Summer Programs

When women and gender expansive folks are better represented behind the scenes, they’re better reflected on the screen. That’s why Reel Stories is training the next generation of empowered filmmakers. Through collaborative, hands-on programs, we’re creating a pipeline of filmmakers with the skills they need to enter the film and media industry, and the confidence they need to succeed.

Summer Camp FAQs

Camp Reel Stories

Get a jump start into filmmaking. In just two weeks, learn everything you need to know about filmmaking to create your own short film with your team. Learn from Reel Stories mentors and guest speakers from around the film industry.

Camp Reel Stories:
  • Who: Ages 12-18, open to girls and gender-expansive youth.
  • When: June 12th-23rd, 2023 9:30am-3pm
  • Where: Oakstop in Downtown Oakland

If you have any questions, please email


Sign up for Camp Reel Stories

Reel Stories Institute

The Reel Stories Institute helps young adult filmmakers make the jump from students to professionals. Elevate your storytelling skills, practice using professional equipment, and flex your team-working muscles. Over the course of two weeks, you will create a portfolio quality piece with your cohort.
Reel Stories Institute:
  • Who: Ages 15-24, open to girls and gender-expansive youth.
  • When: July 10-July 21st, 2023 9am-4pm
  • Where: Oakstop in Downtown Oakland
If you have any questions please email
Apply For Institute

Reel Stories Boot Camp

Reel Stories Boot Camp:

  • Ages 11-15, open to girls and gender-expansive youth.
  • When: July 31st-August 4th 9am-2pm with an optional media hour until 3pm
  • What: Boot Camp is a for absolute beginners and younger students who are curious about filmmaking but not sure where to get started! This program is only 5 days long, it is a great way to figure out your interests in filmmaking, and is a great option for students who are too young for Camp Reel Stories but want get started on their film journey.

If you have any questions please email


Sign Up for Boot Camp

Learn Every Step of the Filmmaking Process


As a key part of the development process, directors and producers pitch their project to receive funding to make their films. During our development phase, you’ll learn how to pitch your stories and work together with your group to get a project “green lit”.


There are many different elements that need to be considered before a movie is even filmed. You’ll get an introduction to these elements, including scriptwriting, storyboarding, casting, set / art design, and locations.


With a focus on the roles needed in the actual production of a film, you’ll get hands-on experience of how the director, cinematographer, actors, gaffer, sound engineer, and others collaborate to create each frame of a movie.


You’ll learn to polish a film and prepare it for distribution, includig film editing, sound mixing, title creation, and special effects.

Grand Finale

Your film will be shown on a big screen in an official film festival where you and your team present your work to an audience of family, friends, and local supporters!

My time as a camper and volunteer at Reel Stories afforded me the experiences, skills, and relationships that lead to my acceptance to UCLA's film and television program, and has continued to benefit me in my schooling.

Yasaman FordAlumna & Program Manager


What are your summer camp dates for your filmmaking programs?

Summer of 2023 will have three summer camps. The dates and times are as followed:

Camp Reel Stories (Ages:12-28)

June 12th-June 23rd

9:30am-3pm Monday-Friday

Film Festival: Saturday June 24th

Reel Stories Institute (Ages: 16-25)

July 10th-July 21st

9am-4pm Monday-Friday

Final Showcase: Saturday July 22nd

Reel Stories Boot Camp (Ages: 12-15)

July 31st-August 4th

9am-2pm (With Optional Media Hour 2pm-3pm)

Final Showcase: Saturday August 5th

What’s the process for signing up?

Please visit our Eventbrite page to register for Camp Reel Stories Summer 2023.

Our applications for Institute and Boot camp aren’t open yet, so please fill out our interest form to be notified when they open:

Reel Stories Summer Interest Form

Which Reel Stories summer camp is right for me? Camp Reel Stories, Institute, or Reel Stories Boot Camp?

Camp Reel Stories:

Camp Reel Stories is recommended for anyone who is interested in filmmaking! We will cover the basics for beginners, but also have new guest speakers and updated workshops and activities for returning campers or new campers who already have some filmmaking experience.


