Since 2005, Pacific Arts Movement has empowered local high school students to learn the art of documentary filmmaking through the Reel Voices program. This intense 8-week summer class helps students become socially-conscious storytellers, learn Adobe Premiere editing, and experience all stages of production.
Students receive a $500 scholarship for their work, which premieres at the annual San Diego Asian Film Festival in November. The films are also packaged into a DVD and travel to other film festivals around the world including Youngcuts Film Festival (Montreal), Seoul International Youth Film Festival, Los Angeles Film Festival, National Film Festival for Talented Youth (Seattle), and Human Rights Watch International Film Festival (New York). Their films have won awards including PBS’s Project VoiceScape Audience Award. Previous Reel Voices students have used their works to earn scholarships to film school.
One of the benefits of the Reel Voices program is the invaluable access to mentors. Each student is paired up with an experienced filmmaker throughout the course of the program for guidance and moral support. This provides a rare opportunity for high school students to hold one-on-one conversations with industry professionals while gaining valuable insight and confidence. Thanks to technology, mentors connect with their mentees via Skype, Google Hangout, email, and sometimes in person.
Reel Voices: Class of 2018
My name is Anvita Gurung and I’m going to be a senior at Bonita Vista High School. I am part of my school’s show choir the Music Machine and the International Baccalaureate Program. I’m so excited to be able to work with Reel Voices and pursue my filmmaking passions, all while getting amazing guidance from my mentors and peers. I can’t wait to learn so many new skills, meet amazing new friends, and showcase my documentary!
Filmmaking has always apart of my life, whether or not it involved holding a camera and pressing the record button. I have always loved the behind the scenes videos of film sets and telling intriguing stories. As I got older, it took forms of editing school newscasts, exploring and studying my favorite films, and now reading film books and writing scripts. My name is Berean Smith, and I am a 16 year old storyteller. I hope that through the Reel Voices program, I will have the opportunity to give an important story a voice, to learn cinema with others like me, and produce something that can impact the viewer in a meaningful way.
Hello! My name is Bethzy Mendoza, I’m a sophomore and I’m currently attending El Cajon Valley High School. I love to be creative so I’m always trying new artistic things for example: I love drawing, editing and reading. I grew up in Mexico and I recently came here to the United States a little less than two years ago. It was hard at first to get used to speak another language but I’m getting the hang of it and I’m happy living here. From the Reel Voices Program I hope to improve my editing skills and to learn more about the filmmaking process.
My name is Clara Siliezar. I am 16 years old and am currently a junior at Clairemont High School. Since a young age, I have been utterly fascinated with the art of film. I began video editing years ago to make videos for my family documenting our vacations and other events. I've always had a significant interest for film and was inspired by the movies I watched in my childhood to one day pursue a career in it. Currently, I am the founder and president of the Film club at my school and am also the co-founder and vice president of the Take A Stand (TAS) club at my school. I am glad to be able to create platforms where others can openly express ideas and exercise their creativity. I am very excited to be able to partake in Reel Voices where I can pursue my interests and collaborate with others who share the same passion as me.
My name is Drake Presto, and I am 17 years old going into my senior year at Great Oak High School in Temecula, CA. For my school I run varsity track and field, act with my varsity level improv troupe, perform with the Tahitian club "Ohana nani nui", and participate in the full IB diploma program. Outside of school I dance with a collegiate level hip hop team @articulatedance and run a successful online clothing business @abstractsupplyco having sold over $3,000 in sales this past year. I started developing a passion for filmmaking back in middle school, videotaping my friends skateboard in the streets of Okinawa, Japan. Since then, I have progressed from filming skateboarding to all my passions, and even my schools daily video announcements. Joining the Reel Voices program will introduce me to a community of passionate filmmakers, each with their own individual passions and talents. As we embark on the journey to create our own documentary film, we have the opportunity to learn from each other and grow our passion for filmmaking together. I'm super thrilled to be starting this program, and can't wait to start filming!
