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CIF Success: Riley Beres

June 03, 2015

CIF Enhanced Member: Riley Beres

Riley Beres first hit the Children In Film scene around 2011 when she joined the CIF Odyssey of the Mind team. Her team went on to advance to the State Finals. Soon after, she and fellow teammate and CIF member, Jimmy Deshler directed and produced an award-winning documentary (A Hope for Their Own: An LA Story) which was an official selection of the Santa Monica Teen Film Festival, 2014.  It was also the winner of "Audience Choice" at Santa Monica Teen Film Festival, 2014.

From there it seemed that Riley’s career really skyrocketed.  Her skill set includes acting, singing, dancing, stand-up and sports (volleyball, synchronized swimming and soccer). Riley has on-camera, modeling/photo shoot, runway, theater and stand-up comedy experience as well. Plus, she recently wrote, directed and edited her own short film, Sweet Chokin', and a web series called Susie-Susie.  And to really put icing on the cake, she runs the non-profit (501c3), Socks for Souls, Inc.

Socks for Souls is being developed to raise and provide socks and undergarments to the homeless population of Los Angeles. 

Here’s what Riley had to say about her work within the LA community:

“One day, my friend Jimmy and I delivered cans to a shelter and I met a man who said to me, “I am homeless here in North Hollywood and I am hoping things will change in my life.”  It was so sincere and gentle. I realized that man is part of someone’s family. Growing up, I was never able to meet or know my mom’s father.  I had only heard stories about him. He fell under hard times and eventually became homeless. After 22 years, my mom was reunited with her father, my grandfather, and we enjoyed 5-precious years before he passed. He had, through the help of resources, re-established his life, but lost touch with her because she had moved. So many people believe that homelessness is defined by individuals sitting on street corners due to drugs or alcohol and, yes, there is that part of the population that we see, but there are so many unseen individuals and families. There is also the issue of how mental illness, loneliness and depression can eventually lead to self-medication. My age group to 25, in particular, are a growing population, as well as families (our future generation). No one says, “When I grow up, I want to be homeless.” Not everyone has given up on society; life events happen, lack of support happens, illness happens and there are many that are just one paycheck away from being homeless.  Just like the saying,” It takes a village to raise a child.”  It takes a community pulling together to make a difference in the lives of others; to create change. I believe HomeWalkLA can create resources of hope, like my mom’s father experienced and the man I met at the shelter experienced, that resources create new beginnings and reconnect families — a gift without a price tag.”  (United Way)

Inspired by her work with Socks for Souls, Riley produced another documentary.

 “It was so surreal to see my film, A Sockumentary, screen at the White House, knowing the film would be reaching such a large audience and hopefully inspiring more people to get involved in my cause - ending homelessness. It was inspiring to meet other teens who are also using film to make a difference in this world! And of course, shaking the President's hand is a humbling moment I will never forget. You can see the 15 selected films here: https://www.whitehouse.gov/filmfestival.   While I continue my work with my non-profit, Socks For Souls, I am also submitting my new film Double Turnover (a film noir) to film festivals, as well as beginning to write a new screenplay, making decisions about college, and tackling prom dress shopping! As an actress, I realize how the industry is changing, and it is important to change with it; it’s becoming more compulsory to self-produce and be a social-media genius. I’m continuing to take acting classes and continuing to improve and learn, because no matter how many things I am trying to balance in my life, acting is always my priority. The entertainment business is crazy, but I love every aspect of it.”

Riley is a true example of CIF’s desire to see its members giving back. Not only is she able to utilize her talents within the industry, but moreover she’s using them for the greater good. High fives Riley. You’ve made us proud.