The Reel Stories Institute is meant for our most advanced filmmakers, ages 16-25. In the institute, we jump right in to creating a portfolio-quality film and have workshops around more advanced and niche filmmaking topics. We require that participants already have a filmmaking background. Institute is great for people who are planning to enter the filmmaking field, applying to film school or are currently in college. 

Reel Stories Boot Camp

Boot Camp is a for absolute beginners and younger students who are curious about filmmaking but not sure where to get started! We cover the fundamentals of storytelling in film, and how to creatively shoot on mobile devices and the basics of editing theory on iMovie. Because this program is only 5 days long, it is a great way to figure out your interests in filmmaking, and is a great option for students who are too young for Camp Reel Stories but want get started on their film journey!

If you have any questions about which program might suit you or your child best you can email us at Let us know a bit about yourself and your filmmaking background and we will suggest a program for you!

When will you know if the programs will be in person or virtual?

We will follow all the guidelines from the local health department and the CDC. Currently, we are planning for all of our summer programs to be 100% in-person.

Can you tell me more about your financial aid options?

40% of our filmmakers receive financial aid to attend our filmmaking programs, and we are proud to allow any filmmaker to attend our camp, regardless of financial status. All our programs are sliding scale and we ask that you pay what you can. If you need a full scholarship we can also offer those. We do not ask for proof of income.

Applying for financial aid will not affect your chances of getting into our camp and we encourage you to ask for assistance if you need it. Please consider your family income, resources, and dependents in the household when determining your financial aid request amount. To apply for financial aid please reach out to Reel Stories staff member Grace Patterson at

If you are interested in a full scholarship please let Grace know and she can walk you through the steps to apply through Eva Gunther.

Who is allowed to attend Reel Stories summer camps?

Our mission at Reel Stories began with bringing more women into the media industry. As time has gone on since our founding in 2013, we have expanded our mission to increase representation for people of all marginalized genders and identities who rarely see themselves on the screen or behind the scenes. About 15% of our participants identify as non-binary or transgender, and we have non-binary and transgender staff members as well. We have had cisgender women, transgender men, transgender women, non-binary filmmakers, genderqueer filmmakers, and filmmakers who are questioning their gender attend our programs in the past. Reel Stories does everything that we can to ensure that Reel Stories is a welcoming, inclusive, and affirming space for students of all genders and identities.

Our summer camps are meant for teenagers and young adults.

I need to miss a day of Reel Stories, is that okay?

Every day at Reel Stories is incredibly important. Not only will you miss valuable workshops, but it means your production company will be with out a key member of the team. Please plan on attending every day and the weekend Film Festival.

Will I really make a film in this program?

I know it seems unbelievable! We have never had a team not complete their film by the last day. The two weeks go by fast with lots of workshops and hands on experience!

What happens to our films after Reel Stories?

The films created at Reel Stories go live on our YouTube channel and website. We also submit them to festivals around the country. We have had films selected for the POWfest, All-American High School Film Festival, Bay Area International Children’s Festival, Coven Film Festival, and many, many others.

I don’t live in the Bay Area. Can I attend Reel Stories?

We understand that. There are only a few media programs for girls and gender expansive youth in the United States, so we want you to attend if you can! You are more than welcome to attend Reel Stories, and we have had participants fly in from all over the country, but Reel Stories is a day program and you will have to arrange for your own accommodations and transportation.

Tell me more about the Film Festival

The weekend following Reel Stories we screen the films created at Reel Stories at a theater! Each Production Company gets to present their film and participates in a Q&A after their screening. The festival is open to the public. Each participant gets 3 free tickets and additional tickets will be for sale at the door, but no one will be turned away because of a lack of funds

Do you supply the filmmaking equipment at Reel Stories? What about lunch?

Everything technical that you will need to make your film will be made available during the course of the program. If you need costumes or special props we will see what we can do, as well. We don’t supply lunch, but lots of snacks. We prefer that you bring a lunch, instead of money to buy lunch. We have refrigerators and microwaves for the participants to use.

What is your cancellation policy?

You can also cancel your enrollment up to two weeks before the camp session you signed up for starts for a full refund, minus a $50 registration fee. If you need to cancel less than two weeks before your session of camp starts, and do not choose to swap to another session, we will not be able to issue you a refund.