Documentary Outreach

A four-week travel course where you learn to produce short documentary films about global changemakers.

Journey to a destination community and learn documentary production alongside other impact-driven filmmakers. Get real life experience collaborating with local experts, leaders and changemakers to help share their amazing stories. 

Through on-location research and interviews, our travelers learn to listen and seek to understand. The authenticity of the ethical documentary experience allows greater connection to a place and more meaningful work to be produced.


The best way to learn about our Documentary Outreach experience is by signing up for the email series. Find out more about why we travel, how it works, and what you can expect.

Travel with Actuality Abroad and learn to tell stories that matter.

The Documentary Outreach is four-week immersive filmmaking workshop where you learn documentary production, ethical storytelling, and responsible travel. We work in partnership with changemakers  (locally-led nonprofit organizations or social enterprises) to tell stories that support their work and elevate their community.
Our group of travelers is matched into several 4-person crews, with each individual taking on a specific role: Producer, Director Cinematographer or Editor. Working with your crew, you collaborate with a local changemaker to explore the world of their work and find a compelling story to tell. 
On location, an Actuality Producer provides intstruction, mentorship and oversees all projects. They also coordinate travel logistics, lead educational briefings, conduct training workshops, support research, manage operations and also production milestones. 

Each crew is guided and supported in producing a character-driven, film-fest-worthy short documentary film. To further expand your portfolio, you also have the opportunity to create documentary photography collections, micro-documentary videos, or journalistic essays that are more promotional in nature and may help your changemaker in furthering their work. 







week 1 – research

Crews meet daily for briefings, screenings and exercises on documentary filmmaking. Filmmakers visit locations, scout operations, and conduct pre-interviews to gather information. The goal is to find an interesting character whose story would make a compelling documentary.


Filmmakers plan for production by developing a story summary and outline, as well as a schedule and a shot list. Workshops and practical exercises are led by our Actuality Producer to teach techniques in visual storytelling.


Filmmakers document on location to record the people, events, sounds, and environments necessary to tell their chosen story. Dailies are reviewed and critiqued in group sessions every evening. 


Filmmakers edit the film from rough cut to picture lock entirely on location with plenty of support. Before departure, the local community is invited to join the crew for a screening of all completed documentaries.


Telling stories outside of your own community and across cultures can be complicated. It is important that we recognize our power (and responsibility) as storytellers. Over the years of producing on location, Actuality Abroad has developed a set of best practices that guide the development, production and distribution of our storytelling projects. We build these principles and systems into each Documentary Outreach to ensure our crews are working in an ethical and equitable manner. 

On each Documentary Outreach, we work with ‘locally-led’ changemakers that are small, grassroots nonprofit organizations or social enterprises. This means the leaders and decision makers are people who are really from the community where the work is being done.

We consider our changemakers and anyone else that may appear in our films, true co-creators of the stories we produce. At the beginning of each project we determine who are the important stakeholders/decision makers for the storytelling project, and ensure we get their input, consent and agreement at each stage of the documentary process. These individuals can include leaders at our changemaker organization, elders in the community and individuals whose stories are featured in the films. 

There is no money exchanged between Actuality Abroad and any of the changemakers we partner with. We are all freely collaborating on stories that we all think are important to share. 



Cookie Consent with Real Cookie Banner