Celebrating the 2023 BAVC MediaMaker Fellows

Published On: March 29, 2024 |

Last month we sent our 2023 BAVC MediaMaker Fellows out with a bang, we can hardly believe it’s over!

On Wednesday, February 28, after 10 months together, 7 exceptional filmmakers previewed their works in progress to a live audience in San Francisco at the KQED Headquarters and virtual viewers across the country. The culminating event for the 2023 BAVC MediaMaker Fellows began with words from BAVC Media Executive Director Paula Smith Arrigoni, 2020 Fellow Colette Ghunim, and Fellowship Co-Director’s, Dawn Valadez and Jin Yoo-Kim. Each fellow then pitched their project and shared a new clip, demonstrating the progress they’ve made this year, before providing a stirring introduction to the next filmmaker. Their immense talent and their affection for each other was clear.

BAVC Media Jenny Slattery closed us out with a call to find sustained ways to support the independent films and filmmakers you want to see, before inviting everyone out to the after party where there were refreshments from Dokkaebier, La Méditerranée Castro, and Gus’s Community Market. We’re so grateful to our sponsors – executive producer sponsors Corduroy Media, producing sponsor Berkeley FILM Foundation, contributing sponsor Afterlmage Public Media in partnership with Actual Films and contributing sponsor JingleTown Films – without their support this event would not have been possible.

Dawn Valadez, Fellowship Co-Director in her 3rd year had this to say. “My time with this MMF ‘23 crew was very real! What an incredible group of filmmakers. Their projects are bursting with memory, heart, love, healing, and family. Yes, there is grief, horror, sadness too but I walked away hopeful, inspired by the use of documentary cinema to create change and love. I don’t use family as a term for community often because my family, many of our families, suffer, are chaotic, painful but if I was creating a family from scratch this group of people would certainly be in it. I’m grateful to each and everyone of you – filmmakers, BAVC media crew, board members, sponsors, funders, and KQED for creating an unforgettable night!”

Jin Yoo-Kim, new Co-Director of the Fellowship this year says, “I’ve been procrastinating finishing my recap because it feels so final, and I’m not ready to move on quite yet! Ever since I joined the BAVC MediaMaker Fellowship to co-direct the fellowship, I’ve been awed and inspired every step of the way. I will have a special place in my heart for the 2023 cohort because it was my first, and I learned so much from them – resilience, staying true to one’s voice, centering joy, being vulnerable enough to lean on each other. Thank you Paige, Aurora, Tommy, ilana, tashi, Hannah, and Cyrus for rolling with our program. Thank you Maria Santos, for being such an incredible and accessible pitch coach. I also get goosebumps thinking about the BAVC staff that brought so much of their gifts and energy into making the night such a success. And, thank you to our awesome and engaged audience members, funders, board members, sponsors, and KQED for making our plans into a reality!”


Thank you to the 2023 BAVC MediaMaker Fellows for your dedication to your stories, your artistry, your participants, and each other:

  • Paige Bethmann (Reno, NV) – Remaining Native
  • Aurora Brachman (Los Angeles, CA) – Dear You
  • ilana coleman (Winston-Salem, NC / Mexico City, MX) – The Inventory
  • Tommy Franklin (Minneapolis, MN) – You Don’t Know My Name
  • Cyrus Moussavi (Brooklyn, NY) – Somebody’s Gone
  • Hannah Myers (Broolyn, NY) – Daddy
  • tashi tamate weiss (San Francisco, CA) – Kizuna


— Brittney Réaume (She/Her)

Associate Director of Artist Development

The BAVC MediaMaker Fellowship is devoted to supporting documentary filmmakers using bold cinematic language and innovative impact strategies to grapple with critical issues of our time. Our cohort is a collaborative, community-driven space that places diversity, representation, and ethical relationships with storytelling at the forefront of our practice.


Photos by Reflect Light Photography