Gain Experience in the Field

Documentary Internships


The Institute of Documentary Filmmaking offers a substantial internship program to all program participants. Although it is not required, we encourage every student to participate in the internship experience as it offers a real-world viewpoint to complement what you’ll learn in the classroom and in the production of your film. Internships are generally 15-20 hours per week during regular business hours but cannot exceed 20 hours per week.

To continue your internship, you must maintain the requisite “B” average. If your GPA falls below the passing “B” average you will be withdrawn from your internship experience.

Application Process

Upon your admission to the program, you will be asked to fill out a questionnaire and provide a resume so that your interests and background can be matched to the needs of host organizations.

Internship placement begins in January and interns can expect to serve 15-20 hours per week through May 1. All internships must end prior to the beginning of the production of the student film. Host organizations are eligible to hire interns in the post-Institute period, but not before July 1 of each year.

Internships are a value-added component to the program to enhance the experience of our students. Institute students are highly sought after as interns.

While we attempt to place interested students in internships, these positions are not guaranteed.  We attempt to match student interests and abilities with the needs of host organizations. Placement in an internship is dependent upon the number of interested students applying and the needs of host organizations which can vary from year to year.

To enhance your ability to secure an internship, we encourage students with specialized skills or content-area focuses to reach out to organizations whose work interests them to secure an appropriate internship position. Our staff will work with the host organization to support the internship experience.

Your Internship Experience
The Documentary Center staff works closely with students and production companies to find a mutually beneficial internship. While interns will likely complete some rudimentary clerical and/or administrative tasks, we make it clear to all our partners that students should have the opportunity to take an active role in research, production, and post-production work in which the company is engaged.

Who Are Some Of Our Host Organizations?
Institute students have interned at National Geographic Television, Smithsonian, WETA, as well as with many highly experienced independent filmmakers. As interns, Institute students have worked on all aspects of production: from research to film logging, editing to lighting, camera operation to publicity, location scouting to film outreach and distribution. As their skill set grows from their in-class work, many students have seen their responsibilities at their internships broaden as well. 


Thank You to Our 2019 Internship Hosts!


"Working at The Biscuit Factory while in the Institute was a wonderful opportunity for me to see different aspects of video production at a small film production company. On my first day, I was thrown into setting up and breaking down camera and lighting equipment on location for a Smithsonian Channel tv special and later on assisted producers and editors with research and transcription of footage. All in all, I really appreciated the mentorship and referrals to other production work after my internship was finished. Great group of people to work with!" 

– Aqiyla Thomas, Class of 2014