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California Documentary Project Grants

Left to right: No Mas Bebes, Romeo is Bleeding, The Force and Ovarian Psycos

The California Documentary Project (CDP) is a competitive grant program that supports the research and development and production stages of film, audio, and digital media projects that seek to document California in all its complexity. Projects should use the humanities to provide context, depth and perspective and reach and engage broad audiences through multiple means, including but not limited to radio and television broadcasts, podcasts, online distribution and interactive media, community screenings and discussions, in classrooms and libraries, at cultural centers, film festivals, and beyond. Funding is available in three categories:

  • CDP NEXT GEN Grants up to $15,000 
  • Research and Development Grants up to $10,000 
  • Production Grants up to $50,000 

Since 2003, California Humanities has awarded over $5 million to projects that document California and its cultures, peoples, and histories, and that together help us better understand who we are and where we live. Recently supported projects include the podcasts and radio series California Foodways, The Stoop and The Intersection; interactive and transmedia documentaries such as K-TOWN ‘92 and The Mojave Project; and documentary films such as REAL BOY, The Return, Forever, Chinatown, No Más Bebés? , The Last Day of Freedom, Romeo is Bleeding, Ovarian Psycos, Tribal Justice, Dogtown Redemption and many more.

CDP Research and Development Grants

CDP Research and Development grants are designed to strengthen the humanities content and approach of documentary media productions in their earliest stages. Projects must actively involve at least three humanities advisors to help frame and contextualize subject matter throughout the research and development phase. Eligible applicants may apply for funding up to $10,000.

The next application deadline for 2019 is Nov 1, 2019 (grant period March 1, 2020 – February 2022).

List of Funded CDP Grants

2019 CDP R&D Guidelines

Watch Grant Application Webinar

CDP Production Grants

CDP Production grants are designed to strengthen the humanities content and approach of documentary media productions and help propel projects toward completion. Projects must be in the production stage, have a work-in-progress to submit, and actively involve at least two humanities advisors to help frame and contextualize subject matter throughout the production process. Eligible applicants may apply for funding up to $50,000. 

The next application deadline for 2019 is Nov 1, 2019 (grant period March 1, 2020 – February 2023).

List of Funded CDP Grants

2019 CDP Production Guidelines

Watch Grant Application Webinar

CDP NEXT GEN Grants

CDP NEXT GEN grants are designed for youth media organizations in support of emerging California mediamakers age 18 and under. Presented in alignment with CA 2020: Youth Perspective and the Future of California, our new statewide initiative that focuses on the lives and experiences of young Californians, CDP NEXT GEN invites applications from California-based nonprofit organizations and public agencies with established track records in youth media programming to provide training and support to emerging mediamakers in the creation of short, insightful nonfiction films and/or podcasts that tell original stories about life in California today.

CDP NEXT GEN intends to support short documentary films or podcasts that shed light on not only the problems we face, but also on the solutions that youth are proposing and the futures they envision. Eligible applicants may apply for funding up to $15,000. The next application deadline will be in March 2020. Guidelines for 2019 are posted below.

List of Funded CDP NEXT GEN Grants

2019 CDP NEXT GEN Guidelines

Watch the Recorded 2019 CDP Next Gen Application Webinar

For more information, contact Senior Program Officer, John Lightfoot.