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11 Summer Film Programs for High School Students

High school students with a knack for visual storytelling and a keen interest in the world of film should consider taking on a summer film program to learn about the ins and outs of the field and its demands and rewards. A film program will teach you about producing, ideating, understanding, and making a film using the right equipment and technologies. It will further get your creative juices flowing, giving you theoretical insight and practical experience in various elements of filmmaking, be it producing, writing, editing, directing, cinematography, or other technical jobs.

Pursuing a summer film program in high school will build your skills and network and boost your college applications. Admissions committees usually seek proactive students with prior skills and knowledge about the field. Additionally, a film program is a great way to build, diversify, or add to your portfolio.

If this sounds good to you and you want to get started, take a look at our curated list of 11 summer film programs for high school students. Check all elements like cost and aid, location, and program contents and offerings to make an informed choice.

Location: New York University (NYU), New York, NY

Eligibility: High school juniors or sophomores with a minimum 3.0 GPA

Application Deadline: Applications usually close in March.

Dates: July 7, 2024 - August 3, 2024

Cost: $10,711 (includes tuition, housing, meals, and program fees). Need-based scholarships are available.

NYU’s Summer High School Filmmakers Workshop is a 4-week program that provides both professional training and theoretical and technical knowledge involved in the production of cinematic visual storytelling. The program includes classes, workshops, pitches, production/post-production time, off-campus trips, production assignments, and writing/editing homework.

You will get a chance to produce short visual stories (narrative, documentary, and experimental) individually and in groups, giving you the experience of writing, editing, and directing as part of a crew. You will also receive access to digital video cameras and editing software like Adobe Premiere and become adept at using production technology. The program will conclude with a screening of all participants’ 3-5 minute short films. You can take a look at past films here.

This highly selective program accepts only 28 students from around 800 applications.

Application Deadline: Varying deadlines based on cohort. Main summer deadlines are March 15, April 15, and May 15

Duration: Options range from 12 weeks to 1 year.

Location: Remote — you can participate in this program from anywhere in the world!


  • You must be currently enrolled in high school

  • Students must demonstrate a high level of academic achievement. (Note. students have an unweighted GPA of 3.3 out of 4)

  • No previous knowledge of your field of interest is required!

Program Dates: Summer cohort runs from June to August, Fall cohort from September to December, Winter cohort from December to February, Spring from March to June 

The Lumiere Research Scholar Program is a rigorous research program tailored for high school students. The program offers extensive 1-on-1 research opportunities for high school students, across a broad range of subject areas that you can explore as a high schooler. 

The program pairs high-school students with Ph.D. mentors to work 1-on-1 on an independent research project. At the end of the 12-week program, you’ll have developed an independent research paper! You can choose research topics from subjects such as history, art, literature, culture, and more! You can find more details about the application here!

Location: University of California Los Angeles (UCLA), Los Angeles, CA

Eligibility: High school students in 10th to 12th grades

Application Deadline: June 1, 2024

Dates: June 23, 2024 - July 13, 2024

Cost: $5,728, inclusive of tuition and housing (financial aid available)

UCLA’s Film and Television Digital Filmmaking Summer Institute allows students to learn about filmmaking from the land of Hollywood itself. This 3-week program provides an overview of the production process, from planning and conceptualization to production to post-production.

You will learn about the foundations of filmmaking—principles of cinematography, story structure, and editing—through lectures, workshops, guest talks, discussions, film screenings, tours, practical camera exercises, post-production labs, and group projects. Students will work in groups and film projects on location anywhere on campus using cutting-edge digital cameras and editing software and will carry out the entire filmmaking process on their own, with support and mentorship from accomplished faculty and filmmakers.

At the end of the program, you will attend a certificate ceremony where all films will be screened in a theater.

