High School Documentary Filmmaking Summer Program

During the three-week documentary filmmaking program, students explore the craft of non-fiction visual storytelling. Students receive hands-on experience in run-and-gun camera work, lighting, video editing, research skills, writing and interview technique.

Program length: 3 weeks
Program dates:
July 13, 2014 to August 4, 2014
Tuition: $5,005
Age range: Grades 9-12

This summer 2014 program is under way. We would love to have you join us next summer! Sign up here to receive information about summer 2015 programs.

Students have classes and get hands-on experience in:

  • run-and-gun camera work
  • video editing
  • researching your subject
  • effective interview technique
  • grabbing an audience
  • lighting

During the last week of the program, students will also have the unique opportunity to put their new skills to work at the Traverse City Film Festival where they will capture and tell the story of one of the invited filmmakers at the week-long celebration of cinema. Following what promises to be a flurry of editing, the students will screen part of their work at the festival for an audience of filmmakers and movie buffs. Over the past eight years, 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.

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

The Motion Picture Arts department is centrally located on Interlochen's campus in the DeRoy Center for Film Studies, the only facility in the country dedicated solely to young filmmakers. View 360-degree virtual tour

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

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 motion picture arts department include: Janet Leahy, an Emmy Award-winning writer and producer who is now the 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.

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 motion picture arts major for grades 9-12, as well as a post-graduate year.


Andrea Claire Maio

Instructor of Documentary Film, Interlochen Arts Camp

Producer, Apiary LLC


Photo Galleries

  • Interlochen Center for the Arts' photo
  • Interlochen Center for the Arts' photo
  • Interlochen Center for the Arts' photo
  • Interlochen Center for the Arts' photo
  • Interlochen Center for the Arts' photo