This is your opportunity to learn the art and practice of documentary filmmaking, while becoming deeply immersed in the culture of Oaxaca, Mexico. Over the course of this week-long intensive workshop, each traveler will direct their own micro-doc that features the work of a local changemaker. 

On this trip, your days are full of real world site visits, research interviews, technical trainings, creative meetings, on-location recording and editing session. In between your work you wander the streets of Oaxaca, experience the flavors of the local cuisine, and lead a different kind of life for a moment in time. 

Your workshop leaders will provide daily instruction to guide each traveler through all the phases of documentary production. The lessons and support are adjusted to fit each individual’s existing know-how so that filmmakers of any experience level can make progress in their craft. The goal is to equip you with a reliable and replicable production process that you can utilize for all future storytelling endeavors. 



Join our Documentary Workshop to Oaxaca, Mexico and become immersed in the vibrant rhythms of the city.

A colonial city built atop Zapotec and Mixtec settlements in the foothills of the Sierra Madre mountains, Oaxaca is today an historical treasure and has been designated a UNESCO World Heritage site for both its colonial-era structures and important archeological sites. The city is infinitely walkable, beginning from the Zocolo main plaza and branching out across the city through pedestrian-only streets,  past countless historical landmarks and into the many public parks.

The influence of indigenous people in Oaxaca is evident in politics and governance, but also has a strong presence in local culture – which is how the city came to be known as the most ethnically and linguistically diverse state in Mexico. Many of the changemakers in Oaxaca focus on preserving local traditions. Other changemakers focus on empowering indigenous entrepreneurs, strengthening communities, and providing new opportunities to local youth.



Arrival to Oaxaca, Mexico. You are met at Xoxocotlán International Airport and transported to the guesthouse where you will call home for the next eight days. We all gather for a Welcome Dinner in the evening, followed by an orientation with the Workshop Leader.

  • Private Airport Transfer
  • Welcome Dinner
  • Workshop Orientation

The day begins with lessons on telling engaging stories, and best approaches to in-person research. In the afternoon you sit down with your changemaker for the first time to learn all about their work.  Afterward, you have a lesson on visually motivated storytelling – this is a film after all. Every day ends with a roundtable discussion for participants to reflect on their experiences that day.

  • Breakfast
  • Lesson: Research Strategies
  • Changemaker Intros
  • Lesson: Visual Storytelling
  • Dinner
  • Debriefing

You gather with other participants in the morning for a discussion on the purpose of your film, and how to ethically tell a story about your changemaker.  Then you meet up with your subject changemaker again for further research. After dinner, take part in a Camera Workshop to get hands-on with the equipment.

  • Breakfast
  • Lesson: Purpose
  • Lesson: Ethical Storytelling
  • Changemaker Research
  • Dinner
  • Workshop: Camera Operation for Filming
  • Debriefing

A workshop on Lighting & Focus starts the day, followed by a Location Sound workshop. You have the rest of the day for final changemaker research visits, and to work on writing your Story Treatment that details your film as you envision it. After dinner, a screening of inspiring short documentary films.

  • Breakfast
  • Workshop: Lighting & Focus for Filming
  • Workshop: Location Sound for Filming
  • Changemaker Research
  • Story Treatment Session
  • Dinner
  • Documentary Shorts Screening
  • Debriefing

Your first day of filming! But first – a lesson on filming good visuals. Then you have the rest of the day for filming your documentary. After dinner, review footage with your fellow participants and hand over your footage to the Editor for processing.

  • Breakfast
  • Lesson: Shooting Visually
  • Principle Photography – Filming Your Documentary
  • Dinner
  • Dailies and Debriefing

Record all the necessary elements to build your documentary as filming continues. The Workshop Leader accompanies everyone for filming, and leads a session for footage review and debriefing in the evening. The Editor begins cutting films at BaseCamp.

  • Breakfast
  • Principle Photography – Filming Your Documentary
  • Editing- The Editor Will Cut Films at BaseCamp
  • Dinner
  • Dailies and Debriefing

If more footage is needed, you continue filming with assistance from the Workshop Leader.
Throughout the day the Editor continue cutting the new documentaries based off your Story Treatment and available footage. There are screenings of in-progress films throughout the day.
Footage review and debriefing is at BaseCamp after dinner.

  • Breakfast
  • Principle Photography – Filming Your Documentary
  • Editing – The Editor will Cut Films at BaseCamp
  • Progress Screenings
  • Dinner
  • Dailies and Debriefing

The Editor and Workshop Leader will continue to edit films, checking in with you for periodic screenings and review. In the evening you screen your completed film for all participants, and guests. Afterward you will prepare for departure.

  • Breakfast
  • Editing – The Editor and Workshop Leader will Edit Films
  • Progress Screenings
  • Dinner
  • Documentary Debut Screening
  • Prep for Departure

Time to part ways. After breakfast, you are shuttled to Xoxocotlán International Airport for your flight home or onward travels.

  • Breakfast
  • Private Airport Transfer



we are a band of storytellers
armed with cameras
out to reveal the good in our world.



$2325 USD
  • 7 days intensive documentary instruction
  • access to meeting and coworking facilities
  • 8 nights private lodging
  • breakfast and dinner each day
  • airport transfers on arrival and departure
  • local translator
  • production and editing equipment provided
  • editorial assistance on location
  • pre-trip access to digital learning resources


The best way to learn about our Documentary Workshops is by signing up for our email series. We will share insights on the why, what and how of trip design as well as planning resources and important news.

Frequently Asked Questions


Anyone 18 years or older with an interest in learning is welcome. On previous programs our crews have included everyone from enrolled university students to adults interested in expanding their knowledge about documentary production.

No. Actuality Abroad Workshops are educational in nature. We will teach you what you need to know, and an Editor will be on location to cu together your film.

This Workshop is intensive and there will not be a lot of free time. If you would like to arrive early or stay late to explore Oaxaca – we highly encourage it. Let us know in advance and we’ll throw some tips your way. Extending your travel is a great way to get extra time and let learning lead your travels.

No. A translator will be made available to participants as needed.

Every country is recovering from COVID at their own pace, and the same can be said for communities within countries. We will brief all participants on the status of COVID before arrival, and all activities will be organized with an intent to minimize the possibility of spreading sickness.

Participants will have their own private room in a locally-owned, secure guesthouse. Expect friendly staff, interesting travelers to talk with, a comfortable dining space to gather for breakfast and dinner, and a common space where you can relax, work, or otherwise pass the time.

Meals provided will be standard local style food that varies each day. Vegetarians can be accommodated, but the fare may be less varied.

Immediately after the films are finished they will be uploaded to our onine channels. From there the subject changemaker will be able to download, share, and embed your films so they can utilize the new media for self-promotion. Participants will be able to submit their films for competition in festivals, and Actuality Abroad will also submit to festivals while hosting the film on our official page.

Each country has different protocol for residents returning from travel abroad. The United States, for example, requires residents returning by air to have a negative COVID-19 test result within 72 hours of their return flight, or documentation of recovery from COVID-19. Our Workshop Leader will know current requirements for your return home. Prior to departing Mexico, testing appointments will be scheduled with sufficient lab processing time for all travelers who require it. 

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