Location: New York Film Academy (NYFA), New York, NY and NYFA, Los Angeles, CA

Eligibility: Students aged 14-17

Application Deadline: Not specified

Dates: June 30, 2024 - August 10, 2024 (6 weeks)

Cost: $7,325

The New York Film Academy’s Summer Camp for Filmmaking is a competitive program aimed at teaching students how to write, direct, edit, and produce short films. You will receive access to professional HDSLR cameras, sound equipment, and professional lighting to establish foundational skills and produce original videos.

Some concepts covered in this summer camp include screenwriting and story structure, editing and managing post-production, and directing. You will then go on to create short films under the guidance of faculty and feedback from peers. You will further learn to incorporate dialogue using sync-sound in these films. At the end of the camp, you will screen your film to peers, faculty, friends, and family while keeping a digital copy of the film for yourself.

Location: NYU and Pace University, New York, NY | Occidental College, Los Angeles, CA | Champlain College, Burlington, VT

Eligibility: Students aged 14-18

Application Deadline: Applications are accepted on a rolling basis.

Dates: June-August (exact dates differ based on course)

Cost: Varies according to course (need-based tuition scholarships available)

The School of Creative and Performing Arts (SOCAPA) organizes annual summer film camps for teens that teach various skills and help establish the foundations of screenwriting or filmmaking. Three summer intensives are offered as part of this program, including the following.

  • Core Filmmaking: This is ideal for those looking for an introductory filmmaking camp. Students will learn how to direct, write, and edit their own films while also receiving and providing photography, sound, and production support on their peers’ films.

  • Advanced Filmmaking: If you have prior experience in filmmaking, you can opt for this camp to take advanced classes and make two longer and more polished films. One-on-one mentorship and meetings with instructors and filmmakers also take place.

  • Screenwriting: Screenwriting camps allow aspiring writers to produce two short or one long screenplay. It is possible to take this course before commencing the filmmaking courses to direct and produce the screenplays you write during this camp.

Location: University of North Carolina School of the Arts (UNCSA), Winston-Salem, NC

Eligibility: U.S. and international high school students who are rising sophomores to graduating seniors

Application Deadline: May 15, 2024

Dates: June 23, 2024 - July 20, 2024

Cost: $4,809 (tuition and housing), with scholarships available

The UNCSA Filmmaking Summer Intensive takes place at Studio Village, the UNCSA’s on-campus movie set. Students selected for this program will learn the foundations of all aspects of filmmaking, including screenwriting, directing, producing, cinematography, and digital editing. Both beginner and advanced-level courses are available depending on your experience level in filmmaking.

Apart from lectures and workshops, you will get a chance to put your knowledge to practice by making your own short narrative films with support and instruction from filmmakers, faculty, student filmmakers, and teaching assistants. You can go through some filmmakers/instructors you will work with here. At the end of the program, you will screen your film at the final screening event.

Location: University of Southern California (USC), Los Angeles, CA

Eligibility: Students from around the world who are at least 16 years old

Application Deadline: April 30, 2024 (April 5 for international students without valid visas)

Dates: June 24, 2024 - August 2, 2024

Cost: $2,244 per unit + $2,100-$2,600 for housing. Internal financial aid is not available.

The USC Cinematic Arts Summer Program is highly competitive with an acceptance rate of around 5%. The program offers intensive classes, workshops, activities, homework assignments, individual and group projects, and co-curricular events. The program also offers special events with industry guests, pre-release screenings, and seminars.

Broad course areas include filmmaking, screenwriting, computer graphics/animation and gaming, and film and television business. Each of these includes course options like digital editing, directing, documentary filmmaking, pitching, horror film production, screenwriting for comedy and drama, animation fundamentals, and career paths in film and television.

You will receive elective credit units for each class that you take. You will receive a final transcript at the end of the program.

