Abigail Reinstedt wrote, directed, filmed, acted, and edited the film

Abigail Reinstedt won Best Picture at the 27th Annual Christian Youth Film Festival in Bakersfield. Contributed Photo.

Lockwood teen Abigail Reinstedt (16) won Best Picture at the 27th Annual Christian Youth Film Festival in Bakersfield for the film “Designing Lies.”

On May 2, Abigail’s film won Best Picture in the Teen Division and Best Application of Scripture.

Abigail wrote, directed, filmed, acted, and edited the film.


“I knew I wanted to enter a film into the festival, but it took me a long time to come up with an idea that I was happy with. That I thought was reasonable with what was around me,” said Abigail.

The requirements for entry were 11 minutes or less, including credits, and conforms to the Biblical worldview. The youth must do all primary crew, editing, cinematography, and writing.

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Abigail Reinstedt (left) won Best Picture after writing, directing, filming, acting and editing a film for the 27th Annual Christian Youth Film Festival in Bakersfield. Contributed photo.

Penny Riley (junior at King City High School), playing the lead actress, won Best Actress for the film.

Morgan Hancock (7th grade at Atascadero Middle School) and Lochlan Drinkwine (8th grade at San Antonio School in Lockwood) helped with sound. All four students are members of the True Life Youth Group in Lockwood.

All of “Designing Lies” was filmed in the Lockwood and Bryson-Hesperia region of South Monterey County.

“Designing Lies” wasn’t Abigail’s first experience in filmmaking.

In 2019 Abigail and her older sister Bethany entered their film “Chosen” at the festival. The film won second place as well as Best Application of Scripture, and Abigail won Best Actress.

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Filmmaking started as a family hobby for the Reinstedts. What began as home movies have turned into small films with a big meaning behind them.

Bethany (20) is now finishing her second year at Cuesta College in film and is an intern for the marketing department handling video filming and editing.

Both Bethany and Abigail were homeschooled by their mother, Mary Ann, and belong to the Calvary Christian School homeschool group in Paso Robles.

Abigail’s growing interest in film led her to take a cinematography class through her homeschool.

Abigail has also taken it upon herself to learn how to use a drone for filming. Some of the drone scenes are used in some scenic scenes of “Designing Lies” and were done in one take.

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Abigail using the drone to capture aerial footage. Contributed Photo.

“Thankfully, before the bus came by, we got there a little bit early, and I was able to practice that drone move first, just one time–I just tried to make my movements steady without jerks. Tried to stay calm because you only have one shot on that unless you’re going back another day,” said Abigail.

It took Abigail almost 40 hours of filming plus many more hours of editing and preparations for the 11-minute film.

“It’s a lot of work that goes into it, but it’s all worth it,” said Abigail.

Abigail and her family have made their own equipment and worked with the resources available to them. Recently, Abigail was able to purchase some new equipment using some prize money from a previous film.

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On top of film editing, writing, and directing, Abigail has developed a strong love for acting in films.

While right now, Abigail has a whole world of opportunities at her feet and hasn’t decided which path she will go down, it is safe to say cinema will be in her future one way or another, “If I don’t go into it as a career, then I hope that I still stay with it as a hobby–I hope that I stick with it for a while.”

Most importantly, Abigail says, “My first hope is that any of the films that I direct or act in just be honoring to God. Point people to him and serve a purpose.”

You can watch “Designing Lies,” “Chosen,” and other films done by the Reinstedt family on their YouTube page youtube.com/c/reinstedt4films