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Doc U

The power of the documentary film is its ability to shine a spotlight on issues, stories, and perspectives that would otherwise go unheard and thus unnoticed. It is this unique power that enables documentaries to broaden horizons.

Applications closed.

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The Program:
Participants will be guided through the creative process, learning all aspects of documentary filmmaking. This includes training in video camera techniques; the use of sound and lighting equipment; and video editing using Adobe Premiere CC. Due to COVID-19, this year's dates may shift and the program will likely look very different from previous years to ensure a safer experience for all. We may not be able to guarantee that each individual will get to work on their own project, but as a cohort, we will still get hands-on video production experience.

Requirements to Participate -- You must: 

  • have a compelling idea for a short documentary
  • welcome mentorship from SPNN staff and visiting artists 
  • be able to meet all program dates
  • be 18+ years of age
  • have enough time in your daily life to produce a short documentary (about 5-10 hours of work a week)
  • meet one of the following criteria:
    • be low-income or working class. Low-income is 200% of the poverty level. Check here if you meet the low-income guidelines. If you qualify for any government program; food programs including SNAP and free or reduced school lunches, housing assistance, disability, medicade, etc you automatically qualify for Doc U.  
    • be a member of an underrepresented community in media (POCI, LGBTQ, Disabled, Women, etc.)

Program Dates:
Applications will open March 25th and will be due May 22nd.

This year's program will run on Monday evenings from 6pm to 9pm starting July 6th through October 19th. The screening is tentatively scheduled for Saturday, October 17th. Dates are subject to change depending on the shifting situation of COVID-19.


Applications closed.

Embarking on learning a new skill is courageous. Doing it in 16 weeks requires dedication. It is worth the effort when important stories are told.

Past participants experience:
Doc U participants have greatly benefited from their participation in the program, leaving with a greater sense of confidence, new skills and knowledge, and an increased appreciation for media arts. Participants say they feel empowered to take their knowledge and use it in their communities to bring voice to those whose stories might not otherwise be heard. They benefited from the learning environments offered by Doc U and increased their ability to tackle demanding projects and bring them to successful completion. One 2013 participant summed up her experience this way, "I feel the principals of Doc U and SPNN provide the footing people require to exercise their personal dreams under the auspices of a caring, professional and mentor based environment."