Camp Reel Stories Gives Film a Female-Filled Future


2013 was a great year for women in film. Female-directed Frozen won the Academy Award for Best Animated Feature (yay, Jennifer Lee!) and films with strong female roles like Gravity and Catching Fire were hits at the box office. These are wonderful achievements, yet the grim statistics about the percentage of women behind the camera and about the quality of female roles in front of the camera must be reversed. Fortunately, there’s a program in Oakland, California for girls aged 13-18 who want to get into media that aims to change those statistics. It’s called Camp Reel Stories, and it is changing the way women will be involved with and portrayed in the media in the next generation.

Camp Reel Stories is a non-profit summer program designed to empower and equip young women interested in the media with the skills and drive they need to become leaders in the media industry. The camp’s founders believe “that when women are better represented behind the scenes in the media, they will be better reflected on the screen” and I must wholeheartedly-agree. I was privileged to be a mentor at Camp Reel Stories’ maiden launch last year, which was attended by about 30 girls and resulted in six films created in just a week’s time.

This year, Camp Reel Stories will have two week-long camps with over 90 girls in attendance. That’s 90 future filmmakers, producers, actors, videographers – all female, all hungry to be the change in their industry. A full 40% of last year’s campers received financial aid to attend and the need is great again this year. To that end, Camp Reel Stories has launched an indiegogo campaign to raise funds so that a wonderful, bright, diverse population of girls can attend camp this year regardless of their financial ability. They’ve set a fundraising goal of $20,000 and we’ve got until May 9th to make it happen, so make sure to visit their page and give.

I know first-hand what a vital effort Camp Reel Stories is for the future of the film and media industry. Last year the phenomenal attendees inspired me and I can’t wait to see how they transform film for the better for our daughters, granddaughters, nieces, and loved ones.

Want to see for yourself? Check out their awesome video below and get behind this fantastic project!

  • Elisa Dumesnil

    It is trailblazers like you who are showing these young women how it can be done and lighting the path. Grateful for the ripple effect of your stunning work and advocacy!

    • brendachapman

      Thank you for that vote of confidence! 🙂 But it’s Esther Pearl who deserves the kudos on this one! She is a really amazing and determined woman.

      • Esther Pearl

        Thank you so much Brenda! Both for your amazing blog and your very kind words. I am grateful for the amazing community that I belong to!

        • brendachapman


  • Susan Davis

    Thanks Brenda. Beautifully written! I’ve posted the link to FB.

    • brendachapman

      Thank you!!

  • sianychick

    It looks awesome!

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