Young Affiliates Network

To support the next generation of storytellers and our work at the Center for Documentary Studies, CDS offers a Young Affiliates Network (approximate ages 21–50) for alumni and friends in the CDS community interested in staying engaged and giving back.

YAN membership is open to all – being a Duke alum and/or a working artist is not required.

Benefits of Young Affiliates Network (YAN) Membership include:

  • Exclusive footage of interviews with guest artists, describing their work/paths, as well as areas of interest for practicing documentarians: new equipment/technology, editing, distribution, securing funding, etc. YAN members will be invited to submit their questions in advance.
  • Two videoconference calls a year with CDS director Wesley Hogan
    • A safe space to discuss contemporary social issues peer to peer and hear new perspectives
    • Connect with fellow YAN members across the country
    • Hear firsthand updates and provide vital input and feedback on the activities of CDS
  • Private Facebook and WhatsApp groups for YAN members to communicate and share opportunities; weekly CDS e-blasts; Instagram take-over of CDS account
  • Free admission to annual YAN events in Durham (during DEMAN Weekend) and New York City
  • Informal meet-ups with fellow members  
  • Invitation to CDS events in other cities (e.g., L.A., Chicago, D.C.)   
  • Recommendations of stellar documentary work made by emerging artists   
  • Special recognition on CDS website   

YAN Members Commit to:

  • Making an annual contribution to the Center for Documentary Studies; suggested amounts:
    • Age 25 or younger, please consider a gift starting at $50–$100
    • Age 26-30, please consider a gift starting at $100–$200
    • Age 31-39, please consider a gift starting at $200–$500
    • Age 40+, please consider a gift starting at $500+
    • Gifts can be paid in installments online
    • Annual donors of $250+ are also eligible to receive CDS Circle benefits**
  • Inviting friends to local YAN events or events featuring CDS work (where possible)
  • 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.