Serial Storytellers | BAVC

Serial Storytellers

Screenshot of Serial Storytellers Writing Workshop Zoom Meeting Summer 2020

Serial Storytellers is BAVC's first-ever episodic writing and producing program for creatives 18-24 years old.

Participants applied to join the first cohort of this free artist development program in the Spring of 2020. After 12 weeks of scriptwriting bootcamps, producing intensives, interactive discussions about the business of writing for Hollywood TV, and virtually holding space for one another amidst multiple pandemics, participants were able to bring their powerful stories to life through a culminating table read featuring local actors.

We can't wait to see all the amazing work these storytellers will be creating, writing, and producing in the future! We look forward to building on this pilot program with more emerging artist development programming in this vein in the months to come. Check back here for future open applications. 

 

Meet the Spring/Summer 2020 Serial Storytellers:

 

Headshot: young writer CHRISTSON “LUIGI” ASUNCION sits in the pavilion in Japantown San Francisco
CHRISTSON “LUIGI” ASUNCION


I will be graduating from San Francisco State University with a major in Cinema with a minor in Comparative World Literature (it's all about stories and storytelling). At a young age, I was exposed to movies at a which started a passion for the art form. The ultimate dream for me is to write and direct, but in all honesty, just to be around the art and craft with people who care about it would make me happy. Most of my experience will come from school or just making some fun projects with friends. There's a big, wide, open world  out there with stories that have yet to be told. I am excited to participate in this program where we can all tell these untold stories, learn from one another, and have fun along the way.

 

 

HEADSHOT: Young writer DEVIN SCHULTZ stands in front of verdant flower bush at night smiling. Photo uses a bright yet soft instant camera like flash.
DEVIN SCHULTZ


I am Chinese/Korean-American. I was born in San Jose, CA and subsequently raised there. My upbringing was interesting as I am a transracial adoptee so it was unique to be the only Asian in the family. I attribute this experience as well as growing up in the bay area for molding myself to who I am today.  I am currently a 4th-year cinema student at SFSU (with graduation looming over me). Along with filmmaking, I am interested in cooking, skateboarding, photography, live music, and playing the saxophone. 

 

 

 

HEADSHOT: Close up picture of young writer JESSIE SKEVA smiling framed by her electric-blue hair
JESSIE SKEVA


Bay Area bred 20 year-old creative, Jessie Skeva is a storyteller at heart, most in touch with mediums filmmaking, poetry, and songwriting. Her desire to tell stories that invoke emotion, empathy, and have impact, streamline her pursuits. Movies like City of God (2002) and Crash (2004) sparked an initial flame at an early age which led the young filmmaker to dig deeper into the social conditions which produce these stories. Frequent library visits enabled her to initially learn about climate change, which eventually turned into studying social issues. Bay Area Video Coalition (BAVC) gave her the space to dive into addressing white privilege, queerness, and Bay Area issues in her work as a documentary and narrative filmmaker. When she’s not studying as a sociology major at City College of San Francisco, she can be found now working at BAVC as the youth engagement specialist. Jessie finds solace in writing poetry and songs in her free time and sometimes even pulls out her guitar or ukulele for an open mic. I identify most strongly with being a queer woman as I feel these are two core aspects to who I am as a creative and person in society. I'm also a student and have been impacted by homelessness in my teenage years and early adult years, currently I live in a transitional youth program for homeless youth.

 

HEADSHOT: Young writer LAYIA N. BOLDEN smiles out the window that is softly lighting her face. Mosaic wall makes the backdrop.
LAYIA N. BOLDEN


I have been interested in writing since about the fifth grade and decided to make a career out of it in the seventh. As I progressed through high school, I fine-tuned my interests into the fields of game narrative writing, comic book writing, and novella writing. I had a stint with online self-publication platforms where I had mild success, but have since taken those works down. I worked with the De Young Museum for a year (2018-19) and helped curate an award-winning podcast. Since then I have pursued writing more professionally and currently major in Writing and Literature at California College of the Arts. What initially spurred my love of the craft was seeing a dark brown, quirky girl in one of my favorite manga series. It was the first time I truly felt represented in a niche I had assumed I was the black sheep in. Since then I have dedicated myself towards creating more representation in the Speculative Fiction genre and creating stories that highlight diversity in a way where the characters just so happen to be diverse, but not that their diversity is their entire character arch. I'm a 19-year-old Capricorn, witch, dancer, lover of animals, and all-around nerd that knows way too much about insignificant things.

 

HEADSHOT: Young writer LAYLA VENEGAS sitting at a sidewalk cafe looking into the camera. A rainbow of light leaks soften and filter the image.
LAYLA VENEGAS


I am a queer Chicana who enjoys exploring both cinematic and experimental forms of filmmaking, with an emphasis on slice-of-life storytelling. I aim for authenticity when creating and collaborating on projects. My roles fluctuate from a producer, director, writer, and production assistant; I also have a love for art direction and composition. A recent achievement of mine was throwing an extremely successful film festival in the Lower Haight that included filmmakers of various genres, skill levels, and style.

