Young Filmmakers Academy

The Virginia Film Festival's Young Filmmakers Academy is a collaboration with Light House Studio and local schools.

YFA is part of the VFF's Outreach & Education Program. Enrollment in YFA is free and open to Charlottesville and Albemarle elementary and middle schools.

The 2017 Young Filmmakers Academy is supported by the YMCA.

What is YFA?

Designed to engage youth in authentic film production, Young Filmmakers Academy (YFA) introduces students to the challenges of filmmaking. Students work in teams to write, produce, and edit short films around a common structure. After the writing, directing, filming, and editing are complete, the VFF honors our Young Filmmakers with a red carpet premiere of their films.

Under the guidance of Light House Studio mentors, YFA participants learn about filmmaking through classroom-based workshops. The Light House Studio team develops curriculum, works with teachers to schedule school visits, and leads lecture on different aspects of filmmaking, giving students the opportunity to learn from the experts at the only youth filmmaking studio in Virginia.

Interested in Participating?

Review the 2017 Young Filmmakers Academy Guidelines and calendar. Enroll your students by completing the online registration form.

Reservations are accepted on a first-come, first-served basis. YFA can accommodate up to 600 students in fall 2017. Due to low enrollment, future spring sessions of YFA have been put on hold.

2017 YFA CHALLENGE: Creating Peace

Every day we encounter different forms of conflict. People don’t always agree but at the end of the day we work to understand each other, find peaceful solutions, and make changes that leave the world better than we found it. Collaborate with your classmates to create a short film about how overcoming and resolving a conflict creates a positive change.


  • Think about the people involved in the dispute and how they resolved their differences. This could be people you know, historical figures, characters from a favorite book, or original creations.
  • Consider how to present your story: chronological order, through a narrator, and/or flashbacks?
  • Structure your film so the audience understands who the characters are and what the story is about.
  • Get creative with sets, costumes, sound, and/or special effects to enhance your film.
  • Incorporate an object associated with peace (e.g., peace sign, dove, olive branch, etc.).


  • Work together to share ideas, film your story, and make edits.
  • All films must be original works created by your team.
  • Maximum running time for your film is 2 minutes including credits– no exceptions, not even a split screen second.

“Creating Peace” handout