Community Initiatives

The Documentary Center is committed to encouraging and promoting the work of both established and emerging filmmakers. We are engaged in two central community-based efforts that are the focal points of this commitment.

AFI-Discovery Channel Silverdocs Documentary Festival

Nina Gilden Seavey, The Director of the Documentary Center, was the Founding Director of SILVERDOCS in 2003.  She has also served as Executive Producer, Strand Programmer, and Senior Advisor to the festival from 2004-2009.  Housed at the AFI Silver Theatre in Silver Spring, MD, SILVERDOCS is the result of a unique collaboration between the American Film Institute and the Discovery Channel. Attracting films and independent filmmakers from around the world, SILVERDOCS has become the premiere documentary festival in the United States.

For more information, visit the SilverDocs website.


Center Screen

The Documentary Center co-sponsors screenings of select films at our conveniently-located downtown DC GWU campus venues.

If you are interested in screening your documentary film with us, please send a DVD of your film along with this request form for consideration.


Docs in Progress

The Documentary Center is a long-time partner and Washington screening home for Silver Spring-based "Docs in Progress."  This bi-monthly screening series, headed by Erica Ginsburg, presents Washington area documentary-makers a forum in which to workshop their films as they are in the process of creation.  All members of the GW and Washington publics are invited to participate in the lively discussions of these works-in-progress.  

Screenings are held at GWU every other month throughout the year.

For more information concerning dates, times of Docs in Progress screenings, and submission information, visit the Docs in Progress website.

Student Testimonial

Student Testimonials

"The Institute for Documentary Filmmaking offers students a unique chance to engage in the real world processes of production at every level. The honing of story development skills is at the heart of the program, in an effort to turn students not just into filmmakers, but storytellers of the highest order. Thoughtful instruction on camera, lighting, audio, and state-of-the-art editing equipment allows student to realize both the possibilities and the problems inherent in telling stories on screen. Students can count on getting constant support in addressing the many creative and technical complications that can plague the professional filmmaker; learning indispensible problem solving skills. Best of all, the program is truly "on the job" training. Students get to play all the many and varied creative roles that make filmmaking such an enriching, collaborative effort. The institute's director has a motto: "enjoy the process." After my training there, I continue to just that."

– Tom Wentworth, Class of 1996

"Thank you so much for all of your help in finding me a job and serving as my reference. I really appreciate it — this and everything I have learned from you have certainly paid off because I got the job as assistant editor at VideoTakes AND the Partner's for Development job that you sent out about editing together a fundraising film for them. I am so excited and I just wanted to THANK YOU THANK YOU THANK YOU!!!!"

— Allison Barnett, Class of 2006