Bay Area Video Coalition

Bay Area Video Coalition

The Bay Area Video Coalition (BAVC) is a non-profit organization that works to connect independent producers and underrepresented communities to emerging media technologies. It was founded in 1976 in San Francisco, and has been active in providing diverse community access to media creation and innovation to underrepresented groups and other local non-profit organizations.


BAVC is committed to inspiring "inspires social change by enabling the sharing of diverse stories through art, education and technology." [1]


BAVC was founded in 1976 by a coalition of media-makers and activists who, initially, wanted to find alternative, civic-minded applications for a new technology - PortaPak video. While the technology has continued to change radically, BAVC’s mission remains.basically the same.

In 1976, The Rockefeller Foundation provided seed funding to a coalition of media makers, journalists, educators, and non-profit activists to complete a study that ultimately called for the founding of a media arts nonprofit. One year later, the Bay Area Video Coalition (BAVC) initiated its Membership & Fiscal sponsorship programs. Gail Waldron was hired as the first Executive Director. The nation's first (non-profit) broadcast-level suite that meets PBS standards was created at BAVC in 1978. The National Endowment for the Arts (NEA) funded BAVC to begin production of Western Exposure, a series of six diverse programs by Bay Area independents. The first workshop – Color Production – was taught with a Hitachi FP-1020 camera and JVC portable recorder.

In 1980, BAVC Job Center opened, a space for students, job seekers, and industry pros to network and share opportunities. As Executive Producer, BAVC produced The Stand In, directed by Bob Zagone and starring Danny Glover. One year later, BAVC produced The Life and Times of Rose Maddox, a documentary about the country western singer. The Grass Valley Switcher was installed in the Online suite, and Morrie Warshawski became the new Executive Director.

The BAVC artist-in-residence program was born with the Capp Street Project, sponsoring Mary Lucier, Daniel Reeves, and Francesco Torres. BAVC was the only video facility in San Francisco not damaged by the Loma Prieta earthquake in 1989, and was able to provide postproduction services for all American Red Cross relief reports. In 1991, the organization set up its Technical HelpDesk, initiated the Artist Equipment Access (AEA) program, now known as the Media Maker Awards, and co-published Illuminating Video: An Essential Guide to Video Art. BAVC acquired a ProTools system in 1993 and completed “Brothers,” the first interactive video program aimed at slowing the spread of HIV among African Americans. One year later, the organization was awarded an NEA Challenge Grant to develop a video preservation center. The captioning program was established with funds from the NEC Foundation of America and Toyota USA Foundation. Education expanded to 250 workshops a year; Avid authorized BAVC to be their Northern California Training Center.

The Getty Research Institute and the Andy Warhol Foundation supported "Playback '96," an international symposium on video preservation at SFMOMA. In 1997, BAVC moved to its current home at 2727 Mariposa, tripling in size. JobLink was launched and the first annual MediaMaker Handbook was published. In 1999, YouthLink was launched, and Compaq donated the NT Lab. Their education program offered 500 workshops a year and a contract was awarded from the state Employment Training Panel (ETP). BAVC executive-produced Drawing on the Right Side of the Brain, and won the 1999 Best Practices Award from the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development. They produced TechArcheology: A Symposium on Installation Art Preservation, Where Media Collide, a speakers series on the convergence of digital media, and From Promising Practices, Promising Futures, the Ford-funded national study of tech workforce development. Two national meetings were held on Building a Digital Workforce.

BAVC was awarded the Smithsonian Laureates Award and the Audrey Nelson Community Development Award. By 2001, captioning grew by 500% and was certified by the National Association for the Deaf and the U.S. Department of Education. Over 500 videos were preserved from archives and major museums across the country, including The Kitchen and the Smithsonian Institution. Apple selected them to be an Apple Certified Training (ACT) Center. They developed an artist-in-residence program and Polish video artist Pawel Kruk was selected. Electronic Cafeco-founderKit Gallaway partnered with BAVC in 2003 to preserve the historic video piece, Hole-In-Space. SPARK, a [KQED]/BAVC co-production about the Bay Area arts scene, premiered. Also in 2003, Lost Boys of Sudan was completed in BAVC's online suite. The Weather Underground, onlined and close-captioned at BAVC, was nominated for an Academy Award in 2004. SPARK garnered four Northern California Emmy nominations. BAVC is called “the best place to make media” by the San Francisco Bay Guardian.

BAVC and the Community Technology Foundation of California launched the Zero Divide Digital Storytelling Institute. BAVC began to preserve audiotape in addition to videotape, with a grant from Richard and Pamela Kramlich’s New Art Trust. In 2005, the organization produced PREPUT, a training seminar for public media professionals. BAVC, Film Arts Foundation, and KQED teamed up to produce Truly CA. Jennifer Reeder became BAVC’s first HD artist in residence. BAVC and Rearden Studios hosted a screening and reception with video artist Bill Viola. Beyond the Dream, a four-part documentary series for PBS, was onlined at BAVC. Youth Sounds merged with BAVC in 2006 to create BAVC Next Generation Programs, a comprehensive new model of youth media training and development. In partnership with Podshow, Adobe and SF Mayor Gavin Newsom’s Digital Media Advisory Council, BAVC Next Gen presented True2Life: Everyday Activities and Youth Changing the World, showing youth as innovative cultural producers and the Bay Area as a model in linking youth to community and industry change. BAVC worked with the Tisch School of the Arts, NYU as well as The Getty Research Institute and the Merce Cunningham Dance Company to help develop video preservation curriculum and training resources for their students and staff.

In 2007, with core funding from the MacArthur Foundation, BAVC launched the Producers Institute for New Media Technologies, creating space for independent producers, entrepreneurial public broadcasting entities, and the Bay Area’s digital media industry to generate cross-platform companion pieces for independent media.[2]

Notable BAVC-Supported Productions

  • The Stand In (1981)
  • The Life and Times of Rose Maddox (1991)
  • Brothers (1993)
  • Drawing on the Right Side of the Brain (1999)
  • The Lost Boys of Sudan (2003)
  • Hole-In-Space (2003)
  • The Weather Underground (2004)
  • Beyond the Dream (2005)
  • Plagues and Pleasures on the Salton Sea (2006)


External links

  • Website of BAVC
  • CineSource Magazine - Local Film Schools: A Plethora of Riches