Get to know BAVC Media’s Director of Marketing & Communications, Daniel Díaz!
Daniel Díaz, BAVC Media’s Director of Marketing & Communications started his role with us in November of last year. Daniel is responsible for the organization’s brand, marketing, communications, and design strategies. We’re so excited to have Daniel on the BAVC Media team so Isa Nakazawa, our Director of Community Engagement, asked him a few questions to help our community get to know him better.
Tell us a little bit about what got you into the field of Marketing and Communications and why you find the work compelling.
I grew up wanting to work in a creative field and marketing was a financially viable way to make that happen. My favorite subjects at school were art, French, and maths, and I studied Linguistics at university, so that balance between the creative and strategic has always been a good fit.
It also gave me a way to get into film and media, which had always been my end goal. After a few years in market research and strategy for consumer brands, I joined a digital PR agency that specialized in film and entertainment. That was my entry point into the industry. My first project was managing social media—almost ten years ago exactly—for the UK theatrical release of Spring Breakers. I then worked on social media and distribution campaigns for Man of Steel, 12 Years a Slave, The Hobbit, and a bunch of other films.
I really value versatility and wanted to keep learning, so I moved around a lot to find those opportunities to broaden my experience. I’ve been fortunate enough to work in production, distribution, digital strategy, and PR with clients such as Absolut Vodka, Unicef and Somesuch. After living in Santiago de Chile, Barcelona and London, I made the move to San Francisco and spent two years as the Director of Marketing at the California Film Institute (CAFILM)—home of the Mill Valley Film Festival—which was my first experience in the non-profit space before joining BAVC Media.
The work is always changing which keeps things interesting, it also remains creative and strategic which I still find compelling. I feel very fortunate that I get to do it within the context of film, storytelling and community media at somewhere like BAVC.
When did you first cross paths with BAVC and what about the organization’s mission and vision resonates with you?
I moved to San Francisco in November 2019 from London. Before arriving I was researching local film and media organizations in the Bay Area and reached out to the Executive Director, Paula Smith Arrigoni. I came to visit the old space on Mariposa Street a few days after landing and that year I attended the Media Maker Fellowship pitch event for the first time, at the New Parkway Theater in Oakland.
After meeting with Paula, getting to know the team, and seeing the kinds of stories BAVC was supporting, it was clear that there was an alignment in our work. Since then we’ve collaborated across a number of projects, including the 2020 CiNEOLA virtual film festival, foundation of the Bay Area Media Maker Summit (BAMMS) and the 2022 CUERPOS LIBRES: Latinx Perspectives on Reproductive Rights series at the Roxie.
BAVC was founded on values of advocacy, empowerment, and accessibility. The team and their work continue to embody those values 47 years later.
What are you most excited about in taking on this Marketing Director role?
We serve mediamakers and their stories. It’s a privileged position to be in and gives us a wealth of possibilities when it comes to finding fun, engaging, and beautiful ways to amplify our community’s voice.
The ambition, expertise, and ideas that exist among the team are really energising. Everyone at BAVC is an artist in their own right and from a creative perspective that’s super inspiring. I feel like there’s so much potential and I’m happy I get to contribute my experience to the work the team has been doing.
Can you share the origin story behind CiNEOLA? For those who don’t know, how would you describe it and why is it important to you?
CiNEOLA first started out as a crowdfunding platform for Latin American filmmakers back in 2014, it was part of a Chilean government initiative called Start-up Chile which is essentially a tech accelerator program to encourage people to develop projects in Santiago de Chile.
Eventually, after going back to London, I parked it to focus on other projects until I moved to San Francisco in 2019 where I re-launched CiNEOLA with an online film festival, co-presented by BAVC. We then built a site (cineo.la) to distribute Latin American documentary short films online alongside original content from Latinx artists, writers and creatives, such as a podcast series.
I describe CiNEOLA as a platform for Latin American stories. A place to discover emerging artists, celebrate the diversity of cultures that represent Latinoamérica, and showcase documentary short films—not only as a launching point for filmmakers but as a form unto itself.
A little birdie told me you made a short film! Can you tell us about it? What is it about? How long did it take to make? Where can we watch/how can we support?
