Documentary Filmmaking Program Alumni


After you complete the program, you will have many opportunities to participate and grow in the film world and a community of non-fiction filmmakers that we've been growing for the past quarter century. You can attend film screenings, panels and professional development seminars offered by our many Documentary Center partners. Our guest speakers are Academy Award and Emmy Award-winning filmmakers and broadcast industry leaders who bring unique insight into the many questions you have about nonfiction filmmaking. You will meet fellow alumni who have achieved successful documentary careers in broadcasting, independent filmmaking and in non-profit media advocacy.

Once you become a Documentary Center alum we continue to mentor you for years to come and provide you with opportunities—educational and professional—to help you on your journey towards becoming an accomplished documentarian. Check out the links below or read our Alumni Spotlight to see what our graduates are accomplishing in the field. 


Click the pictures below to see what past students have to say about their experience here. 

  • Aziza Taylor
  • Patrick Kelly
  • Beth Murphy
  • Testimonial Seda Serdar

"Attending the Institute for Documentary Filmmaking was an unforgettable experience. Coming from a professional background in television production, I initially felt the way a long form story was told on television and the way it was told in a documentary film were very similar. In one of our earliest classes, Nina explained the value of having a good story in a documentary film. As our class sessions continued, she provided a platform for us to grasp the deeper understanding of the art of telling a story through documentary film. This lesson in storytelling was paramount to everything we learned as budding filmmakers. In addition, the types of film discussions we engaged in after viewing the work of others, assisted me in developing my perspective as a filmmaker within my own work. As a graduate of the George Washington University Institute for Documentary Filmmaking, I not only walked away with the fundamentals of documentary filmmaking, but also with a new set of friendships and mentor relationships that will stay with me forever."

Aziza Taylor, Institute Class of '11

"The Documentary Center helped me mature - both creatively and professionally. My 6 months at the Documentary Center helped me better understand my strengths and my weaknesses in film, what I needed to improve on in order to continue working in the field of moving pictures and what I needed to hold on to in order to keep my cinematic style reflective of my personality. That, in turn, helped me get hired as an editor and camera operator. To prospective students, I would say to only apply to the Documentary Center if you are willing to put in 100% throughout the entirety of the program. The Institute provides as much as you want to take from it, and if you pay attention closely to the wealth of knowledge Nina Gilden Seavey and her steady crew bestow on their students, you will surely come out of the Institute a more knowledgable, more technically sound and more realistic documentary filmmaker."

Patrick Kelly, Institute Class of '08

“My time at GW’s Documentary Center introduced me to visual storytelling in the most powerful ways. I learned how filmmaking draws upon every discipline - psychology, sociology, history, political science, and anthropology - to suggest, inform, illustrate, communicate and clarify. I will forever be grateful for meeting my mentor (and now friend) Nina Gilden Seavey. All these years later I still rely on her experience, wisdom and humor to navigate storytelling and the business of storytelling."

Beth Murphy, Institute Class of '92

"The GW Documentary Institute program was an amazing experience. It provided me with the right tools to tell stories and opened a door to new opportunities. Even though it was a huge challenge to work full time and continue this program, I would not exchange the days, hours and nights spent on the projects to do anything else. I now have the knowledge to shoot my own film, as well as a new family composed of my fellow filmmakers."

Seda Serdar, Institute Class of '14