August 2021 Film Production Program Ages 14-18

Following the success of our Spring 2021 filmmaking course…..

In-Person / Hands-On / Studio

August 9th-19th with a final screening Saturday August 21st

4.30-7.30pm weekdays and one full weekend production day


Cost: DCIFF and wonderful supporters have subsidized this program for all participants. 18 places @$220 each


Join our two-week summer program to learn how convincing documentary films are made and get to produce your own mini-doc. You will be part of a group of young filmmakers whose films will be premiered at a DCIFF public event at the end of the course. What’s more, the top-voted film produced in this program will be screened in competition at the 2022 DCIFF High Film Festival. 

What You Will Learn: By the end of the program you will have learned the technical basics of camera operation, framing, lighting, sound recording, and the interview. You will have also have had a crash course in documentary storytelling.

Your Final Film: You and  your crew members will produce a short 5 minute documentary with that tells a great story on a topic that you chose, script and film. Some possible ideas are: What do you do for a living? / Social Justice / Urban Wildlife / It Happened Here / Friends


Spencer Bruttig is an Emmy Award winning documentary film producer and cinematographer based in Washington, D.C. He has produced films on the lost Maya of Belize, a soccer academy for at risk girls in Africa and on the re-introduction of frogs in Yosemite. In 2012, he went through a documentary film production summer intensive, which he credits for inspiring his career passion and knowledge and is very happy to be a part of this program helping to inspire the next generation of filmmakers.

Daniel Erichsen-Teal has lived in Washington, DC since 2015. He taught middle-school and high-school courses in literature, creative writing, and film for 5 years in the cities of Beijing, Houston, and Washington, D.C. In the past couple of years he has shifted into fundraising in the nonprofit sector, grant writing for arts and human services organizations. He volunteered during DCIFF’s 2018 festival and has stayed in touch with DCIFF ever since! 

Dasha Pavlova is a proud professional social researcher who recently moved to Washington, D.C from Kyiv, Ukraine. For the past 10 years, she has been conducting interviews in various contexts and settings including documentary methods and ethics. She is happy to share her knowledge and experience with students in the program.



How to Register: 

  1. Send information about yourself in our application form  HERE  by July 1st, July 15th and July 29th.  Our application is designed to make sure this is the right program for you. We will review applications on July 3rd, July 17th and July 31st and get in touch with you then. 
  2. Once your application has been green-lighted we ask you to register for the program by paying the $220 fee by August 2nd to assure your place (18 places).  The fee is 80% refundable up until August 6th, 2021, but not refundable after that.  Payment via Stripe or check or Paypal.
  3. Once we know you are going to join us we will and reach out to let you know how and what to prepare for the first meeting; get you to sign all necessary forms.


Will I be making my own film? Yes, you will collaborate with one or two other participants to produce your own short documentary film on one of several optional topics.  (Alternatively, you can discuss with the instructors if you are interested in creating your film around a different topic). 

Can you accommodate people with special needs? We will not have a dedicated person on staff for this, however we  are happy to work with students and families to accommodate different learning needs.  Feel free to get in touch if you want to talk about this.

Do I need to have equipment? No, we will provide equipment which will be shared. 

Can I bring a friend for my team? Of course!

Do I need to know anything about filmmaking and production? No, we are here to teach and support you on your filmmaking journey with a very knowledgeable team.  We will briefly cover the process of post-production, but we will not be able to provide editing computers. If you know how to edit, you  can edit your group’s film, but instructors will help edit the films for those with no experience.

Are there any other costs?  The only cost is the $220 program fee per participant. Participants provide their own transportation and snacks. 

Where will this happen? Miracle Theatre, Washington D.C.

If you have any questions, please get in touch via email: (Dasha Pavlova – Program Director)

Register HERE