Film Institute

Lights. Camera. Action. What’s the story you want to tell?

Do you have an interest in filmmaking? Are you passionate about storytelling? Do you love shooting vlogs and dream about creating the next great movie, documentary, or television series? If so, then the Film Institute is for you. The Film Institute is a week-long program designed for high school students to gain an understanding of visual storytelling and the fundamentals of video production. Students will learn about various film forms, visit local museums and businesses to see how professional fiction and non-fiction storytelling is utilized, and create two short films by the end of the week.

At a Glance


Dates: Summer 2021 dates will be announced on November 1, 2020

Who Can Apply?: 9th – 12th grade students

Program Length: Sunday – Friday

Program Tuition: $2,500

Location: Winston-Salem, NC – Wake Forest University Campus

Day or Overnight Program: Overnight

*Courses carry no secondary school or college credit. Upon completion of the program, an official Wake Forest University certificate of achievement will be awarded to all Film Institute participants.

What You’ll Experience

Topics Covered:

  • Fundamentals of Filmmaking
  • Storyboarding and Screenwriting
  • How to Interview for Documentaries
  • Video Editing
  • Film Festivals

Hands-On Experiences:

  • Work to Create Two Short Films
  • Watch and Analyze Different Styles of Filmmaking
  • Engage in Discussion with Local Film Professionals
  • Hear about Trends and See Behind the Scenes
  • Visit Local Studios

*Hands-on experiences are subject to change.

Film Institute Cost

Winston-Salem (Overnight) | $2,500

Students participating in the film institute
Filmmaking BTS 5
Students Preparing to film on the quad at WFU

A Day in the Life

  • 8:00 am – Morning Meeting and Breakfast
  • 9:00 am – Welcome and Program Introduction
  • 9:30 am – Special Guest Lecture: Screenwriting
  • 10:00 am – Technical Skills: Fundamentals of Using Adobe Premiere for Film Editing
  • 12:00 pm – Lunch and Learn: Watch a Documentary Film
  • 1:00 pm – Field Trip: Civil Rights Museum – How Documentary Film is Utilized in a Museum Setting
  • 4:30 pm – Debrief for the Next Day
  • 5:30 pm – Dinner
  • 6:30 pm – Evening Activities
  • 7:30 pm – Free Time
  • 9:00 pm – Prepare for Bed
  • 10:00 pm – Lights Out

*The “A Day in the Life” sample schedule is subject to change.

Meet Your Academic Leader

Thom Southerland

Academic Leader, Film Institute

Thomas Southerland is a graduate of the American Film Institute and a Visiting Assistant Professor at Wake Forest University where he teaches Screenwriting, Introduction to Film, and Media Production classes. He’s written and directed two award-winning narrative features, Proud Citizen and Fort Maria, several feature documentaries, and numerous short documentaries. His work has screened at film festivals nationwide. He’s currently working on his third narrative feature.