In the late 1990’s, Victory Videos, a music video program much like MTV, was started in the basement of old St. George Church in Clifton. Victory Videos was a weekly television program on WCPO in Cincinnati, hosted by local teenagers. During the same time period, a youth pastor in Fairfield, Ohio, started The Underground, with a mission to provide a safe place for teenagers to listen to great local music and nationally signed bands. In 2003, these two organizations merged to form The Underground and moved into a 13,000 sq. ft. venue located in Forest Park, Ohio.
Through the years, the mission has stayed the same, but our approach and programs have evolved to best meet the growing demands and passions that teenagers have for more music and media. For over ten years, The Underground hosted many national bands and artists to sold out crowds of 1,200 people. During that time, The Underground also launched a media program that experienced tremendous growth, hosting sold-out summer film camps and after school enrichment programs.
In 2017, The Underground began collaborating with the Golden Lion Awards High School Film Festival, a nonprofit that provided award recognition for teens in and around the Midwest. In June 2018, The Underground and Golden Lion Awards merged to form the Academy of Cinematic Arts. As part of the merger and program consolidation, The Underground moved out of its building on Smiley Avenue and discontinued its music program in favor of expanding film/media/broadcast programming.
Today, the Academy of Cinematic Arts offers state of the art programs that impact the community and provide a safe space where youth (ages 8-19) can build community, encounter positive adult influences, and develop creative and artistic skills. Our studio is located on the campus of Bethany Baptist Church in Liberty Township, Ohio.