and photography she shares her experience
ISABEL SOLOAGA (she/her)
From a small town outside of San Francisco, I have since pursued research around the world, focusing on the Pacific Northwest, Italy and the UK. My focus lies in migration, international development and the natural world. I hold a minor in Journalism from the Graduate School of Journalism at UC Berkeley and recently completed my MA in Migration and Global Development at the University of Sussex.
Today, work with the IRC in Sacramento and as a freelance writer and photographer in the Bay Area.
ELIZABETH HEWLETT (she/her)
Elizabeth Hewlett is a queer, Nicaraguan-American and multidimensional artist who is born and raised in San Francisco. She is a proud CCSF alumni who received certificates in producing, directing and cinematography. She is currently attending SFSU working towards a BA in Cinema and a minor in LatinX studies. Her passion for filmmaking ignited as a child filming and directing her family members with her parent’s Hi 8 camcorder with inspiration from zombie movies. She expanded her skills at BAVC Media’s advanced youth filmmaking program “The Factory” where she learned how to craft impactful short films expressive of herself and her community.
She is drawn to creating experimental documentaries rooted in self discovery, healing and transcendence that pave way to accessing new levels of a consciousness. Her beloved medium is analogue photography distorted by optics and in-camera editing.
An undeniable aspect of her life is skateboarding. With a decade of experience she has intertwined skating with her filmmaking and photography and considers the skateboard and camera as extensions of herself. She hopes her story speaks to others and encourage female skaters to be fearless.
HALEEMA TAHIR (she/her)
When I was growing up, my relationship with my religion and my Hijab was my solace. Against prejudice of being different, and the hardships of growing pains. They kept me grounded and sane. Yet, at every representation of the Hijab in the media was colored by oppression and desire for liberation. And I wondered, why there were no confident and vibrant Muslim girls in the media? Why must we only be in need of help and freedom? Why can’t our freedom be in choosing how and what we want to look like? Why must our identity always be in need of modification? To answer those questions and to challenge those stigmas is why I want to take creative content. To show a more authentic Muslim Girl.
ANA MAI LUCKETT (she/her)
Ana Mai Luckett is a work in progress. She is smart,funny, terrible at spelling and grammar (even though she speaks four languages), and can make a mean cup of coffee. Ana Mai’s superpower is connection. Through her work at various non profits and guidance from some incredible mentors along the way, Ana Mai uses her own struggles with mental health and trauma to better serve and connect with the folks she works with.In her personal life she is learning to embrace her identity as an ADHD, queer, fat, joyful, and easily startled woman. She has no formal training in filmmaking but her love for documentaries has made her the resident documentary expert in her circle of friends. She is excited to push herself out of her comfort zone and grow as a writer and creative.
CITLALLI ODETTE CORIA (she/her)
My name is Citlalli Odette Coria, I am an artist —— storyteller. Though my formal introduction to storytelling/creative expression was introduced to me through dance; it did not begin there, nor will it end —— in general. As much as I love to put my ideas and emotions into words, my constant is telling a story without them; like the silence and stillness. I believe this is what pulls to me most about capturing or creating moments through a lens. A mantra that has stayed with me from dance is thinking of a ball you need to balance and keep flowing from limb to limb.And to do so you must effectively use your space, pauses/stillness and movement to allow the story to unravel itself; So I carry this in all the ways I get to express a story.
Taimi Arvidson is a director with over a decade of experience telling human stories for critically acclaimed documentaries, television series, and commercials. She most recently directed Apple TV+’s first docuseries HOME, which premiered at the 2020 SXSW film festival and a short film for Red Bull’s award-winning WAY OF THE WILDCARD series. Most notably, she directed for the National Geographic Channel series MARS, which was executive produced by Ron Howard and Brian Grazer. The series was nominated for an International Documentary Association Award for Best Episodic Series and called “visually gorgeous” by The New Yorker. Her other award-winning work has been featured by clients such as Nike, Oprah Winfrey, CNN, Sesame Street, Esquire Magazine, OWN, Ulta Beauty, Dodge Ram, Discovery Channel, and more.
She is currently in production on her debut feature documentary HOSSAIN following the story of a young boy coming of age in the world’s largest refugee camp. The film has received support from the IDA, Women in Film, IDFA Forum, BAVC MediaMaker Fellowship, and AmDocs Film Fund.
Evette Vargas is an award-winning writer, director, producer and immersive storyteller. Named by the New York Times as an “Artist to Watch,” Vargas’ has produced series for Amazon, MTV, Bravo, DirectTV; and interactive content for Fast And Furious, Lord Of The Rings trilogy, Madonna and Wu-Tang Clan. Vargas executive produced, wrote and directed her digital series Dark Prophet, starring Henry Rollins, which was in contention for two Emmys. Vargas is developing a drama series for Entertainment One with Peter Johnson, set up a drama series at MGM Television with Marc Guggenheim and Rosario Dawson serving as executive producers, and sold her drama series, Muses, to TNT Super Deluxe. Vargas is currently writing a feature film for Reyes King Productions. Vargas wrote The Current War VR Experience, a companion piece for the film, starring Benedict Cumberbatch. Vargas was commissioned by Final Draft to create the Evette Vargas Immersiveplay, the professional script writing template for VR, AR, XR writing. A staunch activist for inclusion and equity, Vargas founded The Writers Room 5050 to mentor storytellers and create opportunities for their next-level success. A member of the Writers Guild of America, Academy of Television Arts and Sciences and Producers Guild of America, Vargas was born in the Bronx and learned to tell stories at the dinner table where imagination ruled. Vargas collects action figures, typewriters and shoes; has past lives as a DJ, a fashion designer, and is a recovering New York City advertising Art Director.
Dawn is currently BAVC Media’s Director Youth & Emerging Maker Programs. She is a queer, Xicana, social worker, filmmaker, activist, fundraiser, and impact strategist. Her award-winning first film, Going On 13, premiered at the Tribeca Film Festival.
Dawn is the Producer/ Co-director on the 2018 documentary THE PUSHOUTS with Katie Galloway (Director/ Producer). The Pushouts won the 2019 Imagen Best Documentary award and is a Sundance Stories of Change project.
Dawn is a 2020 recipient of the Geena Davis Institute on Gender in Media – See It, Be It Development Fellow. She is in pre-production on two series – one scripted and one documentary style. She is a consulting producer on a number of projects including Vivien’s Wild Ride and Manzanar, Diverted.
Dawn is an alumni of the CPB Producers Academy, BAVC Media National MediaMaker Fellowship, NALIP’s Latino Producers Academy and Media Market and the Women of Color Filmmakers’ Residency. Dawn is fund development consultant with a number of racial and social justice organizations in the SF Bay Area.