The Summer CHA Programs in Filmmaking, Screenwriting, and Photography

students with instructor walking downtown DePaul/CHA Programs Highlight Video

DePaul/CHA Programs Highlight Video   

instructor with student viewing a handheld video camera

NBC Chicago, Making a Difference   

Chaz Ebert greeting students

Chaz Ebert inspires young filmmakers in the SCA/CHA Documentary Filmmaking Program   


Program Details

Program Details

Since 2016, the Chicago Housing Authority (CHA) has partnered with DePaul’s Jarvis College of Computing and Digital Media to offer youth in public housing valuable skills in filmmaking, screenwriting, photography, and game & graphic design. Through the six-week summer intensives, high school-aged students are trained by our award-winning faculty, mentored by our graduate students, visited by industry guest speakers, and taken on a number of experiential field trips to get inspired by our city’s rich arts culture. At the core, the programs are designed to provide new economic pathways for minority youth and to arm them with the tools to become effective visual storytellers. This year’s programs will be taught in-person on DePaul’s Loop Campus from June 17th through July 25th, 2024.

CDM is looking to hire several DePaul students to serve in various roles including a Graduate Assistant Program Administrator and Graduate Student Mentors with skills in one of the following areas: filmmaking, screenwriting, and photography. The pay is $18/hr.

Deadline to apply: Sunday, April 28th OR until positions have been filled.

Role of Student Mentors and Assistant Program Administrator

Each of the CHA youth tracks are designed to be a transformative experience for participants and DePaul student mentors. As a mentor, you’ll spend quality time with youth from across the city learning about their lived experiences while imparting knowledge you’ve acquired through DePaul classes and your own personal development.

The role of the student mentor includes: participating in youth orientation; attending training workshops; being present during all program hours (Mon-Thurs, 9:30 am - 3:30 pm); fostering leadership qualities through team-building and conflict resolution exercises; and building self-esteem and self-agency through the vehicle of socially conscious storytelling in a narrative film, screenwriting, or photography format.

The Student Assistant Program Administrator role will work closely with the program director in overseeing the success of all three programs. Overseeing planning and logistics, they will interact with youth from the three concentration areas and Chicago Housing Authority youth representatives. They’ll also be asked to attend some of their field trips and onsite production days.

Become a Filmmaker | Film Production

group photo of students

In this award-winning program, participants learn every step of filmmaking including story development, producing, camera operation, lighting, sound, casting, and editing. Youth will work in small groups supported by graduate film students to complete short film projects that will then be sent to festivals and competitions worldwide. During the program, youth will also be visited by industry experts and go on experiential field trips including a tour of Cinespace, the largest film studio outside of Hollywood.

Movie & TV Scripts | Screenwriting

The School of Cinematic Arts six-week screenwriting program provides CHA youth with the skills to write screenplays designed for television or digital streaming platforms. Through a series of lectures and discussions, participants are introduced to the formal art of screenwriting. The topics covered include screenplay format, visual writing style, scene craft, story structure, character development, and dialogue. Supported by accomplished filmmakers and graduate student mentors, CHA teens will each write an individual original short screenplay and then workshop a group screenplay written in teams of four or five. Throughout the program, participants will screen a variety of curated short films with social themes relevant to youth for story analysis and discussion.

Next Level Photography

Through two lenses—the lens of a camera and the lens of their life experiences—CHA participants gain technical photography skills and learn the power of their personal narratives. The program is designed to expose participants to photography as a career option in several genres including portraiture, commercial, fine art and journalism. This will include a variety of guest speakers and onsite photography workshops. Every assignment will utilize a new skill to develop cumulative knowledge of professional standards in imaging. Students will be challenged to think conceptually about their own visual development while acquiring technical skills. The program culminates with a final portfolio showcasing their artistry and original voice.

For additional questions email

Faculty Bios