Location: Interlochen Center for the Arts, Interlochen, MI

Eligibility: High school students (grades 9-12)

Application Deadline: Not mentioned

Dates: June 23, 2024 - July 13, 2024 (session 1) | July 14, 2024 - August 4, 2024 (session 2)

Cost: $6,765

The Interlochen Filmmaking Summer Program allows high school students to learn about the cinematic storytelling process, including steps like writing screenplays, location production, editing, and directing. You will be able to work with guest artists, professional filmmakers, peers, and student filmmakers throughout the program. You can go through some faculty members here.

This program is structured to include classes, seminars, workshops, location shoots, hands-on lab sessions, technical production and post-production sessions. Some workshops in which you will participate include Production, Post-Production/Editing, Screenwriting, Film History, and Tech Skills. Additional courses in Animation are also available.

At the end of the program, you will showcase your final project during the concluding screening event at the DeRoy Center for Film Studies’ 180-seat 2K HD projection space.

Location: Georgia Film Academy (GFA), Fayetteville, GA

Eligibility: High school students

Application Deadline: Applications are accepted on a rolling basis.

Dates: June 3, 2024 - June 7, 2024 | July 15, 2024 - July 19, 2024 | July 22, 2024 - July 26, 2024

Cost: $675 - $850

During Georgia Film Academy’s Filmmaking Camp, you will learn how to use professional state-of-the-art equipment to produce, write, and edit a short film by collaborating with peers and receiving mentorship from expert filmmakers and faculty. At the end of the program, you will screen your short film at the final showcase.

Three camps are offered throughout June and July this year, each focusing on multiple aspects of the filmmaking process, including screenwriting, introductory filmmaking, post-production, and advanced filmmaking. Each of the three camps includes film screenings, although it is also possible to attend more than one camp for more comprehensive experiences.

Note that limited spots are available for each camp, each of which is highly competitive, so make sure to apply on time!

Location: Sarah Lawrence College, Bronxville, NY

Eligibility: Students at least 14 years of age (residential students must be at least 15 years old)

Application Deadline: To be updated

Dates: To be updated. The dates for 2023 were June 26, 2023 - July 28, 2023.

Cost: To be updated

The Filmmakers’ Collective at Sarah Lawrence College offers classes and training in storytelling, writing, directing, and editing, all using professional and advanced equipment. Other technical aspects like operating cameras, setting up lights, and capturing sound are also taught in this program. Each student involved in the program will use their newly learned skills and knowledge to create a 4-6 minute short film.

You will attend classes and workshops in screenwriting, directing, lighting, editing, working with actors, camera tech, and producing while simultaneously working on your projects. The final week will include making finishing touches and filling in gaps, culminating in a final premiere night where you will screen your film.

Many activities, network-building opportunities, and social events are also included in this program.

Location: University of San Francisco, San Francisco, CA

Eligibility: Teens aged 14-18

Application Deadline: Applications are accepted on a rolling basis.

Dates: July 8, 2024 - July 19, 2024 (starter lab) | July 22, 2024 - August 2, 2024 (advanced lab)

Cost: $1,000 (non-SFFilm members) | $950 (SFFilm members). Apply for a scholarship here.

Through SFFilm’s Youth Filmmakers Camp, you will have a chance to learn about the filmmaking process in depth by going through each stage, such as storyboarding, screenwriting, production, cinematography, sound, lighting, and editing. The program offers lectures, guest talks, hands-on exercises, discussions, and workshops.

You will also create short films and keep shifting roles to experience everything from directing to editing. You will further receive access to professional equipment and software like Adobe Premiere Pro to learn technical skills.

The program is offered at two levels: Starter Lab (for beginner students who want to learn about filmmaking and storytelling) and Advanced Lab (for students who want to improve their existing skills and experience). By the end of the program, students will have their own group short films that they will screen at the final event.

Stephen is one of the founders of Lumiere and a Harvard College graduate. He founded Lumiere as a Ph.D. student at Harvard Business School. Lumiere is a selective research program where students work 1-1 with a research mentor to develop an independent research paper.

Image Source: NYU logo


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