Course Overview

This course is a part of the Summer Filmmaking Academy.

The focus of this hands-on course is on visual and cinematic storytelling. Students will work with both still and moving images, along with sound, to create projects such as a short movie, a series of still photographs, experimental animation, and a soundscape.

Through working on assignments, students will explore and learn about the importance of light for visual storytelling, image composition, editing and sequencing, the basics of animation, creating intentional film shots, developing and shaping ideas into visuals and short cinematic narratives, and also explore sound image relationships. Projects and etudes will be followed by workshares that will provide space to reflect on the creative process and to learn from both mistakes and successes. Students will also develop teamwork and collaboration skills.  

For students with an artist’s inkling, this course may encourage the use of still and moving images as a means of creative exploration and artmaking, and learning about the potential of visual storytelling or journalism. For students with an interest in science or the humanities, this course may offer the opportunity to learn and realize the potential and importance of visuals for their research as well as the effective presentation of their projects.

No matter what your background or interests are, we hope that you will grow as a visual storyteller and human being, that you will create a meaningful portfolio, and that you will find new friends. You do not need to be an aspiring photographer or filmmaker to apply for this course; the most important ingredients are curiosity, creativity and imagination, along with an openness to experiment, supported with self-discipline and focus. Students will work on individual projects and also in creative teams.

Summer College students creating a project on Syracuse University’s campus

All students who successfully complete the course will receive a Certificate of Completion and have the opportunity to request a Syracuse University noncredit transcript.

Learning Objectives

In this course, students will:

  • Explore the principles of visual and cinematic storytelling.
  • Experience the study of film and visual storytelling with a distinguished creative team from the Syracuse University Film and Media Arts Program.
  • Have fun while working hard on assigned projects.
  • Develop a visual portfolio.

Course Information

Course Prefix and Number:

Format: On Campus (at Syracuse University)

Eligibility: Students must be of rising high school sophomore, junior, or senior status – or a 2024 high school graduate. 

Credit: Noncredit

Grading: Pass/Fail


  • Residential: $4,095
  • Commuter: $3,166

Program rates are subject to change and will be approved by the board of trustees. Discounts and scholarships are also available.

Program Information

Summer College – On Campus: Experience what college is really like: take a college-level course, live in a residence hall, have meals with friends in a dining hall, and participate in activities and events on campus.

“Film has always been a great passion of mine, both to create and to analyze, and Syracuse University gave me the opportunity to hone both of those skills. I did so through the high level of enrichment provided by my film instructor and teaching assistants and their expectations that my fellow students and I could meet the challenges presented in this college-level course. We stepped up and worked together to make films with each other despite not knowing each other beforehand and being located across time zones.”

— Samuel M., Summer College Filmmaking Student, 2020

Course Dates and Details

ProgramCourse DatesClass Time (Eastern Time)Credit/NoncreditStatus
Summer College – On Campus2-Week Session II: Monday, July 22 – Friday, Aug. 2, 2024MTWThF;
9 a.m. – 4 p.m.
Class times subject to change.

Course Requirements

Technology Requirements

The idea of this course is to work with the tools and materials already available to students, which may be your smart phone, or if you have your own digital camera, you are welcome to bring it along with your laptop, in which case please make sure these are covered by insurance.

Basic equipment is also available for students to borrow. Please remember that visual storytelling and filmmaking are not about fancy or sophisticated equipment, but about the ability to see, to use your imagination and creativity, your skills, and the ability to work with what you have. 

Student Expectations

Filmmaking and visual storytelling require self-discipline. A significant commitment in time, focus, and creative effort outside of scheduled class meetings is necessary and expected on the part of students to successfully complete this course. If students fully invest themselves into their creative work, we will be able to create successful portfolio projects.

Typical Day

Tentative Schedule

There is no such thing as a “typical day.” Expect full-time intensive immersion into visual media practice and filmmaking with hands-on workshops, demo sessions, lectures, artist presentations, and the active pursuit of your creative projects followed by workshares, viewing, discussions, reflection. Our working days usually begin at 9 am (however to capture the very best morning light you may need to be up at sunrise) and conclude at 9pm, with ample breaks for meals and hanging out with colleagues and friends.  

When class is over, and on weekends, students can look forward to various Summer College – On Campus activities to meet and connect with other students! Check out our On Campus Experience page for more information!

Faculty Bios

Lida Suchý

Lida Suchy is a first-generation American, born into a refugee family and often draws on this background as inspiration for her creative work. For more than 30 years, she has chronicled communities through portraiture.

A Fulbright Scholar, Guggenheim Fellow, and NYFA Artist Fellow, she has exhibited internationally. Collections holding her work include the Bibliotheque National Paris, The Brooklyn Museum, the George Eastman Museum, the Hrushevsky Museum in Ukraine, and San Francisco Museum of Modern Art. Lida Suchy holds an MA from Syracuse University and an MFA from Yale University. Her visual essays have been published in The New York Times, Life Magazine, GEO, and National Geographic Magazine.

Lida has taught at Rochester Institute of Technology and Hartwick College, and held master workshops in the USA, Italy, and Ukraine. She currently teaches at Onondaga Community College and mentors students both at home and abroad.

As a team, Lida and Mišo Suchý have produced several exhibitions and award-winning films.  

Mišo, Evan, and Lida recently developed a creative community collab “Teens with a Movie Camera.”  

Evan Bode

Evan Bode is an award-winning filmmaker, writer, composer, and animator with an interest in playful, compassionate storytelling that challenges systems of oppression. His work has been screened internationally at festivals in Brazil, Germany, Greece, Croatia, the U.K., Australia, India, and South Africa, as well as in festivals across the United States. 

Evan’s film, Thine Own Self, has screened at festivals around the world including Animafest Zagreb. In 2021, Evan was one of five filmmakers nationwide selected as a winner of the Gotham Institute’s 2021 Student Showcase sponsored by JetBlue and Focus Features, a success featured in Filmmaker Magazine.   

Evan is a recent MFA graduate of Syracuse University’s College of Visual & Performing Arts film program. For the past two years, he has taught undergraduate courses in SU’s film program.

Teaching Philosophy: My objective is to nurture the unique strengths of each student’s personal voice and facilitate their growth within a supportive and encouraging environment. In the classroom, I aim to cultivate a space of acceptance and curiosity, as opposed to fear and judgment; I believe students learn best when they can feel safe to explore their craft and express themselves as artists, and I hope I can offer an experience that inspires them to pursue what they love to the best of their ability.

The Summer Filmmaking Academy is a cluster of film and art media courses:  Intro to Film & Media Arts; Filmmaking; and Cinematography.  This creative consortium invites and encourages creative collaboration and interaction beyond one’s own course. Please visit our vimeo links below to get a taste for the Summer Filmmaking Academy.

Summer Filmmaking Academy

🍊ORANGE SUMMER in Syracuse