Client: Youth Documentary Academy - Tom Shepard
Task: The students’ objective was to ultimately research the viability and desirability of building a Center for Documentary and Social Impact (CDSI) in the Colorado Springs community. In the process of researching the desirability and viability, the students were also tasked with engaging partners, assessing capacity and conceptualizing what CDSI could look like in the community.
“Working with the Quad Innovative Alliance helped the Youth Documentary Academy engage with young and enthusiastic minds, harvest fresh ideas, and establish research protocols. At the end of our working session, the team had done a deep dive, producing solid original research on our organization’s biggest questions.
Their input and engagement were an invaluable asset to our thinking about how to approach the next decade.”-Tom Shepard
In recent years, national discourse in the U.S. has become hyper-partisan. Fortunately, in the 21st century, documentary film has evolved into a fresh, emotionally engaging and analytical format that creates occasions for opening hearts and minds to important issues that they would have overlooked before. The students’ objective was to ultimately research the viability and desirability of building a Center for Documentary and Social Impact (CDSI) in the Colorado Springs community. In the process of researching the desirability and viability, the students were also tasked with engaging partners, assessing capacity and conceptualizing what CDSI could look like in the community.
The Spring 2021 Quad students had the unique opportunity to work closely with Youth Documentary Academy founder, Tom Shepard, to conduct their research and work through building the vision and dream for CDSI. The students started their search broadly by researching national film centers’ business models, local models, and interviewing key stakeholders. First, the students researched and conducted many virtual interviews with national film centers . This national research led to a narrower search that was then specifically scoped to Colorado Springs. The students researched Colorado film festivals and Colorado Springs film companies like Rocky Mountain Woman’s Film and Studio 21 (Pikes Peak Library District). Lastly, Quad students interviewed with key stakeholders to learn more about the ecosystem of filmmakers in the community as well as to gain insight on the desirability of building a film center. After conducting interviews and preliminary research, the students produced a report with their research and analysis on the state of the ecosystem of filmmakers in Colorado Springs and their recommendations on moving forward with the research.
The recommendations provided by the students were to expand the niche of only documentary to all mediums of filmmaking, have a physical space as well as a hybrid remote model, market a special feature to attract an audience, focus on finding strategic partnerships, exhibit personal content that reflects the audiences CDSI wants to attract, and provide accessible classes and training. In addition, the students provided areas where more research is needed by the students who will take on the project in Fall 2021. The CDSI Quad students were focused on making the center accessible to the community in hopes that the CDSI can encompass filmmakers, watchers, and people who want to learn. Quad students believe that the CDSI is a worthy endeavor and will fill a crucial gap in Colorado Springs and the greater Rocky Mountain region’s filmmaking community. The center will ultimately serve to exhibit untold local stories, attract a local audience, and be the foundational support for storytelling in Colorado Spring. The Spring of 2021 was only the first phase of this project that will be concluded Fall 2021.