• Documentary Certificate Program

    See your film on the big screen - Apply now for Fall 2018

Documentary Certificate

  • After making your online application to Capilano University, please submit a short essay on your interest in documentary filmmaking by email to film@capilanou.ca.  We will then contact you to arrange an interview.

    Focusing on the expanding market for smaller scale productions from traditional to new media, the Capilano University Documentary Certificate program is designed to meet the needs of emerging documentary filmmakers in a rapidly-changing industry. 
    Come learn how to realize your vision on screen in our state-of-the-art facility, Bosa Centre for Film and Animation, as you acquire the foundational skills needed to produce, direct, write and edit documentary or specialized productions in a mentored environment with award-winning filmmakers.


    With a strong emphasis on story development, the Documentary Certificate is modeled after a professional production cycle, from story concept and development, to pre-production, production, post-production and distribution and marketing phases.
    Delivered over 8 months starting in September each year and ending in April, each term students develop their story ideas in the classroom as they prepare to direct a short documentary project in the second half of the term, collaborating in 2-4 person teams on each other’s projects. Further integrating the coursework with its application in the field, students additionally crew on several 1-minute video production exercises as director/editor, camera, and sound, for a total of up to 18 short film credits during the 8-month program.

    Industry Support

    Students also attend real industry events and markets to learn professional development, networking and market research skills. Every year, our students also benefit greatly from the mentorship of many guest speakers from Vancouver’s world-renowned documentary film community.

    Program Goals

    As we begin a new decade of documentary cinema, Capilano University’s Documentary Certificate program provides a supportive, stimulating and collaborative environment for students to develop their intellectual, technical and creative abilities to communicate visual truth.

    Program Outcomes

    Building a professional foundation through course work, field work, and professional development, upon successful completion of this Certificate students will be able to:

    • Demonstrate competence in producing and directing documentary or specialized non-fiction production through the execution and delivery of a documentary short subject film, considering story structure, funding, planning, writing and presenting or pitching.
    • Apply technical skills to carry out basic operation of camera, lighting, sound and post production systems.
    • Employ effective research strategies in a variety of subject areas, such as history, politics, culture, and performing arts.
    • Demonstrate professional standard behaviour as a cooperative member of a professional creative and technical team.
    • Apply professional and technical skills to become entry-level employees for documentary and factual entertainment production companies and members of the independent film community.

    Creating Opportunities

    In a world led by digital communications, everyone needs media. The production opportunities available to emerging filmmakers have changed and proliferated in recent years, from the multi-channel universe of specialty broadcast cable and satellite programming to new production and distribution platforms such as the internet and smart phones.

    Graduates have gone on to make award-winning films and work in the film industry in a variety of entry-level capacities, from research to post production to producing community television. They also continue to travel the globe with their cameras, documenting our changing world: from coral research in the Pacific Northwest, to sovereignty patrols in the Canadian high Arctic and modernization deep in the jungles of Papua, New Guinea, one of the last frontiers on earth.

    Some of the areas where our graduates are working are:

    • independent production
    • television
    • interactive media
    • industrial videos
    • instructional videos
    • public health
    • educational videos
    • smart phone applications
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