Esther Pearl has a voice, and she often uses it to give voice to artists around her. As the founder and Executive Director of Camp Reel Stories, she instills young women with the confidence and skills they need to take their places in the world of film and entertainment. She knows women are largely absent from decision making roles behind the cameras, limiting their careers and costing the world around them.
“Right now, only 16 percent of decision makers in media are women, and in feature films and television roles that are critical, only two percent of feature films were directed by women. Only 13 percent were written by women. And when you add in the element of Women of Color, those numbers shrink dramatically,” she says.
Camp Reel Stories offers positive solutions. Aspiring filmmakers work together to conceive and produce films in the course of a session. All the way through, she emphasizes the storytelling skills that are required to be an artist in film.
“You want to think about your audience, and I think that’s something important in general for young people. Regardless of what you choose to do in your career, because we certainly see that you need storytelling skills no matter what you do,” she says.
Esther had a steady rise to prominence. She received her Bachelor’s Degree in Visual Arts from the University of California (San Diego), and her M.B.A. in Sustainable Management from the Presidio Graduate School.
That launched her on a career in the entertainment industry, the majority of which she spent at Pixar Animation Studios. She was a rare woman employed in Production Management.
Esther’s film credits include Academy Award winning films “The Incredibles,” and “Wall-e,” as well as “Monsters, Inc.” Her other credits include; “Titanic,” “Starship Troopers,” “Armageddon” and “What Dreams May Come.”
She was a founding board member and is former President of the Board of Bay Area Girls Rock Camp. Her emphasis on lifting young women reaches far and wide. Camp Reel Stories offers financial assistance to girls from all communities and backgrounds.
Camp Reel Stories has been holding sessions at Oakland School of the Arts, but has found its office and year-round home at The Factory 510.
Esther is excited for the organization to transition to being a long term tenant of The Gate 510. This summer, the organization also offered its first filmmaking workshop for adult women right here via The Factory 510, and the Camp Reel Stories crew have been heartily welcomed as participants in our community.
“It’s really incredible to be around so many businesses that are very different from ours, but seem to be very similar in the fact of individuals thinking differently of what they want to put out in the world. What is being created at The Gate is so unique,” she says.
This month, Camp Reel Stories is the Nonprofit of the Month at Oaklandish, so on Sunday, August 21 from noon to 4, you can visit the Oaklandish store (1444 broadway Ave., in Oakland, of course!) and learn more about their mission; Oaklandish will donate 10% of their proceeds to help support Camp Reel Stories programming.
(Reported by: Tom LaPorte)