Founded in 2013, and housed at the Bemis School of Art, the Youth Documentary Academy (YDA) trains young people how to direct and produce their own documentary films. For seven weeks, students learn all aspects of documentary filmmaking from professional filmmakers, faculty and guest artists. At the end of the program, students complete a film, receive a certificate, and learn how to distribute their films to film festivals, community organizations and television outlets.
YDA offers up to 30 fellowships per year (worth over $3500) in Colorado Springs to support training, equipment and facilities. At the end of seven weeks, YDA graduates learn to make a short documentary film, be exposed to professional filmmakers in the area, make connections with other young filmmakers, and visit local colleges and universities to learn more about careers in documentary filmmaking and storytelling. The program is intensely fun but also very rigorous. YDA seeks the underserved youth of our community, ages 14-18, who are willing to share their stories with each other, who are deeply respectful of others’ differences, and who will work very hard.