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Student Spotlight: Youth Documentary Academy
A selection of short films produced by the Youth Documentary Academy.  
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Student Spotlight: Youth Documentary Academy

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Running Time
60 minutes

Student Spotlight: Youth Documentary Academy

A selection of short films produced by the Youth Documentary Academy.

SURVIVING by Tea Santos

After enduring invasive heart and brain surgeries as a child, Director Tea Santos found herself plunging into depression as an adolescent.  SURVIVING is an unvarnished account of her rocky road to recovery while navigating the dark contours of a psychiatric hospital and demons that tested her own will to live. (14:00)

LABELED directed by Hadassah Nix 

LABELED challenges religious stereotypes by introducing its audience to unexpected Christian tattoo artists, hip hop dancers and one very unlikely pastor. (11:30)


FINDING HOME directed by Yolande Morrison

Having left the island of Jamaica to reunite with her grandmother in Colorado Springs, filmmaker Yolande Morrison and her family recount the experience of leaving one’s homeland and beginning new lives. While paying homage to her mother and grandmother, Morrison’s own personal narrative reveals the challenge of maintaining one’s own culture while constantly assimilating to a new one.  (14:00)


FOR BETTER OR FOR WORSE directed Angel Baeza

Director Angel Baeza shines light on his own mother who raised four kids with little help from their father.  This tender and intimate account of a mother’s fierce love for her children reminds its audience what makes a family. (10:00)


LOVE ME directed by Josh Sun 

Filmmaker Josh Sun explores the cultural differences – and tensions – between his parents’ Chinese upbringing and the American culture in which he grew up. This poignant first-person account reveals not only the pressures that first-generation immigrant parents place on their kids, but also the filmmaker’s personal journey toward self-love. (11:30)


Filmmakers will be present to answer questions from the audience and discuss their films.

Filmmaker Notes:

The Youth Documentary Academy was formed in 2013 to train youth from under-represented backgrounds how to make professional-quality documentary films.  Filmmakers apply and are interviewed for one of 12 highly coveted spots in our 7-week, fully-underwritten, summer program, housed at the Colorado Springs Fine Art Center’s Bemis School of Art.  Through intensive mentorship, YDA enables youth from our community to find a voice and share intimate stories, values and ideas from their own lived experiences.

Our students make films about a range of issues including race and racial stereotyping, PTSD and traumatic brain injury, gender and self-image, LGBT issues, adoption, mental and physical health, immigration, and the environment.  

What is most important about these topics is that these topics are what is most important to our youth, and in turn a pulse of what is most important to our families, and our larger community.  When complete, YDA teaches our youth how to use their films in the community to spark dialogue and connect meaningfully to the world around them.

Film details
Year(s) screened
  • 2017
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