Joel Thompson

JOEL THOMPSON,   Joy Kids Teacher

Joel Thompson will be in his senior year at Rice University this coming year where he is pursuing an undergraduate major in Policy Studies and History while taking graduate-level courses for a Masters of Arts in Teaching (MAT).

Joel’s passion for teaching started from teaching and mentoring kids. He was a Boy Scout for 7 years, achieving the Eagle Scout rank in 2013. He got his Movie-making merit badge, and is thrilled to be teaching movie-making now at Joy Kids!

Joel got his first taste for theater and music while participating in drama club and acting, producing and directing in numerous one-act plays in high school.  Joel can sing! You will often hear him whistling a tune or singing at the studio. He loved to perform and sing as a youngster.

Joel LOVES summer camps and has a ton of experience! He has worked as an intern for the Houston chapter of Writers in the Schools (WITS), a national nonprofit organization that teachers K-12 students creative writing and literacy. From 2012-2014 he was a camp counselor at educational camps at the Seattle Audobon Society’s summer nature camps, and two years at the University of Washington summer day camp.

Hannah Rose Friend

HANNAH ROSE FRIEND, Assistant Teacher

Hannah is passionate about all things performing! She has been pursuing acting and dance since she was 7 years old, and signed with Page Parkes Agency when she was age 15. She has been with Joy Kids for five years, and continues to teach camps and coach acting.

 She graduated from Lamar High School with the International Baccalaureate Honors Certificate, and currently attends the University of Texas at Austin. There she majors in Corporate Communications, is on her executive board of her sorority, and participates in many clubs in activities, including the Theatre and Dance program.

 Hannah enjoys action movies, boating in Lake Austin, and cooking. She is so thrilled to be back at Joy Kids for the summer!!


Mandy Wilburn-Rubio

Mandy Wilburn-Rubio,  Acting Coach

Mandy attended the New York Conservatory for Film and Television, and the Susan Slavin Academy for Actors and Singers in New York. Mandy found her passion in acting at a young age and began taking private acting classes in the 5th grade. She went on to be represented by the Michael Turner Agency in Louisiana and was invited to participate in AMTC in Florida. AMTC (Actors, Models and Talent for Christ: non-profit Christian ministry that began as a talent development company over 30 years ago by Super Model Millie Lewis). AMTC awarded her a summer scholarship to the School of Film and Television in New York. Since then, she has continued her acting pursuits and has appeared in independent films, television, commercials and web-series. Mandy toured around Houston performing with Heroes Hip Hip Hooray and in elementary schools. She is currently providing their learning content online for children.

                                                         Autumn Kiskinis

 Autumn Kiskinis, Assistant Teacher

Autumn began singing and dancing at St. Basil’s Greek Orthodox Church when she was 6 years old and has been performing ever since! She attended HSPVA, High School for the Performing and Visual Arts in Houston, Texas where she trained in the vocal department.

When Autumn is not singing she is dancing! Autumn dances through out Houston as an improvisational dancer. She has been studying under Maureen “Momo” Freehill, recognized internationally for her form of dance.

Autumn is currently working on her first album and you might just catch her performing out and about in Houston!

Ben Pennington

Ben Pennington, Editor and Writer

Ben has been in love with film making since he was a young child and picked up a camera and started making movies. Ben, along with his brother, own a small Houston based media production company called Odd Film. Their clients include anything from small businesses to corporations.  Ben has also produced and directed numerous short films. He is currently working on a documentary about off shore sailing on his 1968 boat that he rebuilt.When Ben heard about kids making movies at the Joy Kids Studio, he was ready to jump on board.  He says, "These kids are the same age I was when I started, so the fact that they have all of this technology at their disposal, and editors to put their movies together is absolutely amazing. I love the idea behind Joy Kids and I'm extremely grateful to be a part of it."

Caroline Friend

Caroline Friend, Editor

Caroline has been making movies since she was 7 years old when she picked up the family camcorder. She has now screened her work at festivals and competitions across the country, including a nationally recognized contest in Washington D.C. She recently directed “Trenches," a short movie about a World War I soldier returning home. Caroline has been working with Joy Kids for over three years and loves editing all the creative stories the kids come up with. She helped tocreate and Direct Dare to Explore, a short film with NASA and Robonaut. Caroline graduated from Kinkaid and currently she is studying Film and Television Production at the University of Southern California.