Summer Programs

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

Summer program dates for 2022 will be announced in Spring 2022.

Summer 2021 FAQs

Summer Programs

2 weeks • For middle school and high school young women and non-binary youth with some or no filmmaking experience

*We have an awesome hybrid online & in-person model in place to ensure our filmmakers can create films for our 9th summer! The safety of our filmmakers is our first priority!*

Each session begins with media literacy training, as well as leadership and team building. Film workshops are held throughout the program to teach you the skills needed to create your own film. Guest lectures are given by professional film and media makers who have worked in the media industry for decades, including Oscar nominees and winners. Editing takes place the last few days of the program. Virtual film festival will be held at the end of the two weeks for the filmmakers to debut their films!

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 & Summer Program Producer


Going Virtual 2021

2021 looks to be similar to 2020 as we can not predict what will happen with in-person programming in six month. What we do know is that we will have our unique and important filmmaking programs for girls. We now have almost a year of experience putting on virtual programs, bringing in world class filmmakers and teaching the next generation of female and non-binary filmmakers.  We certainly hope that we can have some sort of in person programming. We miss coming together to collaborate, share skills and create films. But we are preparing for all possible outcomes. With that registration will look different this year.

What are your summer 2021 dates for your filmmaking programs?

Institute : May 31-June 11

Bootcamp: June 14- June 25 

Advanced: July 12-July 23rd

What’s the process for signing up?

As of January 27th you can register for bootcamp and advanced camp

To hold your place in our summer program you will need to register along with a $50 non-refundable application fee. Our programs traditionally sell out quickly and this will guarantee your child has a space in our programs. We are again limiting our registration to only 20 participants each session.

At the end of February you will receive a link to pay the registration for the full two week virtual program. 

I have attended other media programs in the past or other Reel Stories programs this year, but not a summer program. Should I sign up for Advanced or Bootcamp?

Each program will be challenging and you will learn a ton about filmmaking from professionals. Advanced camp will add more specialized workshops such as Production Design, Costuming, Lighting. If you are unsure of what program suits you best you can email our Program Manager:

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. For our own planning we will decide by April 1st if we can offer in person programming

Will there be an additional cost of the programs will move to in person?

Yes, in person programming will cost more. Unfortunately the cost of an in person program is more expense so that means there will be an additional cost if we can move our programs online.

I see a sliding scale on your registration site. Can you tell me more about that?

We always want anyone who wants to attend a Reel Stories filmmaking program to be able to attend. 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. Just reach out to Program Manager:

What’s the Institute?

The Institute is a program for our most dedicated and ambitious filmmakers. If you truly see yourself having a career in the film industry this might be a good fit for you. In this program there are very few technical programs. You are expected to already be familiar with the equipment. This program expands beyond the two weeks of campin-person weeks. There will be several meetings leading up the programming focus on story development. You will be expected to arrive on the first day of the program with a film to pitch. Then one or two ideas will be chosen to make during the course of the two weeks. This program is open to 15-22 year olds and we have space for only 12 students in this program. This is an application based program and the applications will be ready in the next couple of weeks. This program most likely will be in person for production days and we will be following the covid protocols established by the film industry. If you would like an application to this program please email Grace Patterson at

Who is Welcome at Reel Stories?

While much of our mission is focused on bringing more women into the media industry, our ultimate goal is to increase representation for everyone who doesn’t see themselves on the screen or behind the scenes. As such, our programs are open to trans, cis, and gender-nonconforming women, and nonbinary people, and we are a welcoming, inclusive, and affirming space. If you have any questions, connect with us at

Will I really make a film in this program?

I know it seems unbelievable! We have never had a team not finish their films. And it goes to show the power and talent of girls. Not only will you work in a small team to write, shoot and edit your own film, but you get to participate in media literacy workshops so that you can view current media more critically and thoughtfully. You get to learn from professionals in the industry and have a support staff to assist with any issues or problems.

How old do I need to be to attend the Reel Stories Summer Program?

This is for Middle School and High School girls, ages 12-18 years old. But parents, during our media literacy programs themes of harassment and how women and girls are perceived in the media are discussed at depth so let us know if you have any concerns about content.

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 Saturday Film Festival.

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 really want to attend, but might require some financial assistance. Can you tell me more about your Financial Aid Program?

It’s incredibly important to us that any girl that wants to attend Reel Stories has the ability to. We offer 40% of our local participant’s financial aid. This is a sliding scale tuition and it’s is on the honor system. You tell us what you can pay. We will give you some guidance if you need it. We fundraise all year long to be able to offer this. Unfortunately, it is only available to girls who live and attend school in the Bay Area.

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

We understand that. There are only 3 media programs for girls 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 Saturday 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 2 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.

I signed up for a summer program, but now I can’t attend. What do I do?

After April 1st we can’t offer a refund. We are a small non-profit and our staffing and equipment needs are based on our tuition and attendance numbers. That being said we are happy to try and slide you into a different week of the program or give you a credit for the following summer. We also offer weekend workshops and we can offer you a credit for one of those.

This program sounds awesome! But I'm an adult / outside of the age range. Are there any programs I can attend?

There sure are! We offer Women’s Filmmaking Weekends and Pre-Professional workshops. Learn more here.