Young Affiliates Network

To support the next generation of storytellers and our work at the Center for Documentary Studies, CDS is launching a Young Affiliates Network (approximate ages 21–40) for alumni and friends in the CDS community interested in staying engaged and giving back.

Join today and receive a video recording of our first YAN call, featuring filmmaker Geeta Patel sharing her incredible advice on different ways to break into the business, creating your own opportunities, and how to set yourself up for success.

Benefits of Young Affiliates Network (YAN) Membership:

  • Three videoconference calls a year with CDS director Wesley Hogan and guest artists
    • A safe space to discuss contemporary social issues peer to peer and hear new perspectives; topics will also be examined through a documentary lens
    • Connect with fellow YAN members across the country; optional collaborative doc project
    • Crowdsource ideas, collaborators, and resources for your own projects
    • Hear firsthand updates and provide vital input and feedback on the activities of CDS
  • Private listserv and Facebook group for YAN members to communicate and share work/opportunities; YAN newsletter featuring member work; weekly CDS e-blasts
  • Annual YAN event in Durham (during DEMAN Weekend)
  • Invitation to CDS events in other cities (e.g., New York, L.A.)
  • Doc Club: recommendations of exciting new documentary artists/work to view/discuss
  • Special recognition on CDS website

YAN Members Commit to:

  • Making an annual contribution to the Center for Documentary Studies; suggested amounts:
    • 0–5 years out of undergraduate, please consider a gift starting at $50–$100
    • 5–10 years out of undergraduate, please consider a gift starting at $100–$250
    • 10+ years out of undergraduate, please consider a gift starting at $250–$500
    • Gifts can be paid in installments
    • Annual donors of $250+ are also eligible to receive CDS Circle benefits**
  • Hosting or cohosting at least one YAN gathering per year in your city, or inviting friends to local events featuring CDS work
    • In order to: build stronger community among young CDS affiliates, infuse CDS with new ideas and contacts, facilitate a stronger national network of documentary artists and audiences, and identify new potential CDS supporters
    • Program/content for your event(s) will be supported by CDS
    • Attendance/YAN membership is open to all – being a Duke alum and/or a working artist is not required
  • Being a champion for CDS – share our work with others and get them excited about the Center

Join online with a one-time or recurring gift and write “YAN” in comment section. 

**If you're interested in also receiving CDS Circle benefits for a gift of $250+, join here and note "YAN" in the comment section.

Questions? Contact senior development associate Kathryn Banas at 919-660-3687 or


Testimonial from YAN Chair Kevin Tolson

Kevin and his fiancee Naomi got engaged at CDS.

Unlike most Duke students, I heard about "The Center" before I stepped onto campus. On my first day of classes, I found a work study job at CDS. Little did I know, I found more than a work study role that day — it was the start of building a second home. It has been more than ten years, and since then I have been able to expand my knowledge across documentary mediums: film, audio, documentary writing, and photography. I have been involved in countless community building programs, from painting murals for the Face Up Project, to assisting community activist Brother Ray in his documentary work around Hurricane Katrina. I could fill many pages with how grateful I am to have found the Center for Documentary Studies. It is a special place that made a kid from Baltimore feel a little more at home in a new city. I am proud to have graduated with distinction with my Certificate in Documentary Studies, to have been involved in the local Durham community, but most importantly, to have a built a lasting relationship with the quality people that work there.

I am no longer the 18-year-old kid that found his way to CDS so many years ago. I am well into my corporate career as a Brand Manager, still using the same skills of documentary and storytelling. I am a proud CDS Board Member, honored to have the chance to bring the excitement of documentary to other young people who love the medium. Beyond all those things, I am recently engaged and, as you might expect, I proposed in the very place I wandered to 10 years ago—the Center for Documentary Studies.


Testimony from YAN Member Rebekah Fergusson

My first experience with CDS was in front of the camera as a subject in a documentary by my Duke Soccer teammate, Gwendolyn Oxenham. When I saw the final film, I was amazed by how much of our inner world — as single-minded, competitive soccer players — she was able to capture. I started signing up for classes at CDS, and eventually landed in Gary Hawkins' film classes. Sports, at that time, were my life, and immediately became my focus as a student filmmaker. I made films about an overly competitive youth basketball coach, a residential dojo in Durham, and a film about what happens when competitive college athletes graduate and are supposed to "move on."

After graduation, I teamed up with fellow CDS and Duke graduates Gwendolyn Oxenham and Ryan White to direct Pelada, a documentary about street soccer around the world. I continued to work with Ryan as a co-producer and camera person on his HBO documentary, The Case Against 8. Most recently, I produced a short documentary for Amazon called The Hell-Raiser with directors Rob Epstein and Jeffrey Friedman.

I'm based in Berkeley, CA, surrounded by a great community of strong, independent documentarians. I continue to develop new projects with filmmakers in my area, but I always look forward to trips back to Durham and to CDS.