As we wrap up 2022, we want to share our own gift for you! BAYCAT staff put together our top film and TV recommendations for the year, with an emphasis on media that is breaking new ground in its depictions of BIPOC, the queer community, and women.
Black Panther: Wakanda Forever
Tenoch Huerta is a power house in Wakanda Forever and is just the kind of representation Mexican Hollywood needs. I love his fearless calling out of colorism and anti-Indgenious sentiments in Latinx media, and I can't wait to see what he does next. -Krystal Contreras (she/her), Senior Producer
The Woman King
Based on real historical events, The Woman King is the remarkable story of the Agojie, the woman warriors who protected the African Kingdom of Dahomey in the 1800s. The film is a powerful and layered blockbuster with Oscar-worthy performances, direction, set design, and costumes. -Jarred Gregory-Grimes (he/him), Production Supervisor
Leonor Will Never Die (Ang Pagbabalik ng Kwago)
Leonor Will Never Die takes us through the mind of a retired screenwriter who slips into a coma after being hit in the head by a TV that was accidentally thrown out the window. We watch Leonor as she fights to finish her action movie script while saving her family, blending reality and fiction. Bending genres with a nod to classic pulpy Filipino action movies and magical surrealism–with added commentary on the thin line between politics and entertainment in the islands–Martika Ramirez Escobar crafts a wonderfully zany and hilariously meta film about how we are all trying to write our own lives. -Reese Fernandez (they/she/he), Grants & Donor Communications Coordinator
I don't usually watch horror movies, but Nope is one of the most interesting horror films I've come across, and the storyline kept me on the edge of my seat. Written and directed by Oscar-winning Jordan Peele with a mostly BIPOC cast, this film offers a fresh take on the genre. -John-Paul Mackey (he/him), Academy Apprentice
Everything, Everywhere, All at Once
Everything, Everywhere, All at Once is a wild ride and highlights the potential for new stories in cinema. Surrealism is an open door of creativity, and this film is an incredible depiction of that. The action sequences are top notch, the cinematography is enamoring, the onscreen talent is epic. All in all, just a great film. -Deidre Locklear (she/her), Creative Producer
There is truly everything, everywhere, all at once in this film! From the smallest details around the set design to the deeper dynamics of a mother and daughter relationship that resonated deeply with me that made me ugly cry and howl, this film is definitely a new classic cult film of another dimension! -Villy Wang (she/they), President, Founder, & CEO
Created by Quinta Brunson, Abbott Elementary is a down-to-earth sitcom depicting the joys and struggles of being a new teacher in the public school system. The mockumentary interviews in the hallways are beautifully shot, and the performances by the Emmy-winning actors are refreshingly hilarious. -Naomi Garcia Pasmanick (she/her), Media Producer & Mentor
Interview with a Vampire (2022)
Interview with a Vampire doesn't just revive an iconic series—it updates its source material with nuanced and modern commentary. Centered on a diverse and explicitly queer cast, it dives deep into toxic relationships, racism in 1910's New Orleans, and unreliable narratives. -Ginger Yifan Chen (she/they), Screenwriting Mentor & Academy Coordinator
Stories of queer and trans folks within the South Asian diaspora are few and far between, and Sort Of is an example of the multi-dimensional representation we need. I especially love the nuances portrayed by Sabhi's character and their relationship with their mother. -Zara Ahmed (they/them), Equity, Diversty, & Inclusion Manager
Rothaniel is a smart, personal, and honest introspection of the self by Jerrod Carmichael. It's so much more than a simple stand-up special and transcends what stand-up can be! -Jarred Gregory-Grimes (he/him), Production Supervisor
Donald Glover's comedy-drama series follows college dropout and music manager Earn Marks and his cousin and rapper, Paperboi, as they navigate the Atlanta hip hop scene. Atlanta is written by an all-Black writing staff, and the episodic storylines are not only cinematic but unpack very complex subject matter such as race, class, and identity in a comedic way. -Arash Malekzadeh (he/him), Post-Production Manager
Reservation Dogs is the only show this year that made me both laugh out loud and ugly cry every single episode. This coming-of-age dramedy follows four Native teenagers living on a rural Oklahoma reservation and turns every Native stereotype on its head. (Special mention to comedian & activist Dallas Goldtooth for his portrayal of the foul-mouthed, occasionally bumbling ancestor, Spirit/William Knifeman.) The show was created and is led by Taika Waititi and Sterlin Harjo and boasts a nearly 100% Native cast, crew, and writers room.
-Sierra Lee (she/her), Associate Development Director
Never Have I Ever
Never Have I Ever is about an Indian-American girl coming of age while dealing with the sudden death of her father. I love that this show centers a Brown girl in a high school romantic comedy with a very diverse group of friends. Season 3 dropped this past fall, and it's been great to witness Mindy Kaling and her evolving brand. -Laura Gomez-Mesquita (she/her), Executive Co-Director
Queen Sugar is an intergenerational series with gorgeous storytelling, and is absolutely inspiring. Anything Ava DuVernay has her hands on is worth a watch, especially this show, with majority femme folks in the writers' room, in leadership, and on crew—not to mention having the legendary Cheryl Dunye serve as one of the directors! What I appreciate most about this series is how it engages with tough discussions and harsh realities, such as the effects of ongoing colonialism, violence, and the lineage of Black activism in North America. -Troy Rockett (he/they), Internship Supervisor
Our commitment to racial and gender equity means that we’re always asking the question, whose voice and perspective is missing? BAYCAT Recommends is a discerning finger on the pulse of a new film and media industry, where diverse voices and perspectives are always centered and celebrated.