 

 

 

HEADSHOT: Young writer MALACHI SEGERS-SEKER smiles gently at the camera wearing a shirt patterned with cheetah illustrations, almost floating in front of a deep backdrop

MALACHI SEGERS-SEKER 


I've loved media and video for as long as I can remember, and have had dreams of working in the industry and more specifically creating my own production for just as long. I've more recently began turning that dream into an actualization with my return to YR Media and KDOL. Here's what my LinkedIn profile says: "In a 10+ year long-term relationship with video production. Media lover of all sorts. Passions include being on camera, editing, and eating good food with funny people.

 

 

 

HEADSHOT: Young writer MICA JARMEL-SCHNEIDER stands on the sidewalk, smiles broadly, looking just off camera, their face is lit with the red stoplight glow, tree leaves out of focus in the background
MICA JARMEL-SCHNEIDER


Hello!  Hey!  I'm Mica J.S.
I'm a student at CCSF and a City College devotee.  I'm a City Kid born and raised.
I grew up going to K-12 at well funded public schools, given a lot of positive reinforcement for what felt like inauthentic versions of myself.  Now, I'm coming back to my core, slowly re-associating.  I went away to college in Boston for 2 years but returned home, to SF, and to City College. For the past few years, I've re-begun building a relationship with this city.  That's what I want to do media work about-- young people, organizers, moving and shaking in this place that we call home.  I've lived with my family and lived independently, been through heavy depression and periods of surprising openness and possibilities in this time.  I've spent a lot of time walking alone, have worked in food service and healthy-relationships education, and written short stories.

I've gotten to meet with and organize with various community organizations over the past 2 years.  I'm constantly curious about leftist ways of organizing and co-constructing a different world, the cognitive dissonance and trauma created by this system, and how to maybe make another one.  I'm excited to work with everyone!

 


HEADSHOT: Young writer NARCE GUINTO stands in the sparkling golden light before dusk looking into the distance, a rainbow refraction stripes the side of their face
NARCE GUINTO


Narce Guinto is a Queer Nonbinary Filmmaker based in Oakland, Ca. At a young age Narce was fascinated by how films were made. As they got older their curiosity grew and started teaching themselves how to make films. Now Narce creates films that focus on historically underrepresented people and their stories primarily through documentaries. 

 

 

 

HEADSHOT: Young writer RIGO VALADEZ BIGLER stands in front of a small forest of tropical plants, the camera flash fading his image like his pink baseball hat
RIGO VALADEZ BIGLER


I’m a Chicano artist raised by a community of diverse artists and storytellers. As a person of mixed-race I identify as part of America that is tied to every branch of history and diversity often overlooked in terms of diverse stories. It’s easy for writers to choose an identity for a character and box them into stereotypes, but I am part of a blend, a blurring of lines and stories that gives me a unique opinion on racial identity.Because of my background I always knew I wanted to do the same. After playing with photography and student filmmaking I settled on writing as they way I want to share my stories. I’ve been developing screenplays of all sorts but haven’t completed any of the larger projects I’ve set out to accomplish. I feel having a support network of other writers and a timeframe greatly improves my ability to finish my writing.

 

 

HEADSHOT: Young writer SAM LUND pops out of the white void of the photo studio smiling and looking straight on
SAM LUND


I have lived in the San Francisco Bay Area my whole life. I was originally training to become a firefighter but following the death of a friend I decided to chase my dreams of becoming a filmmaker. During my time at San Francisco State University studying Cinema I have learned much about those who do not share the same identities as I do. This has ultimately lead to me pursuing a minor in Race and Resistance Studies. I want to give others a voice and help them tell their stories. I want to change perceptions through representation. One of the most important perceptions that I want to change is the perceptions of Arabs and Muslims as well as the perceptions of Black/African American people especially in regards to their criminalization. The love of my life is a first generation American. Her parents are immigrants from Afghanistan and her family is Muslim. The racialization of crime and terrorism are two of the most important things that I want to address through my films. I want to create entertaining and enjoyable content to subconsciously normalize all peoples to all audiences through genuine representations.

HEADSHOT: Young writer SYDNEY JOHNSON looks softly at the camera, pen in hand, eyes bright, ready for anything. Her image is cut out of the frame as to be modular from background to background.
SYDNEY JOHNSON


My name is Sydney Johnson,  I am originally from Inglewood, California but I am currently living in the Bay Area. As a black woman from South Central LA, I feel like stories about me are often misrepresented, and misunderstood. I just realized the power that I have is storytelling, sometimes I feel like people may not care about a young black girl from the hood. But the same stories that have inspired me I know someday will inspire others. 

