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New York Film Academy Documentary

Documentary Filmmaking School at the New York Film Academy

NYFA Documentary Graduates premiere at prestigious DOC NYC Film Festival NYFA Graduate Muhammah Hamdy's The Square Nominated for the Oscars NYFA documentary students outdoor scene documentary school students on set at a building site NYFA documentary students shooting a scene documentary school students soccer pitch

Documentary programs include an exotic one-week trip Documentary programs include an exotic one-week trip


Documentaries have never been hotter or more commercially promising—whether you are looking for a career or are out to change the world.

Documentary film has become the field where, as the New York Times put it, "all the cool kids are." From VICE and HBO, to independent docs, viral videos, doc-style TV series, and now virtual reality, documentary filmmakers have more venues and more stylistic opportunities than ever before. With this explosion of increased interest in the world of documentary filmmaking, more and more aspiring documentary filmmakers are looking to find the documentary filmmaking program that will best prepare them for this ever-expanding field.

Review Of The Documentary Filmmaking Program

The New York Film Academy’s Documentary Filmmaking School strives to instill students with the artistic and professional skills they need to become documentary filmmakers. Grads from the Academy’s Documentary Filmmaking School enter this fast-breaking industry prepared to excel; they are equipped with skills and knowledge that make them stand out from the crowd. Past students have earned an Emmy Award, Academy Award nomination, honors at Sundance and numerous other major festivals, as well as positions with Morgan Spurlock, Robert Redford, VICE, Rolling Stone, HBO, October Films, Alex Gibney, and many others.

For the past eight years, the Academy has been ranked as a top documentary filmmaking school, holding a coveted spot on The Independent Magazine’s list of the Top 10 Academic Programs for Documentary Filmmakers. The school has kept this ranking through its focus on preparing students for careers as documentary filmmakers, which is often demanding as it is rewarding. Instead of focusing only on theory, the New York Film Academy’s documentary program aims to groom students for the practical challenges, opportunities, and realities that arise when creating documentary films.

Throughout their time at the New York Film Academy’s Documentary Filmmaking School, students will work on a variety of different films, learning the myriad skills that go into creating a successful documentary. Upon graduating, students leave with a toolbox of skills and know-how that will help them to get a head start on their careers.

Documentary Courses

Depending on the documentary filmmaking program or workshop in which a student enrolls in, he or she can expect to take documentary courses covering such subjects as:

Sound Cinematography and Lighting Producing and Directing the Documentary
Editing New Media/Self-Distribution Writing/Non-Fiction Storytelling
Producing Documentary Craft Documentary Traditions and Aesthetics
Production Sound Post-Production Sound Graphics, Special Effects and Color Correction


Documentary programs at the New York Film Academy are held at different points throughout the year. Click here to view the start dates and tuition rates for our documentary classes.


If you would like to continue your documentary education and earn a degree in documentary filmmaking, you are able to apply your Conservatory coursework toward credit in the New York Film Academy's Los Angeles campus documentary degree program.


The Documentary Filmmaking School at the New York Film Academy offers a year-long Documentary Conservatory program that extensively trains students in the craft of documentary filmmaking.


Students have the option to take the Documentary School's intensive Six-Week Documentary Filmmaking Workshop where they’ll be introduced to documentary filmmaking in hands-on exercises and create their own original documentary film projects.

Documentary Faculty

The New York Film Academy boasts a distinguished and varied documentary faculty comprised of professional documentary filmmakers who mentor students through the school's challenging curriculum, helping to establish NYFA amongst other top documentary schools. With each member coming from a unique and prestigious background, students work with a well-rounded faculty that includes:
NYFA documentary school chair Andrea Swift Andrea Swift: With over twenty years of documentary film experience, Swift served as Executive Producer and Director of PBS’ Emmy Award nominated documentary-magazine series In the Life. Her films have been screened at the United Nations Earth Summit and honored by festivals around the world, including Berlin and Sundance’s Environmental Film Festival. She has also created content for AMC, History, WE, the NY Knicks, Madison Square Garden, and Clearview Cinemas. Currently, Swift focuses on story producing, writing, and creative producing on a variety of documentary projects including The Crossing Borders Project, a feature program of National Geographic’s Education wing.

NYFA documentary school LA chair Barbara Multer-Wellin Barbara Multer-Wellin: Multer-Wellin has written and produced hundreds of hours of non-fiction television programming and web content. Multer-Wellin's work has appeared on HBO, PBS, Showtime, TLC, Lifetime, The Discovery Channel, UPN, TBS, and many more. She produced two films for the PBS documentary series Independent Lens; Taking the Heat: The First Women Firefighters of New York City and Paul Conrad: Drawing Fire. She won a 2013 LA Area Emmy for the television and web series Your Turn to Care.

Documentary School faculty member James Lecesne James Lecesne: James Lecesne wrote the Academy Award-winning short film, “Trevor.” His experience ranges from producing the award-winning feature documentary, After The Storm, to writing for Will & Grace, and Showtime’s Further Tales of the City, and story consulting on dozens of documentary and fiction films and programs including the BBC series Vicious with Ian McKellen. He’s even been ranked by the New York Times as "among of the most talented solo performers of his (or any) generation,” having starred on and off Broadway and in film and TV, and winning numerous awards including the Drama Desk Award and Outer Critics Circle Awards.

Documentary Alumni

The Documentary Filmmaking School at the New York Film Academy has graduated numerous alumni that have gone to find success in documentary filmmaking. Learn more here.

Career Opportunities

As documentary films have grown in popularity, there are more career paths than ever available to the aspiring documentary filmmaker. Our alumni have gone on to serve in many of the following positions and to thrive in companies such as those below—one of the many reasons we are recognized as one of the best documentary schools around.

Director Writer Assistant Director
Cinematographer Producer Programmer
Series Creator Grant Writer Audio Mixer
Showrunner Executive Producer Sound Design

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Contact Us

To learn about the New York Film Academy's Documentary School, please call our offices at +1 (212) 674-4300 or click the following links.

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*The documentary exploration is planned and supervised by NYFA faculty and staff. Please note, participants pay for the costs of their transportation, accommodation, and food. The trip is scheduled during a school vacation or semester break. It is offered as an optional experience, students are not required to participate.
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