The Summer CHA Programs in Documentary Filmmaking, Interdisciplinary Design and Screenwriting

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, we have partnered with the Chicago Housing Authority to offer six-week intensives for Chicago Housing Authority (CHA) youth participating in One Summer Chicago. The learn-and-earn model provides youth with an opportunity to get paid while learning hard skills, opening new economic pathways within film/media industries. Given the decision for DePaul University to extend its online/remote class learning through the summer, programs have been re-designed as a hybrid remote model to be held from July 6th - August 13th, 2020.

CDM is looking to hire a graduate Student Assistant Program Administrator as well as several Graduate Student Mentors with skills in one of the following areas: documentary filmmaking, screenwriting and photography.

Applications for Summer 2020 are now closed.

Role of Student Mentor and Student Assistant Program Administrator

Each program for CHA teens is designed to be a transformative experience for participants and student mentors. The role of the student mentor includes: participating in youth orientation; attending training workshops; being present during all program hours (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 documentary, screenwriting, or photography format.

Documentary Production

group photo of students

The School of Cinematic Arts six-week intensive Documentary Filmmaking Program prepares CHA teens to become future filmmakers in documentary production. This year, the program will focus on documentary style 3-minute short films shot on iPad pros.

The intensive will create a collaborative environment with university faculty and graduate students where Chicago-area teenaged females learn valuable media skills (film/video) that provide a voice for social issues that concern them most. The program will demonstrate how young women can employ media in positive ways and usher in a group of future female and student leaders who understand (and advocate for) the challenges young women face.

CHA high school students, guided by School of Cinematic Arts faculty and graduate student mentors, are immersed in pre-preproduction, production, and post-production with the goal of creating four short distinct documentaries.


The School of Cinematic Arts six-week Screenwriting Program provides CHA teens the skills to write screenplays designed for television or digital streaming platforms. Through a series of lectures and discussions, participants will be introduced to the formal art of screenwriting. They will apply their knowledge in crafting two short screenplays that will be workshopped over the course of the intensive.

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 workshop a group screenplay written in teams of four or five as well as an individual original short screenplay. Throughout the program, participants will screen a variety of curated short films with social themes relevant to youth for story analysis and discussion.


This year, we are adding a photography section to our CHA summer intensives. This course is an introduction to the aesthetics of still photography and the concept of photography as a descriptive and interpretive artistic medium. Youth will learn the fundamental concepts necessary to shoot, edit, and manipulate photographs and to critically evaluate the images. The program is also designed to expose participants to photography as a career option in several genres including portraiture, commercial, fine art and journalism. 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.

For additional questions email

Faculty Bios