High School Documentary Filmmaking Summer Program

This program is designed to help aspiring filmmakers explore the craft of non-fiction visual storytelling. Guided by a faculty of professional filmmakers, you will receive instruction and hands-on training to help you realize your vision and voice as a documentarian.

Program length: 3 weeks
Program dates:
July 19, 2020 to August 9, 2020
Tuition: $6,100
Age range: Students currently in grades 6-9
Currently accepting applications on a rolling admission basis.

Interlochen Arts Camp 2020 is pivoting this summer to Interlochen Online. Learn more about our interactive online summer arts series.

During your three weeks here, you will have classes and get experience in:

  • Run-and-gun camera work
  • Video editing
  • Researching your subject
  • Effective interview technique
  • Grabbing an audience
  • Resourceful lighting

During the third and final week of the program, you will have the opportunity to put your new skills to work at the Traverse City Film Festival (TCFF), where you will help capture and tell the story of one of the filmmakers attending the week-long celebration of cinema. Following what promises to be a flurry of editing, documentary students will screen their work at TCFF, for an audience of filmmakers and movie buffs.

Now in its thirteenth year, the Traverse City Film Festival has grown to become one of the largest film festivals in the midwest, and one of the most respected in the country.


Guest Artists

Guest filmmakers and an ongoing collaboration with the Traverse City Film Festival bring new learning opportunities to students each year. Past guests of the Film and New Media department include: Janet Leahy, an Emmy Award-winning writer and producer, and executive producer of Mad Men; Gordon Radley, former president of George Lucas' Industrial Light & Magic; Vanessa Bayer, cast member of Saturday Night Live; Oscar-winning documentary filmmaker Michael Moore; and many others.

Tools and Resources

The Film and New Media department is centrally located on Interlochen's campus in the 26,000-square-foot DeRoy Center for Film Studies. Its features include four editing suites, a sound stage, a 180-seat 2K HD projection space, and classrooms equipped with cutting-edge technology. View 360-degree virtual tour.

Students may bring their own laptops for practice during their free hours. The program is an all-Apple Macintosh environment using Final Cut Pro for video editing and Final Draft for screenwriting. Your personal cameras and laptops will not be used for daily location production or editing class projects, but your equipment allows for individual practice of skills learned in class.

Portfolio Requirements

PDF file: 1-2 page personal essay detailing your interest in filmmaking and what inspired your application to Interlochen.

AND one of the following:

  • PDF file: one page proposal for an original documentary idea.
  • Image files: 10 photo stills
  • Video file: short film or video

Watch a short video about how to prepare your portfolio

Additional Opportunities

Interlochen also offers the following summer programs, which may be of interest:

Interlochen is home to the Arts Academy boarding high school, which offers a Film and New Media major for grades 9-12, as well as a post-graduate year.



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