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

Summer 2024 Camp Enrollment Is Live!

Reel Stories Boot Camp

Ages 11-15, June 3rd-7th

The Reel Stories Boot Camp is for girls and gender expansive youth ages 11-15, who are new to filmmaking – no experience required!

The Reel Stories Boot Camp is the perfect opportunity for students looking to get their first introduction to the world of movie-making. In this 5 day camp, students will write, film, and edit their own narrative movies using easy to access technology that they can use at home to continue their filmmaking journey. Watch last year’s films on our YouTube channel.

Learn More and Sign Up!

Camp Reel Stories

Ages 13-17, June 17th-28th Mon-Friday

Camp Reel Stories is for girls and gender expansive youth ages 13-17, who are new to filmmaking – no experience required!

Campers work together in teams to write, film, and edit their own documentary or narrative films over the course of two weeks with the support of Reel Stories Staff and mentors. In addition to our staff-lead workshops, we invite experienced guest speakers from all aspects of the film industry to lead workshops and have exclusive Q&As with our campers. Past guest speakers have included Oscar winners Brenda Chapman and Lora Hirschberg, award winning directors Cathy Yan, Nijla Mumin, Screenwriter Kristy Lowrey and many others!

Camp concludes with a film festival at a local Bay Area theater where students screen their films for friends and family. Watch our films from last summer on our YouTube channel! After camp ends, Reel Stories staff submit camp films to festivals throughout the year.

Learn More and Sign Up!

Reel Stories Institute

Ages 15-20, July 8th-26th Mon-Friday

Institute is a FREE advanced filmmaking program for women and gender expansive filmmakers ages 15-20, and participants will receive a stipend for completing the program! This program is meant for participants who have filmmaking experience, and are interested in pursuing filmmaking and media making as a career.

At the Reel Stories Institute, participants jump right in to making a portfolio quality piece over the course of 3 weeks with the support of Reel Stories Instructors and mentors. Participants work together in teams to write, film, and edit their own films and attend workshops on screenplay writing, cinematography, sound, lighting, and editing. In addition to our staff-lead workshops, we invite experienced guest speakers from all aspects of the film industry to lead workshops and have exclusive Q&As with our campers.

After Institute wraps, Institute films are submitted to festivals throughout the year. Reel Stories films have shown at film festivals such as: The Mill Valley Film Festival, POWfest, All-American High School Film Festival, Bay Area International Children’s Festival, Coven Film Festival, and many, many others.


Learn More and Sign Up!

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’s the process for signing up?

Visit out Eventbrite page to sign up for camp. After signing up through Eventbrite, you will receive an enrollment form questionnaire.

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. 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 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.