Mission & History

Our Mission

Light House brings young people together to make movies. We are a nonprofit filmmaking center dedicated to helping students develop their vision and show their work. We believe in the importance of collaboration and community, the creativity of young minds, and the lasting benefits of our hands-on mentor-based approach to teaching the art of filmmaking.

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Our History


Light House Studio was founded in 1999 by a group of local filmmakers, artists, and educators who began with a small pilot workshop, “Video Diary.” Since then we have helped youth create thousands of documentaries, dramas, and animated films. Our student work has been broadcast on PBS, CNN, IFC (Independent Film Channel), and Public Access Television. Work has been exhibited at the University of Virginia Art Museum, Vinegar Hill Theatre, Second Street Gallery, and Live Arts, among others. Light House films have been shown in festivals all over the United States. Several of our students have received national awards for their films, including a Peabody Award, a Gold World Medal at the New York Festivals World’s Best TV & Films and a CINE Golden Eagle Award.

We have collaborated with many local nonprofits, including The International Rescue Committee; Children Youth and Family Services; Boys and Girls Club; The Music Resource Center; Live Arts; Second Street Gallery; The Virginia Film Festival; Public Housing Association of Residents; UNICEF’s Tap Project; Central Virginia Burn Camp; Big Brothers Big Sisters; the Shenandoah National Park Trust; as well as Ivy Creek School, Tandem Friends School, the Community Homeschool Enrichment Center, St. Anne’s-Belfield, and Walker Scholars. Light House is a member of Piedmont Council for the ArtsVirginians for the Artsthe Virginia Production AllianceListen Up Youth Media NetworkThe Center for Nonprofit Excellence and NAMAC.

We provide uncensored, mentored workshops in digital filmmaking; a screening room; a DVD and book library; and exhibition opportunities to young people, enabling them to learn, by hand, the pervasive language of motion pictures and sound. We challenge our students to be active participants in the media, and not simply passive recipients of the millions of images they see everyday.

Light House is a nonprofit 501(c)(3)

Creativity is allowing yourself to make mistakes. Art is knowing which ones to keep.

– Scott Adams