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.




My name is Amiahlina Figueroa. I am a 15-year-old freshman attending Ideate High Academy. I live in downtown San Diego, California which has shaped me in ways I can't express. At school, I am an ambassador and member of ASB, along with being vice president of Music Club. Throughout my life filmmaking has been always been present. I’ve always been so immersed in the world's movies and TV shows, when I was younger I used to rewatch the same movies over and over again like I never had seen them before. As I’ve gotten older I’ve become more interested in the making and different expression of stories through film. Now, I want to know the process and skills that come with creating and expressing worlds and stories through filmmaking. Through this program, I want to share my open-mindedness and experience of different perspectives. I’m thrilled to meet and learn from my mentors and peers who share a passion for filmmaking like I do. I’m also very thankful for Reel Voices for giving me this opportunity to pursue what may be a future career.

Amiahlina Figueroa


My name is Arianna Washington and I am a 14 year old freshman attending Helix Charter High School. Outside of School, I spend most of my free time playing volleyball for Point Break Volleyball Club, hiking, volunteering at my previous middle school where I mentor students, and traveling. In school, I am involved in ASL club and Culinary club where I always learning something new. I am looking forward to be apart of the Reel Voices program where I can develop new skills, meet new people, and voice my creativity through the art of film.

Arianna Washington


Ava Reynolds is a young lady who is absolutely thrilled to join Reel Voices. She is an eccentric young freshman in Helix Charter High School, and is very involved and invested in her school activities and academics. She loves to sing, dance, do aerial gymnastics, learn about politics, swim, and many other activities! Ava is an Honors and AP student, and earns straight A's, she is a very hard-working individual. Her top priority is her family, she would do anything for the people she loves. Her main goal in life is to cure autism and she pushes herself to gain a career to make this goal possible. Thank you all!

Ava Reynolds


Hello! My name is Cassondra Flanery and I go to Helix Charter High School. I am apart of the yearbook staff and play field hockey, as well as volunteer at Sharp Grossmont Hospital. Film is such an important part of my life, and I plan on majoring in film and media studies in college. Being able to make my own short film is such an amazing opportunity and I’m more than excited to be apart of Reel Voices this year!

Cassondra Flanery


My name is Daud and I was born and raised in San Diego. I go to Helix Charter High School in La Mesa. I love to play basketball and hang out with my friends. And most importantly I LOVE movies. I'm looking forward to making a film in Reel Voices because I want to know if filmmaking is truly for me and if I'm passionate about it. I can't wait!!

Daud Abdinasir


I’m Matthew Nazloo, a junior attending Valhalla High School. As a student, I am heavily involved in many activities within my school, such as; our Marching Band, Drumline, Concert Band, and Multimedia Production. I have a deep passion for storytelling that makes people invested, makes people think and draw their own conclusion about the story and characters. These are the kinds of stories I want to create, something that people can laugh along with, and learn something that can be applied to their own lives. I’m hoping Reel Voices helps me take another step forward into fully realizing that goal, as I learn more about storytelling and filmmaking.

Matthew Nazloo


I’m Melissa Ruiz, I was born and raised in San Diego, City Heights and I’m 15 years old. I’m really excited for Reel Voices because I love the art of expressing yourself and style through videos. Also having the chance to be exposed to how films are made. I hope to share my story, make friends, be collaborative, share creative ideas, and overall experience something I’m very passionate about!

Melissa Ruiz


My name is Roxana ``Roxy`` Morris and I am going into my junior year at Canyon Crest Academy. All my life, I have been fascinated with storytelling, first expressing it with finger paintings and scribbles which evolved into photography, film, short stories, sketches, and poetry. I took various art classes over the years to figure out which I liked best, becoming more interested in writing and cinema. I love cinema because it unfolds the creator's vision of their story, something that I, a storyteller, am intrigued by. I hope that through the Reel Voices program, I will have the opportunity to grow as an artist and develop my craft while also telling an impactful story.

