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California Documentary Project

What do a Latina bicycle brigade in East LA, a young poet’s adaptation of Romeo and Juliet set in Richmond, CA; Howard Jarvis, Proposition 13 and California 1970’s tax revolt; iconic photographer Dorothea Lange; and the reintegration of thousands of “lifers” following California’s amendment of its Three Strikes Law have in common?

They’re just a few of the stories told by the film, radio, and new media productions we’ve supported through the California Documentary Project (CDP). Each adds a new layer to a complex and growing portrait of California. Together, they help us better understand who we are and where we live.

We at California Humanities have a long history of supporting exceptional film, radio and interactive documentaries that uncover, interpret and share the experiences and stories of California and Californians. CDP projects have been nominated for Academy Awards, won Emmys, and garnered Peabody Awards. They have aired nationally on PBS, HBO, and NPR, and they reach and engage statewide and national audiences at community screenings, in classrooms, at film festivals and online. They inspire lively conversation, quiet reflection, and surprising epiphanies about compelling and provocative issues, ideas, and subjects of our time.

Since 2003 California Humanities has awarded over $4.5 million in research and development, production, and public engagement grant awards to media makers who go deep and reach broadly to capture California in all its complexity. Recent projects include No Mas Bebes?, Last Day of Freedom, Romeo is Bleeding, California Foodways Radio Series, The Ovarian Psycos, Forever Chinatown, The Return, The Case Against 8, Dorothea Lange: Grab a Hunk of Lightning, Real Boy, Everyday Sunshine: The Story of Fishbone, and many more.


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Congratulations to the 2020 California Documentary Project Grantees

16 grantees will receive a total of $420,000 for Production, Research & Development.