Chris Austria | BAVC

Chris Austria

Success Story
March 21, 2017
By 
General BAVC

BAVC Student: Chris Austria

How did you first hear about BAVC?  

I am a graduate of Pyramind, a music production training center in San Francisco. Aisha Ayers, one of my classmates, worked at BAVC, and she told me about the film classes at the school.  

Tell us your BAVC story.

I am a wildlife photographer, and conservationist with Ngamba Island Chimpanzee Sanctuary in Uganda- East Africa. We are a safe haven to 46 orphaned chimpanzees that have been rescued from the illegal wildlife trade. The sanctuary was founded in 1998 by Dr. Jane Goodall, and a group of Ugandan trustees. The chimps live on 95 acres of pristine forest habitat. When I moved to East Africa 5 years ago, I captured a lot of wildlife footage, but realized that I needed a solid foundation in cinematography and video editing. When I returned to the Bay for a  visit, I began taking classes at the Bay Area Video Coalition. I was so impressed with the high level of instruction in the programs, and decided to complete a Video Production Certificate.  Keith Battle's  DSLR Bootcamp, David Santamaria's Adobe Premiere, and many other classes I took, gave me a lot of real-world, valuable skills that were game changers in my workflow. In February 2017, I completed three certificates at BAVC, and I plan to take more classes when I visit again. In April, I am returning to Uganda, and will be filming my first documentary on the work of Ugandan wildlife vet, Dr. Gladys Kalema-Zikusoka. She is the founder of Conservation Through Public Health (CTPH). Her organization implements a holistic approach to biodiversity conservation, integrating rural health, and community development with natural resource management. Dr. Gladys and CTPH work in Bwindi Impenetrable Forest, assisting the communities and protecting the highly endangered mountain gorillas that share their habitat. My vision for the documentary is to highlight the great importance of community led conservation strategies. I will use the expertise that I learned at BAVC to film the spectacular wildlife, and cultures in Uganda. For more information about my work, please visit www.ChrisAustria.com

Why do you think others should get involved at BAVC?  

The BAVC community is very supportive, and I have met so many talented people here who are now my friends. The variety of classes offered is impressive, ranging from filmmaking to social media marketing and branding.  The instructors have a vast amount of knowledge, experience, and most importantly, they are excellent at teaching. The network of colleagues that I am now connected to through BAVC is extensive, and the organization is a dynamic hub for storytellers, and media makers.

What program were involved with at BAVC? 

Certificate Student