Off the Block


Now in its 14th year, OFF THE BLOCK is an annual month-long summer documentary filmmaking workshop organized by UC Riverside. OFF THE BLOCK exposes high school student filmmakers to the history of film and the documentary format as well as equipping them with the artistic concepts and technical skills necessary to complete their own documentary. Beyond learning practical filmmaking skills, students develop critical thinking, problem-solving, collaboration, and team building, as well as positive self-expression through the arts. The award-winning program was created in direct response to the profound need for youth arts initiatives in the Riverside, CA area and is the only summer media literacy and documentary filmmaking program in the region. It is offered completely free-of-charge and all necessary filmmaking tools and supplies are provided to students.

It is staffed by curators, faculty, and educators from both UC Riverside and Riverside City College. OFF THE BLOCK staff, through their teaching experience in higher education, draw upon the CA state educational curriculum to develop effective and dynamic workshops and activities to impart film and media training onto students. During the program, students break into groups of 3-4 and are joined by a mentor (a program staff-member) who guides them through the filmmaking process. While working with their mentor and group partners, students also regularly convene all together to review footage, discuss ideas, and workshop their films. Beyond learning practical filmmaking skills, students develop critical thinking, problem-solving, collaboration, and team building, as well as positive self-expression through the arts.

Over the past 10 years, the stories and projects that our high school students have produced have tackled difficult issues and revealed unique histories. These stories are told through a multitude of documentary techniques but have as their backbone stories from local citizens and community members.

Summer 2023 Workshop

Off the Block is open to all high school students in the Riverside, CA area interested in learning documentary filmmaking! For any questions, please reach out to Nikolay Maslov, Curator of Film & Media Projects at UCR ARTS:

Key dates and info

May 31st, 2023 – Application deadline

June 1st, 2023 – Applicants begin being notified of their status in the program

June 24th, 2023 – Orientation for accepted applicants

June 28th, 2023 – First day of the workshop

July 27th, 2023 – Final day of the workshop

Off the Block will meet Tuesday through Friday, 10am to 4pm, June 27th through July 28th at UCR ARTS. (There will be no session on Tuesday, July 4th.)


Applications for Summer 2023 are now live! Applications are processed in a first-come, first-served basis. Please note that while the program seeks to enroll as many students as possible, space is limited. An application does not guarantee a spot in the program.

2023 Application

Off the Block for Schools

The award-winning summer documentary workshop is now offered as an in-school workshop that can be customized for your class needs. Directly based on California CTE Standards and drawn from college-level curriculum, the outcome of this workshop is students gaining an understanding of documentary film production as well as knowledge of how careers and educational opportunities in related disciplines are achieved. For rates and more information, please contact Lindsey Hammel at

Sample Work


For more, visit us on vimeo at:


A very special thank you to UC Riverside’s College of Humanities, Arts and Social Sciences (CHASS); the City of Riverside; the Riverside Arts Council; the Film, Television, & Video Department at Riverside City College; the Latino Network; the Spanish Town Heritage Foundation; the Wild Lens Collective, Epson, Mara W. Breech Foundation, California Humanities, and the California Arts Council for their past and present support. Photo courtesy of Steffanie Padilla.