Paula Smith Arrigoni
As Executive Director, Paula Smith Arrigoni is dedicated to investing in BAVC Media’s diverse leadership team, advancing BAVC Media’s equity priorities, creating new opportunities for media makers, forging new collaborations with community partners, maintaining a learning and innovation-focused culture, and sustaining BAVC Media as a strong and healthy organization. Prior to joining BAVC Media, Smith Arrigoni co-founded a grantmaking and mentorship program for emerging, diverse narrative filmmakers in the Bay Area, and served as executive producer on a slate of narrative films, including two premiering at Sundance in 2019. Previously, she was COO at Youth Speaks, a national leader in arts education and youth development, where she helped triple its annual operating budget and directed a national field-building initiative called the Brave New Voices Network Initiative. Smith Arrigoni developed her management expertise advising and investing in nonprofits for Nonprofit Finance Fund and the CDFI Fund at the US Treasury Department. She’s been an independent consultant to many Bay Area social impact organizations, training programs, and schools, such as lecturer at UC Berkeley, School of Social Welfare. She is currently a Board member and Treasurer of AIR, and formerly served on the Boards of Reel Stories, Women’s Community Clinic, San Francisco Suicide Prevention and Next Door Solutions. She’s part of National Arts Strategies Chief Executive Program (2019-21 cohort). A returning graduate of UCLA, Smith Arrigoni studied sociology, urban planning and film and television producing.
Isa Nakazawa is an Oakland-based writer, educator, and radio host. After graduating from Wesleyan University in 2008 with a dual degree in Sociology and American Studies, Isa jumped coasts to join Youth Speaks, one of the country’s leading spoken word and literary arts organizations, as a teaching artist and poet mentor. She is currently the Director of Marketing and Communications at the Bay Area Video Coalition, a community media hub and resource for media makers in the Bay Area, serving over 7,500 filmmakers, activists, and artists every year.
Outside of her work at BAVC Media, Isa hosts a radio show, Rhizomatic Radio, the second and fourth Thursday of every month on AllDayPlay.FM dedicated to her love of connecting listeners to the transformative power of music. No matter the medium, Isa leads with her curiosity, attention, and fundamental belief in the interconnected nature of the liberation of all people. Shake the syntax, shake the world.
Soumyaa Behrens is an award-winning director, producer and scholar whose projects have screened at festivals across the globe including Raindance, Montreal International Animation Festival, Mill Valley, SF Black Film Festival, International Images in Harare, LadyFest, Rome International, Santa Fe, Oaxaca, Auckland, Polish Film Fest, Boston International, Harlem International, San Francisco Film Society, Toronto Black Film Festival, Animation Day at Cannes and on KQED. Her work engages issues that complicate the human condition and the political landscapes that shape identity and power structures within marginalized communities. Recent directing awards include, Abina and the Important Men, which won Best Animation at SF Black Film Festival, Best Feature at Montreal International Animation. Her newest documentary, Nail House was a finalist for the Green Fire Environmental Award at the SF Green Film Festival. Behrens teaches Documentary in the School of Cinema at San Francisco State University and is the Director of the Documentary Film Institute where she launched the nonfiction film conference and journal, Pluralities, in 2017. She was named as one of “10 Bay Area Filmmakers Making a Difference” by Better Magazine in Feb 2019.
“There are so many ways we have spent our time away from “normal” since the COVID pandemic began. Seeing the Uncharted youth projects reminded me of the therapeutic nature of artmaking. I commend these young artists for exploring their humanity and their imaginations during a time of exile when it has been hard to actually implement their future. The work is insightful, personal, and beautifully reflexive of each artist’s unique experience.”
Nanami Yokota is an international student studying film. She was born in Japan, moved to the Philippines when she was eight, and is in her 3rd year at San Francisco’s California College of the Arts. During her time at CCA, she’s become interested in production management. Ideally, she would love to be a project manager for animated films, which she feels have served as a way for her to keep in touch with her Japanese heritage and culture and plans to dive deeper into the influence of Asian American culture through animation.
“Since the pandemic began, I noticed myself using the question “how are you?” more cautiously. As if the question suddenly had a heavier burden to answer and more challenging to reply to our canned answers of “good” or “I’m fine.” So many different causes of our anxiety and so few communal spaces to express them.
To me, This project is cathartic to both the creator and viewer. Filled with intimacy and vulnerability, Uncharted is an outlet for raw feelings and experiences.”