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Announcing BAYCAT’s Inaugural 2022 Fellowship Class!

Updated: Sep 8, 2022

BAYCAT is thrilled to announce our Fellowship for Emerging Creatives, a new initiative designed to support young filmmakers, producers, and screenwriters to develop a creative pitch for a scripted series.


“BAYCAT has championed emerging storytellers of color for 18 years,” says founder and CEO Villy Wang. “Our interns and alumni have told us time and time again that filmmaking programs and industry internships rarely invest in screenwriting and creative development training. BAYCAT’s internship program began with young filmmakers writing their own scripts, so the Fellowship is a natural evolution of our mission to diversify every corner of the creative industry.”


The Fellowship is a four month career and artist development intensive for LGBTQIA+, women, and creatives of color who have a compelling television series idea and are looking for tailored support to develop and package their concept for production. Designed for working writers, Fellows convene for weekly writers rooms and workshops with industry professionals such as screenwriters, television producers, and actors. Each Fellow is paired with an industry mentor who will provide individual support throughout the program and help further demystify the creative development process. At the end of the program, three Fellows will pitch their final concept before a live audience and industry panel for the opportunity to create a proof of concept trailer with BAYCAT Studio.


BAYCAT Academy Manager and Program Designer Alexcia Sundra shares, “It is deeply important for creatives to have a space where they can learn and collaborate outside of the education system, where there is no financial barrier to enter, and where they can have flexibility in scheduling so they can maintain their other sources of income. This Fellowship was designed as a stepping stone for emerging writers to grow and create with mentors and like-minded individuals.”


The Fellowship is a paid program and open to San Francisco Bay Area creatives (ages 25-34). Applications will reopen in December 2022.


BAYCAT would like to thank the San Francisco Office of Economic and Workforce Development for their generous support of the Fellowship through their TechSF Equity Pilot.


 

Wuendy Calmo (she/they) is a storyteller and advocate for youth and her Maya Mam indigenous community. She grew up in East Oakland’s Fruitvale neighborhood, where she gained a passion for storytelling and inspiration from being from a low-income, immigrant, indigenous community. She hopes to write a revolutionary, imaginative, compassionate, colorful, magical, and loving story that can change the culture of first-generation kids. Wuendy is a former Bridges Fellow at BAVC and a Studio intern at BAYCAT. Additionally, they were a resident artist & writer at Moments Cooperative and Community Space, co-sponsored by Small Press Traffic. Her hope is to be a showrunner and own their own production company to produce more complex shows about people from all walks of life. When she is not writing, she enjoys helping the Maya Mam community by creating and sharing media resources in the Mam language for El Tímpano.


Donte Clark (he/him), a native of Richmond California, reigns as one of the most prolific writers and voices out of the Bay Area arts community. Donté is not only eclectic in the art of storytelling through the spoken word, his body language and musical presence in his performance is poetry in itself. He captures the complexities of vulnerability within Black masculinity while governed by a society of white supremacy and hyper violence amongst Black youth. Donté engages young people in writing and performance workshops, securing space for the youth to process their trauma and rewrite the narrative that has surrounded their community.


Donté Clark is an actor, stage and film director, scriptwriter, lyricist, and public defense attorney consultant. All of Donté’s work as an artist and community member is dedicated to shifting the narrative(s) of Black/aborigine peoples’ history while challenging educators and courtroom officials to abolish all racist policies.


Jessica Marie Flores (she/they) is a Deaf Latina, comedian, illustrator, improviser, occasional YouTuber, “retired” graffiti artist, and San Francisco Native. She has trained with Los Angeles’ Upright Citizen Brigade, The Second City, and The Groundlings, as well as San Francisco's Endgames Improv and Killing My Lobster. When she is not being goofy on stage, you can find her writing her own comedy films and television series with hopes to create more opportunities for deaf and hard-of-hearing people, both in front of the camera as well as behind it.


Cheyenne Siearra-Gallon (she/her) is a promising screenwriter born in Oakland, but now residing in Richmond, California. Upon retiring from professional wrestling in 2018, Cheyenne Siearra devoted her time to learning all aspects of film. She has worked as a cinematographer, sound recordist, assistant director, director, and editor for multiple student films during her time attending both Laney and Berkeley City College. In December of 2020 Cheyenne wrote, produced, and directed her first short film Wim’s Day which received an “Award of Recognition” from Best Shorts Competition. This achievement fueled her desire to strengthen her voice as a writer. Her goal as a screenwriter is to create unconventional and transformative stories while bridging the gap between older and newer generations. IG: @iSheysierra


Pilar Gibson (she/her) is a twenty-five-year-old writer from Union City, CA. She loves to write fiction and fantasy stories that involve diverse characters bringing more representation to both genres. Pilar is a proud graduate of a historical Black College and University (HBCU), Hampton University, with a degree in Biology Pre-medicine, though decided to follow her dreams and pursue a career in writing. In the past year, she has gained accolades such as, being a semifinalist for her first pilot, Off the Rack, in Screencraft and Austin Film Festival competition. Last month, her screenplay, Savvy?, earned a place on the Coverfly Red List.


Pilar's passion for writing started when she was a child. Growing up with strict parents, she was never allowed to watch television during the school week, but she bent the rules to stay up late watching her favorite movies and television shows. This moment sparked her enthusiasm for storytelling. Each day she taught herself the structures of screenwriting to make it the career of her dreams.


Trent Hanible (he/him) is a freelance media specialist who has worked on numerous television shows, feature films, short films, commercials, and screenplays, and whose experience also spans the tech and music industry. Trent is an alumni of the 2013 BAYCAT Studio internship and has received the COLA award for his work on Matrix 4. He was a crew member on Blindspotting, I’m a Virgo, the Oscar-nominated Steve Jobs, and many more acclaimed films & television shows. He resides in Oakland with his family.




leila mansour (they/them) is a multi-disciplinary artist based on the unceded lands of the Ohlone peoples (Oakland, CA). As a storyteller, they are not limited to any one medium, but rather, the medium through which the story demands to be told.


leila is centering queer, trans and nonbinary stories and designing worlds that interrogate our relation to land and animals.


When they aren’t producing commercial and branded work they enjoy long walks to their refrigerator, reading, and DJ’ing local soirees. Currently they are working on an epic queer fantasy.


Taylor Price (she/her) is a dynamic 25 year old Bay Area native with passions ranging from education reform to documentary filmmaking. She is an alumna of New York University where she was awarded the Martin Luther King Jr. merit scholarship and earned a Bachelors of Science in Public Policy. She works independently as a multimedia journalist, social researcher, and filmmaker. As a third generation Bay Area native, Taylor is especially pulled toward stories and initiatives dealing with displacement and belonging. Taylor’s mission is to actively preserve Black American history and promote radical and off-kilter thoughts on the Black American experience.

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