Youth Documentary Academy


YDA teaches youth the skills of documentary filmmaking and the art of storytelling. By sharing their lived experience they find confidence in their voice, talent, and future. Topics include suicide/mental health, PTSD, race, self-image, immigration, LGBTQ, among others. Each film starts with one filmmaker, but changes the lives of many as we engage new audiences through community screenings and a new television series.


Film allows our youth to share their lived experience in a way that empowers and inspires both the filmmaker and the audience, creating advocates around a cause, and allowing our youth to become engaged citizens in our community. The skills learned in our classroom are life-long and open doors into higher education and various career paths.


YDA is offered at no charge and needs support for scholarships. Critical to a top-tier media arts program, is funding for professional camera equipment, submission fees and travel for film festivals.

Did You Know.

YDA’s founded on the philosophy that when youth are encouraged and given tools to share their story, they show increased resiliency, changing their life’s trajectory..

“From suicide prevention to PTSD… gender identity, and race relations, these are all issues that are in our national conversation … I want to applaud the young filmmakers for tackling them head-on in such a deeply personal and courageous way.” — Rep. Diana DeGette, U.S. Congress

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