About Us


We aim to connect students to their voice in both the written and the visual form.  We believe that our voice is our power. We seek to equip students with the skills necessary to speak out about their experiences and to speak into a future they envision.


SUSANNA DESIMONE: Program Director

Susanna DeSimone has a Bachelor of Arts in Sociology from University of California, Berkeley, and a Master of Fine Arts in Screenwriting from Loyola Marymount University. She works as a co-executive producer / writer for Tenacity Entertainment and teaches film courses at the university level.  It was while studying in the creative writing program of prestigious author, June Jordan, at Berkeley, that Ms. DeSimone saw how empowering it is for writers to find their voice and express their truth. She utilizes this philosophy in her writing classes for both teens and adults. As the founder of South Bay Film Academy, she believes that connecting students to their voice and their vision through the art of the film, not only fosters their own self-realization, but also equips and empowers them to have a far-reaching impact on the world around them.

CONTACT: Susanna@southbayfilmacademy.com


CRYSTAL ELLIS: Directing Instructor

Crystal Ellis resides in Long Beach, CA and is a mother of two.  She has always wanted to combine her two passions in life — education and entertainment. Her educational background includes a Bachelor of Arts in Communications with an emphasis in Electronic Media Production.  She has more than five years of experience as a Program Manager for a top educational institution where she helped students change their lives and reach new heights. She has worked as a freelance writer/producer for more than eight years; her production credits span documentaries to feature films, including the acclaimed New Image Emergency Shelter documentary. Her motivation for pursuing a career in the entertainment industry was to clear a path for new ideas, new concepts, new vision, and new faces. This led her to co-found South Bay Film Academy as a way for young people to bring dreams to life, a way for visions to flourish, and a way for voices to be heard.

CONTACT: INFO@southbayfilmacademy.com