We’ve expanded our Annual Rough Cut Film Festival
to unite and celebrate powerful voices in youth media.

Back in 2009, five students and their history teacher started building a small company out of the classroom to cut their teeth on meaningful media projects. Soon after live-streaming the TEDxNYED conference in NYC, Rough Cut Productions was born! TEDxPhilly came calling in 2010, providing a local opportunity to showcase what happens when you trust students with professional responsibilities.

Seven years later, our nonprofit has affiliation with the Culture Trust of Greater Philadelphia, Philadelphia Cultural Fund, Global Philadelphia Association, National Association of Media Literacy in Education (NAMLE) and has presented at numerous international education conferences.

Each year about 150 students enroll in Rough Cut courses to explore media creation at Science Leadership Academy. Our first major class is set to graduate from top flight media programs the likes of USC Film, NYU, Emerson, The New School, Temple Film, Pratt, Penn State and Drexel. 

Rough Cut continues to expand, offering online courses in India and Kenya, continues to produce award-winning original short films (20 and counting) and is set to debut a 4th exhibition of professional photography.

But our mission needs to evolve as thousands at neighborhood schools in Philly simply do not have the opportunity to develop the visual communication skills every post-secondary community demands. We believe deeply that through media creation training we can achieve equity in our society.

So we’re building out this Festival to showcase the amazing work of young media creators in Philly, and to advocate for an expansion of programming to reach all students in our city who do not have access.

With your help, Rough Cut Studios- a centrally located media art creation space- will be accessible for any public school student in Philly interested in earning academic credit while they explore media creation.


Our leadership is comprised of current/former students and Rough Cut’s founding director.