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Youth Documentary Academy


YDA provides tuition­-free training and mentorship by professional artists in the field. By doing so, it levels the playing field among elite arts and film training academies that primarily serve advantaged families in coastal cities. Following production, graduates work extensively with YDA staff to distribute their work and develop public engagement campaigns that address the social issues their films illuminate.


YDA students not only gain technical and professional skills for a career in film, television or media, but also a deep understanding of how to transpose a story idea into a documentary film. Film allows them 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.


In 2021, YDA partnered with School District 11 to host the first ever Youth Media Matters Film Festival. We need financial support and volunteers to replicate this effort in the fall of 2022.

Did You Know

Research shows that youth from under-served backgrounds, who can articulate clear narratives about their community, show increased resiliency and college readiness.

“The Youth Documentary Academy is an extraordinary model that honors the innate wisdom and experience of young people. The stories move and inspire and we are proud to showcase them on Rocky Mt. PBS.” — Kate Perdoni, Rocky Mountain PBS

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