Yes, that’s correct… I made a documentary short film called ÉLEFAN which we finished last year. The film is about the demolition of a shopping centre in Elephant & Castle, London. The shopping centre was the oldest in Europe and had acted as the primary hub for London’s largely invisible Latin American community since the early 90s. It’s a story about space, identity and displacement. We worked closely with a local non-profit called Latin Elephant that campaigns for the inclusion of Latin American and migrant-owned businesses in the process of urban regeneration and gentrification.
I started working with my wonderful friend and collaborator Ryan Keane (producer-editor) on telling the story of London’s Latinx community around 2016, we explored a few different subjects and approaches then in 2018 decided to focus on of shopping centre as its demolition appeared to be imminent after years of uncertainty. The majority of the filming took place in 2019 before I moved to San Francisco.
We’re going through our festival run at the moment and have been super fortunate with the support we’ve received so far, from festivals in Texas, California and Colombia. There are more coming up but can’t share any details until dates are fully confirmed, you can keep up to date with the latest screenings on our website here.
What are a few of your favorite documentaries of all time?
This is a list of some that came to mind, in no particular order. Not sure if “all time favourites” is accurate but they clearly left an impression, would readily recommend each of them:
- The Mole Agent by Maite Alberdi
- Waiting for August by Teodora Mihai
- Kiki by Sara Jordenö
- The Look of Silence by Joshua Oppenheimer
- The Imposter by Bart Layton
- 499 by Rodrigo Reyes
- Diego Maradona by Asif Kapadia
- 20,000 Days Nick Cave by Jane Pollard & Iain Forsyth
- Tuyuku by Nicolás Rojas Sánchez
- Hale County This Morning, This Evening by RaMell Ross
- Slowthai Toaster music video by THE REST
What are 3 things that are currently bringing you joy?
- Our cats. My wife and I adopted two kittens called Stella and Luna in 2021—they already had those names and we have since learned they’re maybe the most common cat names. They’re our favorite things on earth.
- Futbol/Football/Soccer. I’m a lifelong Tottenham Hotspur and Junior de Barranquilla fan. The joy is rare (especially in the case of Tottenham) but profound.
- Flan and flan-adjacent desserts, creme brulee, creme caramel, pastel de nata, etc.
What are you currently watching? Reading? Listening to? Give us 1 of each.
- Watching: Just watched the Chernobyl limited series on HBO as pyschological prep for starting The Last of Us (made by the same team). Excellent series, the most shocking part was seeing Trevor from Eastenders in there as a Soviet miner.
- Reading: Football in Sun and Shadow by Uruguayan writer Eduardo Galeano. I’m currently in the process of developing a football-related project and this collection of vignettes does a beautiful job of capturing the magic, tragedy and culture surrounding the game.
- Listening: Two-part podcast about the Black roots of Vallenato music in Colombia. Part of the Voces Negras, Voces de Paz podcast series by activist-filmmaker Mili Pardo Piñeres (Mini Chitiá).
What is one unexpected thing you have learned about yourself from the beginning of COVID until now?
I think the value of staying still and how much I have benefitted from that. Typically I’ve moved around a bit or had moving on my mind—wherever I’ve lived there’s always been a sense of it being temporary and having an out in mind. The idea of truly committing to living somewhere felt restrictive, like I’d be sacrificing my freedom and autonomy. I’ve found the opposite to be true, and moving to San Francisco with the intention of staying here has been liberating—personally, professionally, whatever way I look at it. I’ll forever be grateful to the friends I’ve made since moving here and their generosity as well as the community of collaborators I’ve found.
What advice would you give a young person who has a story to tell but doesn’t know where to start?
In my experience every meaningful project has started with meeting people, being in spaces where you feel comfortable and safe to share stories, share ideas. These “spaces” can be physical spaces, events, friendship groups or a specific relationship—it can just be another person. I’d recommend finding or creating situations where you’re more likely to meet people that share a common ground or creative interests. Part of this is about putting yourself out there, which I personally find challenging. I feel deep social anxiety a lot of the time, which has been restrictive and in the past, I’ve definitely settled into the ease of hiding. This is something I still grapple with now. I came to find that there’s a generosity in being open and forthcoming, it’s not just about you, and your contribution will likely be valuable to others. That reframing has been super helpful for me and led to some collaborations I’m incredibly grateful for.
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