Our mission is to empower children facing medical challenges to express themselves through the art of filmmaking. Our success is seen in a child’s joyful dance, the confidence of a budding director, and the proud smile of an award-winning young filmmaker. Over 5,000 children and families have participated in our innovative programs.
We currently offer our program at UCSF Benioff Children’s Hospital and Childrens Hospital and Research Center Oakland. We teach children the different aspects of filmmaking, from story development to final editing. Our program celebrates storytelling and gives each child the opportunity to tell his or her personal story.
With guidance from our clinically trained professional filmmakers and volunteers, children make their own movies from start to finish. Each child chooses how she or he wants to participate in the process. Some choose to work behind the scenes as artists, scriptwriters, set designers, camera operators, and directors. Others like to step in front of the camera as actors or as the subjects of their own documentaries.
For children dealing with serious medical conditions, creative expression through filmmaking is therapeutic and life-affirming. Hospitalized children have little control over their situation, but through filmmaking they are able to take control of something creative and engaging and recapture a sense of themselves as confident and empowered.
As children immerse themselves in the exciting and challenging process of making a film, they are able to shift their focus from pediatric patient to budding filmmaker. And as they learn new skills, collaborate with others, and tell their story, their self-esteem is strengthened.
The impact of BayKids Studios’ work extends beyond hospital walls. When the films are shared in screenings and film festivals and on YouTube, children feel an immense pride as they are recognized for their accomplishments. And when children “graduate” from BayKids, they take with them their newfound skills and sometimes, newfound aspirations.
With every movie that is made, BayKids Studios is proud to see another child experience the joy and rewards of personal expression.