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A triptych photo showing a person wearing a hijab in from of the film festival sign, three person looking at a video camera, and a youth wearing a hijab on a busy street shooting footage with a video camera.
Photo Courtesy of Arab Film and Media Institute / Takalam: Arab Youth Speak Up! Project

New 2021 CDP NextGen Grants Announced

California is home to over 9 million young people under 18 years, and we want to hear what they have to say. CDP NextGen supports emerging California mediamakers ages 18 and under as they learn to produce short documentary films and podcasts that shed light not only on the problems we face, but also on the solutions that youth are proposing, and the futures they envision.

California Humanities is pleased to announce $75,000 in new grants to five youth media projects from around the state through the 2021 CDP NextGen Grant program. Projects range from a summer youth leadership and digital learning workshop for Arab American youth, a year-long podcasting project by students in the Pasadena Unified School District, to a project empowering girls and femme-identifying youth in Los Angeles County to find, develop, and use their voice through filmmaking.

“This newest group of CDP NextGen grantees reflect a wonderful range of voices and perspectives from innovative young storytellers throughout the state of California,” said Julie Fry, President & CEO of California Humanities. “It’s an honor to be able to support these documentary projects, and we look forward to them sharing their films and podcasts on subjects and issues of importance to their lives and their communities.”

CDP NextGen is a youth-focused category of the longstanding California Documentary Project grant program. Through CDP NextGen, California Humanities has awarded over $400,000 to nonprofit organizations and public agencies that provide training in documentary production to emerging mediamakers as they create short, insightful nonfiction films and podcasts that tell original stories about life in California today. We are particularly interested in projects that, in addition to providing technical training in media production, actively support young Californians in thinking critically about media messages. NextGen grants are available for up to $15,000 per project.

California Humanities would like to thank all of this year’s CDP NextGen applicants and the many reviewers who contributed their time and expertise to help make the selections.

2021 CDP NextGen Projects:

Arab Film and Media Institute 
Takalam: Arab Youth Speak Up! 
Project Director: Donna Khorsheed 

Takalam: Arab Youth Speak Up! is AFMI’s summer youth leadership and digital learning workshop for Arab and Arab-American youth aged 13 to 18. This on-hands summer intensive encompasses all aspects of filmmaking, and students complete 2-3 short films plus a group film project. The films are exhibited throughout the year as well as at the annual Arab Film Festival.

Mt. Diablo Unified School District 
Building the Collective I: Telling Youth Stories through Podcasting 
Project Director: Pablo Gonzalez 

This collaboration between the UC Berkeley Ethnic Studies Changemaker project and the Mt. Diablo Unified School District engages students at two Bay Area high schools in producing podcasts focused on one of the most significant challenges facing youth in California today. The ability to build a sustainable community across differences.  

Pacific Arts Movement 
Reel Voices Youth Documentary Filmmaking 
Project Director: Kent Lee 

Reel Voices is a year-round high school documentary filmmaking program serving San Diego County students. In addition to learning how to produce their films, students also develop critical thinking and storytelling skills and have the opportunity to premiere their films at the San Diego Asian Film Festival to an international audience.

Pasadena Community Access Corporation  
Pasadena Youth Voices Podcast Project 
Project Director: Chris Miller 

In partnership with the Pasadena Unified School District (PUSD), this project will engage predominantly low-income, urban, Latinx, and Black high school youth over the 2021-22 school year in developing a series of podcasts on local issues that are important to their lives.

Women’s Voices Now 
Girls’ Voices Now 
Project Director: Ariane Thielenhaus 

Girls’ Voices Now (GVN) empowers girls and femme-identifying youth in Los Angeles County to find, develop, and use their voices through filmmaking. For five weeks using a curriculum that combines technical training with leadership and critical thinking skills, 20 participants aged 14-18 will learn to make their first short documentary films.

A youth holds a video camera and smiles while looking at it.
Photo courtesy of Women’s Voices Now/Girls’ Voices Now Project.

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