Roxy Morris


Born on November 7th 2004, I was given the name of Samantha Andrea Del Rio. From the start I have always been immersed in the eyes of performing arts. Including dance, TV, and musical theater. I remember since 3rd grade my best friends and I making home videos with our ipads and creating “short films.” After entering middle school I was introduced into musical theater and fell in love. I hope to present plays and have great success. Being accepted into Reel Voices has already been amazing, I’m excited to learn and explore film in a professional way and not just with my iPad.

Samantha Andrea Del Rio


My name is Sophia Lee. I am 16 years old and am going to be a junior at Canyon Crest Academy in the fall. The arts have always been such a major part of my life, whether it be in the form of studio art, dance, music, or film. I first discovered my interest in filmmaking after creating a video for the iVIE Student Film Festival through a club in elementary school. Since then, I’ve had the opportunity to explore my passions by taking varying arts classes in and out of school. I am so excited to work with Reel Voices this summer and learn more about filmmaking, meet people with the same interests as me, and create a story through my documentary!

Sophia Lee


Hi! My Name is Sumedh Neelakanti and I am going into my senior year of highschool at Del Norte High School. Over the past 3 years, I discovered that I loved to make films, short videos and edits of activities happening around school. My sophomore year, I applied to ASB as a media tech commissioner but was made a Clubs commissioner. One of my goals was to try my best and help media. So I took a risk, without previous experience in filming and editing I made a “First Day of School” video for the school instagram and little did I know this was the start to my career in film. Now I’m the Media Tech Executive and Vice President of ASB. I am also the Vice President of the Film Club on campus, I do freelance Videography outside of School, I’m apart of Link Crew and I volunteer at the local library and Feeding San Diego organization. Film is so unique because I believe it is the only platform where you really can convey your voice, message and feelings through a medium where people can see, listen and feel. I just love it, that’s why I seek to improve myself through the Reel Voices Program and learn the art of documentary and storytelling.

Sumedh Neelakanti


My name is Yssy, and I’m a 16-year-old Sagittarius sun/Virgo moon going into my junior year at Escondido High School. Executing personal projects through various forms of media has always been a part of my life. In the past, I’ve experimented with screenwriting, journalism, drawing, photography, and boardgame design, and I’m eager to try filmmaking. Film allows people to identify their own struggles and experiences in other’s stories while giving a voice to untold narratives, which is something I wish to contribute to through the platform Reel Voices provides. In this program, I’m looking forward to learning from other artists and challenging my creativity by taking on a new medium.

Ysabella Smiley



Frank Howley is a video producer who graduated from Cal State Fullerton with a degree in Film Studies. He’s written, directed, edited and acted in hundreds of internet shorts, including viral videos for Nintendo, sketch comedy for FunnyOrDie, and music videos for Math The Band. Frank has been working with Pacific Arts Movement since 2015, providing video coverage for the Spring Showcase and San Diego Asian Film Festival as well as teaching the Reel Voices @ Monarch program. Frank is deeply passionate about film and video games, he'll gladly talk your ear off about the brilliance of Park Chan-wook and Final Fantasy.

Frank Howley

Reel Voices Coordinator

Rizzhel Mae Javier resides in San Diego, CA, and is an artist and educator in the visual arts. Her goal is to foster opportunities that utilize image-making as a tool for learning. She received her MFA degree in Studio Arts at San Diego State University. Rizzhel works at Miracosta College teaching darkroom photography. Her interest with the community has also lead to her to teaching opportunities with The AjA Project, Barrio Logan College Institute and Museum of Photographic Arts, where she promotes the use of contemporary image-making tools to build opportunities for students to discuss their thoughts and ideas through creating their own narrative projects.

Rizzhel Javier

Reel Voices Instructor


Reel Voices is supported through generous grants from:

Samuel I. & John Henry Fox Foundation


Pratt Memorial Fund