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Documentary Film

Cost: $4,450
Age: Rising 9th graders and older
Dates: July 2-22, 2017
Spots available: 16

This three-week introduction to documentary filmmaking offers high-school students an opportunity to learn how to use the medium of video to express their viewpoints and tell compelling stories. The course provides intensive, hands-on training with production equipment, editing software, professional and consumer-grade cameras, lighting, and sound equipment. Guest speakers who work in the industry visit classes to discuss their craft. All students are expected to participate in film screenings and class discussions, as well as produce one documentary short film/video essay by the end of the program. The first week focuses on the history of film, with readings, screenings of iconic movies and videos, and a primer on the basics of production. In the second and third weeks, students engage in the hands-on production of their own documentaries. Discussions and screenings focus on the technical aspects (i.e., lighting, sound, and editing); the moral and ethical dimensions of making a documentary (i.e., the relationship of interview subject, producer, and audience); social and societal issues; and the basics of distribution, promotion, and fundraising.


Peter B. Kaufman

Documentary Film Program Director

Peter B. Kaufman is a teacher, filmmaker, writer, and the founder and executive producer of at Intelligent Television. As associate director of Columbia University’s Center for Teaching and Learning he produced online courses and video initiatives with Columbia University faculty members on topics including the American Civil War, the history of film, women and the labor movement, art in Harlem, and investigative reporting. His most recent film is Russia’s Open Book: Writing in the Age of Putin, hosted by actor and author Stephen Fry. Educated at Cornell and Columbia, he is the co-author of Video on Wikipedia and the Open Web: A Guide for Cultural and Educational Institutions for the Ford Foundation, The Columbia Manual of Video Style, forthcoming from Columbia University Press, and The New Enlightenment: The Promise of Film and Sound in the Digital Age for Seven Stories Press. A native New Yorker and Lakeville resident, he reads Russian literature—often for fun.