My name is Katie Jose and I am a Junior at Poway High School. At school, I am the President for the Fight Against Hunger Club where we volunteer at many Homeless Outreach Centers, food packaging events, Father Joe's Villages and the San Diego Food Bank. I also play soccer, run track and field and I am also part of the leadership team for Peer Counseling and the California Scholarship Federation. Outside of school, I am the coordinator for TOPSoccer for the Poway Youth Soccer League and I also volunteer at a local Elementary School and the local library where I help teach Spanish to kids. I first discovered my love for filmmaking when I joined a Digital Media class in 7th grade. Since then, I've participated in Broadcast Journalism classes at my High School. Through the Reel Voices program, I hope to learn more about the production of documentaries and to tell a story that will hopefully impact others.
My name is Madeline Atwater. I am 17 years old and am currently attending Mission Vista High School. I have always had a passion for being both in front of and behind a camera and am even attending NAU in the fall of 2018 to earn a film degree. I have always been more of the creative type and take advantage of every opportunity that comes my way if it means getting one step closer to achieving my dream of having a film career. I have participated in many film classes at school, created many short videos for social media, etc. and even placed 3rd in an LA acting showcase. I can’t wait to see what Reel Voices has in store for all of its students and to expand my creativity through film.
My name is Ryan Nguyen and I attend Morse High School as a senior. I currently am the captain of my school badminton team and I love to be a part of my school and community. At school, I participate in clubs like Key Club and the Environmental Club, but within my community I am in certain volunteer groups like SDAYO, which is the San Diego Asian Youth Organization, these kinds of groups give me the opportunity to really give back. From volunteering at runs, to participating in local clean ups. As a young child growing up in Southern San Diego, I really loved watching movies with my family and I remember making stick figure animations and recording funny videos with my siblings, although these aren't really professional film experiences, I feel like these things led me to have an interest in film and I am incredibly grateful to be given the opportunity to participate in the Reel Voices Program, because I feel like I will be given a chance to learn more about the art of filmmaking and how I can eventually pursue it in my future. My High School Career is almost up, I'm nervous and scared but at the same time I can't be anymore excited for my future.
My name is Sidney Oung and I am a senior at Grossmont High School and going to CSULB in the fall. I got into the technical side of film making in a middle school class and I hope to improve the more driven and creative side when I do films. I am excited to be in a group of other creative individuals that have the same passion as me. I hope that this experience helps me as a filmmaker as I want to be work the industry in the future.
Hello! My name is Trish Lai and I am a senior at Mira Mesa High School. I am involved in Younglife—a Christian Youth Group, which has given me a family outside of home and the ability to empower young girls in my community. Also, despite being allergic to animals, I work at a pet grooming shop, to gain more experience in my long term goal of becoming a veterinarian! I’m excited to be a part of Reel Voices, to learn, to make new friends, and to make impactful films to inspire social change!
My name is Cielo Muñoz, though I most often go by the name Vivian, and I’m 17. Being a junior at Valhalla High School in El Cajon, I’m proudly involved with my school’s Advanced Orchestra and Divisional State Champion Marching Band. As someone who avidly takes part in the arts, whether through traditional or more contemporary forms of music, photography, and writing, I’m incredibly excited to try out video as a new artistic medium; I want to see what I can accomplish outside of my comfort zone. I hope to tell some impactful stories through the Reel Voices program and perhaps bring attention to issues, we as a society, don’t even realize we have. I’m eager to lend a voice to those who might need it, as well as open myself up to new possible career paths in the arts.
Reel Voices: Staff
Reel Voices Coordinator
Reel Voices Instructor
Reel Voices Students and Project Archive
Get to know past Reel Voices students, view their works, and celebrate their awards. Click below to see the Reel Voices Project Archive.
” As a child, I had a hard time figuring out my identity and did not really have a figure to look up to that reflected me in American pop culture… With Reel Voices, I have received a clear example of the need to act upon something to make a change.” – Emily Johnson, Reel Voices Class of 2012, Student of Film and TV at UCLA
Donors and Sponsors
Reel Voices is made possible by the generous support of the following funders: