In 2013 documentary filmmaker Tom Shepard returned home to ColoradoSprings and founded the Youth Documentary Academy (YDA) at the Fine Art Center’s Bemis School of Art. The program provides a small class of local teenagers with the knowledge, skill, and equipment required to create documentary films. Shepard also brought in Coloradan filmmakers Suzan Beraza and Aaron Burns to help teach students about film techniques and equipment.
When their training is completed, the YDA students have been free to tell the non-fiction story of their choosing. The students were encouraged to pick a topic important to them and to tell the story in a personal way. The various topics of their films include the local music scene, self-expression through street art, time spent at the bug museum, the effects of PTSD on family life, the experiences of a transgender person, and violence against/self-defense of women.
The world premiere of the completed, student-made documentaries is Wednesday, Nov. 5 at 7pm in the main theater of the Colorado Springs Fine Arts Center. Take a look at the trailer below.