The Institute for Documentary Filmmaking

The annual January through June Institute for Documentary Filmmaking is the central educational offering of The Documentary Center and is both a theoretical and hands-on exploration of the documentary form.  The six-month program leads to a Graduate Certificate in Documentary Filmmaking.

Participants in the Institute come from around the world, and admission is competitive and by application only.

Individuals in the Institute come from such diverse backgrounds as broadcasting, law, psychology, literature, science, anthropology, museum studies, and education. Many participants have no background at all that would necessarily lead to careers in filmmaking. Some participants have extensive experience in the filmmaking or media-related fields.

What all participants share, however, is a commitment to creating non-fiction stories and developing their expression in a visual form.  Moreover, each member of the Institute must have a demonstrated ability to work collaboratively, as this course – as well as all filmmaking – is a highly interactive, interpersonal experience.

THE INSTITUTE EXPERIENCE

The Institute is divided into two parts.

The first portion of the Institute runs from January through the end of April and deals with the conceptual issues in filmmaking as well as technical workshops.

The second part of the program is the group production of a documentary film and occurs in May and June.

The students at the Institute work as a group to develop and produce a short documentary film as the capstone project for the program. [this was moved up]

We offer a total of nine graduate credits for this program.  Participants who successfully complete the full program with a grade of "B"average or higher will earn the Certificate in Documentary Filmmaking.

Interested? Find out more details.

 

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Check out our Institute for Documentary Filmmaking informational webinar!

Thinking of applying to the Institute for Documentary Filmmaking? Visit our application process page to find out more.

Student Testimonial

"The Documentary Institute changed my idea of storytelling. The heart of the program is learning how to form a compelling story, which was an important foundation as we went through the stages of learning to be filmmakers. For students who are looking for an intensive, accelerated overview of documentary filmmaking, this program is very helpful. Students come away with a basic understanding of everything needed to start making documentaries."

— Caitlin Carroll, Class of 2011

Washington's Best Film Award

Presentation (by Ted Leonsis & Mayor Vincent Grey) to "Released to Life" - A film by the 2011 Institute for Documentary Filmmaking