Film Documentary Media close up shot

Documentary films are an important tool in preserving culture and tradition, and they help create the social, political and economic realities we would like to see in the world and in our communities.

UWM’s Department of Film, Video, Animation and New Genres is committed to leveraging documentary media to give students opportunities to develop imaginative skills that are matched by their ability to learn and use technologies to say something important.


Film Documentary Media
Film Documentary Media
Film Documentary Media
Film Documentary Media

As the documentary media center in the Department of Film, Video, Animation & New Genres, doc|UWM bridges academics with real world experience and gives students the unique opportunity to work on professional productions. Students and faculty collaborate on short-form videos that raise awareness about a variety of contemporary political and social issues as well as feature-length documentaries for public television broadcast.

Our videos touch on diverse subjects such as elder abuse and fraud, freshwater researchers, history of the Brady Street Neighborhood, Hmong culture, Latinos in agriculture, a successful inner city track team, music documentaries, unique Milwaukee neighborhoods, and conservation, racism, and mass incarceration.

Funding sponsors have included The Medical College of Wisconsin, Wisconsin Servant Leadership, Brady Street Business Improvement District,  The National Poetry Foundation, Milwaukee County Department on Aging, Peace Learning Center, StoryCorps, The Coalition for Jewish Learning, The Helen Bader Foundation, The Wisconsin Preservation Fund, David & Julia Uihlein Charitable Foundation, the Herzfeld Foundation, On The Commons, the ACLU of Wisconsin, Milwaukee County Library System, among others.

  • Teaching Faculty II, Film, Video, Animation and New Genres
  • Program Director, docUWM

doc|UWM Projects & Videos

Cream City Soundtrack

Cream City Soundcheck brings together the Milwaukee music scene with the city’s historical and cultural landscapes to create an original music video project. Each video chronicles bands as they explore diverse places and perform at popular music venues throughout the city. Designed as a way for UWM Film students to gain professional documentary skills through creative and practical application.

Milwaukee Water Commons

Milwaukee Water Commons is a cross-city network that fosters connection, collaboration and broad community leadership on behalf of our common waters by promoting stewardship of equitable access to and shared decision-making for our common waters. doc|UWM hops on the boat to help further this important mission through their important documentary media work.

Community Media Project

Milwaukee “Hang-Tough” Girls. Community Media Project workshop 1992
Milwaukee “Hang-Tough” Girls. Community Media Project workshop 1992.

The Community Media Project (CMP) was founded to serve diverse audiences by presenting engaging and ground-breaking free screenings, workshops and film forums representing the many and scattered African Diaspora. Since its inception in 1985, the CMP provided programming that was diverse and inclusive in its scope. The CMP forged strong partnerships with community-based agencies, including YMCA, Boys and Girls Clubs, Children’s Outing Association, Mid-Town Neighborhood Association, Neighborhood House, Journey House and El Puente Alternative High School.

The Community Media Project inspired programs in Milwaukee that have succeeded it, including but not limited to the Milwaukee Film Festival’s Black Lens and True Skool. Today, its legacy is an important aspect of the Department of Film, Animation, Video & New Genres, and its mission continues through founder Portia Cobb in her work as a mentor to students, documentary filmmakers and community organizations across the world.

Portia Cobb Headshot
  • Associate Professor, Film, Video, Animation and New Genres
  • Director, Community Media Project