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Youth Documentary Academy - Short Films Program

Screened Friday, April 14 at 7pm at the Menlo-Atherton Performing Arts Center

Film screening followed by audience Q&A with four YDA filmmakers - Olive Van Eimeren, Rose Nseya, Mitch Davila-Armendano, and Madison Legg - Tom Shepard, and Cassandra Walton.

The Youth Documentary Academy was launched in 2014 by founder and director, Tom Shepard. Tom is a Bay Area based award-winning filmmaker and a Stanford grad who grew up in Colorado. He spends a portion of each year in Colorado Springs directing YDA programs. Mari Moxley, is the YDA Deputy Director and producer for numerous YDA events. For more info visit

Run time: 60 minutes

Girl Looking Up to Sky - Skinned Knees Film Still

Skinned Knees – Olive Van Eimeren

Every year, 1 in 7 kids experience some form of domestic violence. Especially when perpetrated by a parent, this kind of abuse is often difficult to address. Filmmaker Olive Van Eimeren bravely revisits some of the memories from her childhood including some of the alcolhism and abuse she experienced. Incorporating insights from journals, her own poetry, and interviews for this YDA project, she explores these memories with various family members, looking for reconciliation within her family, while also finding her own healing. Skinned Knees was selected as the Best Documentary at the 2022 All American High School Film Festival in New York City.

Leaving Africa – Rose Nseya

New immigrants and refugees face familiar challenges coming to the U.S. Rarely do we get to experience candid conversations between immigrant kids and their families. In Leaving Africa, filmmaker and Congolese refugee, Rose Nseya, recounts the harrowing odyssey of fleeing her homeland and the complex process of refugee resettlement as she finds safety reuniting with her grandmother and a new start as a high school student in Colorado. We are provided an intimate look at the relationship between Rose and her grandmother as Rose learns about her grandmother’s activism in Congo which has inspired Rose to step into her own future with renewed hope. Leaving Africa was a runner-up for Best Documentary at the 2022 AAHSFF.

Girl Putting on Make Up - Leaving Africa Film Still
Two People Walking - Film Still Blind Sighted

Blind Sighted – Mitch Davila-Armendano

The stories about young Americans with disabilities are in desperate need of a refresh. Even as assistive technologies help people adapt, there is still a stigma associated with blindness and other common disabilities. Filmmaker Mitch Davila-Armendano is a 15-year old filmmaker attending the Colorado School for the Deaf and Blind. Mitch introduces us to several of his schoolmates who expose the audience to the daily obstacles and prejudice they face with honesty and humor as they explore new opportunities and a deeper sense of belonging.

Under the Wire – Madison Legg

Suicide is the second leading cause of death for teens in the U.S. While leaders acknowledge a teen mental health crisis, families, schools, and the broader culture are often afraid to speak openly about suicide out of a mistaken fear that it will encourage more kids to explore this path. Filmmaker Madison Legg recounts the challenges she and her brother faced as immigrants and foster children growing up in a loving family but still facing the taboos associated with talking about depression and self-harm. By breaking the silence, Madison transforms her own family and inspires the broader community to face these issues with honesty and empathy. Madison’s film formed the basis of a ground-breaking program on teen suicide featured on Rocky Mountain PBS that earned a 2017 Heartland Regional Emmy Award.

Foster Family - Under the Wire Film Still

Windrider Bay Area 2023
Official Film Selections

Refuge Film Poster

Screened Thursday, April 13, 2023 at 7pm
Film Followed by Q&A
Live at the Menlo-Atherton
Performing Arts Center
555 Middlefield Rd, Atherton, CA 94027

Youth Documentary Academy Film Poster

Youth Documentary Academy Short Films
Screened Friday, April 14, 2023 at 7pm
Short Films Followed by Q&A
Live at the Menlo-Atherton
Performing Arts Center
555 Middlefield Rd, Atherton, CA 94027

Waterman Film Poster

Screened Saturday, April 15, 2023 at 7pm
Film Followed by Q&A
Live at the Menlo-Atherton
Performing Arts Center
555 Middlefield Rd, Atherton, CA 94027