Film & Video

New Summer Film Camp Focuses On Documentary Storytelling

Mason Film & Video Studies Professor Sam Meddis, formerly a deputy managing editor and video team lead at USA TODAY, will direct the new “Making Of A Documentary” summer workshop for teens, where students will produce fact-based films depicting the stories of real places and people around them.

In contrast to our popular Summer Filmmaking Workshops, which tend to explore fictional storytelling and characters, the two-week Documentary workshop, June 18-29, will blend filmmaking, journalism and principles of photography to provide students with an immersive experience which will help them see with new eyes and greater empathy things in the real world that are often unobserved or taken for granted, and to tell that story. Working as filmmaking teams, students will learn how to better collaborate and communicate with their peers, and produce their own short documentary film.


Film and video summer camp


In addition to producing short documentaries, students will also watch, and learn how to interpret, some of the world’s top documentaries. They will study in a collaborative environment designed to help produce a lifelong appreciation of documentary films.

“We live in an increasingly visual society,” explained Mr. Meddis. “This course will help equip students to more fully participate in it by learning the fundamentals of visual storytelling and communication. Students will experience the personal satisfaction that comes from expressing themselves creatively.They will begin to acquire skills that they can apply to a wide range of fields in in their education, future careers and beyond.  Most important, they will realize that filmmaking is great fun!”

In previous roles at USA TODAY, Sam Meddis helped oversee news coverage and operations of, coordinated training programs for print and online editorial staff, and supervised the editorial technology group. He is a founding member both of and USA TODAY the newspaper. At Mason, Mr. Meddis was awarded a GMU Adjunct Teaching Excellence Award in 2018 and  a GMU Teacher of Distinction commendation in 2017 for his work in the Film & Video Studies program.



“My favorite part of the workshop is the final day,” said Mr. Meddis, who produced the video above, “when students’ films are presented in the class for family and friends, and we all get to applaud their fine work.”

Although not required as a prerequisite, students who have previously taken our Filmmaking Workshops are highly encouraged to attend. Spaces are limited for this program – sign up now!