March 31, 2016
For Immediate Release
Media Contact: Jody Sahota
(Oakland, CA) California Humanities is pleased to announce the recipients of the 2016 California Documentary Project (CDP) grants. This year we have awarded $391,500 to 15 film, radio, and new media productions that reflect a diverse range of topics and issues, ranging from a deeply personal look at the power of positive mentorship in stemming the school to prison pipeline; to the unexpected stories of Compton, California’s African American cowboys; to the phenomenon of “birth tourism” in Southern California’s San Gabriel Valley; to a multimedia project documenting the stories of people and communities effected by climate migration due to drought in California’s Central Valley.
Since 2003, California Humanities has awarded over $4.5 million to film, radio, and new media projects that document vital California subjects and issues and that reach and engage statewide and national audiences through broadcast and distribution, at film festivals and community screenings, in classrooms, and online.
“California Humanities has a long history of supporting important and accessible documentaries that tell the story of this state and that help us better understand our past, present, and future,” said Julie Fry, President & CEO of California Humanities. “We’re proud to support these 15 new extraordinary film, radio, and new media documentaries.”
Production Grants Awarded ($355,000 in total):
Chasing Voices: J.P. Harrington and the Revival of Native Languages (film)
Project Director: Daniel Golding, Sponsor: Advocates for Indigenous California Language Survival
Chasing Voices: J.P. Harrington and the Revival of Native Languages documents the Native American language revitalization movement and the anthropologist who in the early 1900s created an invaluable archive by recording many of the last Native American language speakers.
Curse of the Mutant Heirloom (film)
Project Directors: Debra Schaffner and Julie Wyman, Sponsor: Women Make Movies, Inc.
Curse of the Mutant Heirloom tells the story of women who have been diagnosed with the BRCA genetic mutation, or a hereditary predisposition for breast and ovarian cancer. Through the experiences BRCA “previvors”, the film addresses issues of health, gender, and the ethical questions raised by medicine’s increasing capabilities.
Diamond Diplomacy: U.S. Japan Relations Through a Shared Love of Baseball (film)
Project Director: Yuriko Romer, Sponsor: Center for Independent Documentary
Diamond Diplomacy: U.S. Japan Relations Through a Shared Love of Baseball documents the complex cultural and political relationship between the United States and Japan, as seen through both countries’ long and intertwined history of baseball.
Fire on The Hill (film)
Project Director: Brett Fallentine, Sponsor: Creative Visions Foundation
Fire on The Hill tells the unexpected story of Compton, California’s African American cowboys and the fight to preserve their community and stable, one of the last remaining vestiges of the Old West in modern day Los Angeles.
The First Day of the Rest of Your Life (film)
Project Director: David Lalé, Sponsor: Hartley Film Foundation
The First Day of the Rest of Your Life documents the rise and fall of Synanon, a drug and alcohol recovery-based alternative community founded in 1970’s Los Angeles. Through interviews with former members the film delves deeply into the idea of community and California’s role as an epicenter of social experimentation.
How to Have an American Baby (film)
Project Director: Leslie Tai, Sponsor: From the Heart Productions, Inc.
How to Have an American Baby examines the phenomenon of “birth tourism” in Southern California’s San Gabriel Valley. Set primarily in a community known in parts of China as “the City of Big-bellied Women,” the film tells the stories of Chinese women who travel to the U.S. to give birth in order to obtain US citizenship for their babies and the “baby hotels” that accommodate them.
Lost L.A. (film)
Project Director: Hugh McHarg, Sponsor: University of Southern California
Lost L.A., a co-production of USC Libraries and KCETLink, explores hidden and all-but lost aspects of Southern California’s environmental and social history, including the origins of iconic locations like Dodger Stadium, downtown Los Angeles, its freeway system, and the now-paved-over canals of Venice.
No Straight Lines: 4 Decades of Queer Comics (film)
Project Director: Vivian Kleiman, Sponsor: Catticus Corporation
No Straight Lines chronicles the story of LGBTQ comics and provides a unique window into the hopes, fears, and fantasies of LGBTQ people through four decades, from Stonewall, to the AIDS crisis, to same sex marriage.
Oscar Zeta Acosta: The Brown Buffalo (film)
Project Director: Phillip Rodriguez, Sponsor: CCNMA: Latino Journalists of California
Oscar Zeta Acosta: The Brown Buffalo documents the life and legacy of the Chicano writer, lawyer, and activist who has best been remembered in popular culture for his fictionalized depiction as Dr. Gonzo in Hunter S. Thompson’s classic novel, Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas.
The Pushouts (film)
Project Director: Sharon Tiller, Sponsor: Center for Investigative Reporting
The Specialist is a radio series and podcast examining the changing nature of work as told through the experiences of the people doing the labor. The series reveals hidden stories of essential though behind-the-scenes jobs and examines the impact of a labor market that increasingly employs people for part-time, contract-based work.
The Specialist (radio)
Project Director: Casey Miner, Sponsor: Bay Area Video Coalition
The Specialist is a radio series and podcast examining the changing nature of work as told through the experiences of the people doing the labor.
Research and Development Grants Awarded ($36,500 in total):
¡Eureka! (new media)
Project Director: John Jota Leaños, Sponsor: Galeria De La Raza
¡Eureka! is a half-hour animated documentary and interactive graphic novel that uses cartoons, music, and humor to weave an alternative social history of California, tracing key moments of colonial California and the making of the West from Native and Latina/o perspectives.
Free Chol Soo Lee (film)
Project Director: Eugene Yi and Julie Ha, Sponsor: The K.W. Lee Center for Leadership
Free Chol Soo Lee explores the little-known story of Korean American Chol Soo Lee, whose wrongful conviction of a 1973 murder sparked the first pan-Asian American social justice movement. More than 40 years later, the film looks at the legacy of this case and its role in forging a community.
Leaving the Dust (new media)
Project Director: Zoë Meyer, Sponsor: Sustainable Markets Foundation
Leaving the Dust is a multimedia project that documents stories of climate migration due to drought in California, looking at the human stories behind the statistics and exploring the role environmental conditions play in patterns of instability and displacement throughout the Central Valley.
Living in the Shadows of Serra (film)
Project Director: Nanobah Becker, Sponsor: Sacred Places Institute for Indigenous People
Living in the Shadows of Serra explores the complex relationship between California Native Nations and the Mission System, as contemporary descendants of the Acjachemen people and others reflect on the legacy of Junipero Serra.
About the California Documentary Project
The California Documentary Project (CDP) is a competitive grants program that supports documentary film, radio, and new media productions that enhance our understanding of California and its cultures, peoples, and histories. Grant amounts range from $10,000 to $50,000. Previous CDP grantees include Last Day of Freedom (2016 Academy Award nominee), The Return (Tribeca Film Festival, San Francisco International Film Festival, POV), The Case Against 8 (Sundance Film Festival, HBO), No Más Bebés (Los Angeles Film Festival, Independent Lens), We Were Here: The AIDS Years in San Francisco (Sundance Film Festival, Independent Lens), and Dorothea Lange: Grab a Hunk of Lightning (American Masters).
About California Humanities
California Humanities is an independent non-profit and state partner of the National Endowment for the Humanities. To find out more about California Humanities and the projects we support, visit www.calhum.org.