When I ended up in the Bay Area, I was on a completely different path. I had just got a track scholarship from California State University, East Bay and my plan was to bring down my hurdle time. I wanted to transfer to a D1 university and someday try out for the olympics. But God has a funny way of showing you things when you try to tell them your plans. I had just faced my third knee injury, and realized that track was not my entire life like I thought it was. Soon after I had lost my grandmother who I was very close with and I had to remember what made me happy ? What was I passionate about? It was a film, it was media, I was able to escape to another place when things were hard. Whether it was writing, or watching a movie...I could escape. I am looking forward to creating and sharing stories with likeminded people!

 

HEADSHOT: Young writer WUENDY CALMO stands against an unkown building in the sun, wearing a jacket patterned with palm fronds, smiling
WUENDY CALMO


I was born in Guatemala and fled to the United States as a refugee when I was ten months old. I have lived in the United States through undocumented, documented, and then a citizen at the age of 18. I have lived mostly in Oakland but have moved to other states because of family issues. Now my family is a big part of my life because of many personal things that we all had to to deal with because of many external and internal things we had to get through to finally become ourselves. Now I am trying to create a show that starts talking about the nuances that come with the life of a first-generation family and how our life comes with so much joy even if there are some setbacks. 
 

 

 

Meet the Instructors:

Evette Vargas is an award-winning writer, director, producer and immersive storyteller
EVETTE VARGAS – Instructor 

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 and Madonna. Vargas executive produced, wrote and directed her digital series Dark Prophet, starring Henry Rollins, which was in contention for two Emmys. Vargas sold her drama series, Muses, to TNT Super Deluxe.


Vargas is creating a drama series for MGM Television with Marc Guggenheim and Rosario Dawson serving as executive producers, developing a drama series for MAKEREADY STUDIOS with President, Peter Johnson, and penning the Mix Master Mike feature biopic. Vargas wrote The Current War VR Experience, a companion piece for the film, starring Benedict Cumberbatch.


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 the 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.

 

Chris Martin is a producer, line producer and writer with over twelve years experience in film, television, and commercials
CHRIS MARTIN – Instructor

Chris Martin is a producer, line producer and writer with over twelve years experience in film, television, and commercials. A producer of five theatrical and documentary projects, and an Independent Spirit John Cassavetes Award nominee, his credits include Sorry to Bother You, 55 Steps, La Mission, Pushing Dead, Test, The Heartbreak Kid, Mistress of Spices, CBS’ Alive, ESPN’s Bonds on Bonds, Sundance Channel’s Big Ideas for a Small Planet, and Discovery Channel’s I (Almost) Got Away With It. A participant in the 2017 Cannes Marché du Film Producers Network he is twice finalist to the Sundance Institute Producer’s Lab.

Chris taught a three-part Producer/Showrunner intensive which was the only part of the Serial Storytellers program that opened a few seats to the general public. 

 

 

 

 

Dawn Valadez is a queer, Xicana, social worker, filmmaker, activist, fundraiser, and impact strategist.
DAWN VALADEZ – Program Manager

Dawn Valadez 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 MANAZNAR, DIVERTED.


Dawn is an alumni of the CPB Producers Academy, BAVC 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.

www.dawnvaladez.com

 

Jordan 'Jay' Gash is a queer, African American filmmaker, 3rd generation photographer, creative, and educator born and raised in Oakland, CA.
JORDAN "JAY" GASH – Program Assistant

Jordan 'Jay' Gash is a queer, African American filmmaker, 3rd generation photographer, creative, and educator born and raised in Oakland, CA. They received their B.A. in Psychology from Loyola Marymount University and subsequently trained at Berkeley City College, gaining experience as a producer, director, cinematographer, writer, sound recordist, production assistant, and editor thanks to a number of collaborative filmmaking opportunities they participated in and later becoming a teaching assistant.

Jay's short films, which primarily focus on healing, self-care, and empowerment, have been featured in national and international film festivals. Jay has also been a mentor to multiple first time filmmakers through the Queer Women of Color Media Arts project since 2017, is on SFUSD's Information and Communication Technology (ICT) and Arts Media & Entertainment (AME) Advisory Board, and is currently a Re-Take Oakland filmmaker - a two year documentary filmmaking mentorship program.

Additionally, as BAVC's Youth Programs Manager, Jay creates opportunities for underserved youth in the Bay Area to learn about video production, music production, animation, game code design, and gain valuable skills to ready themselves for the professional media industry. Since starting at BAVC, Jay has been able to combine their passions - filmmaking, photography, art, youth empowerment, education, and business - into fulfilling work. They hope to continue to support a legacy of voice and representation for people of color through storytelling in all forms.