California stories, national audiences
California? It’s complicated—almost 40 million people and 40 million stories. The California Documentary Project (CDP) is a competitive grant program that supports documentary film, audio, and digital media productions that explore California in all its complexity and tell stories from every corner of the state. Projects should use the humanities to provide context, depth, and perspective, and be suitable for both California and national audiences through public and educational screenings and presentations, broadcast, streaming, and other forms of distribution. Eligible formats include, but are not limited to, features, shorts, podcasts, web series, broadcast series, VR (Virtual Reality), etc.
Funding is available in three categories:
- Research and Development Grants up to $15,000
- Production Grants up to $50,000
- CDP NextGen Grants up to $15,000
Since 2003, California Humanities has awarded almost $7.5 million through the CDP grant program to nonfiction film, audio, and interactive media projects. Each CDP project adds a new layer to a growing portrait of this state, and together help us better understand who we are and where we live. Documentaries supported through CDP include the films FREE CHOL SOO LEE, CRIP CAMP, FRUITS OF LABOR, ROMEO IS BLEEDING, TRY HARDER!, WE WERE HERE, UNITED SKATES, and HOLLYWOOD CHINESE; radio productions and podcasts THE OTHER CALIFORNIA, THE STOOP, and WHAT FIRE REVEALS; and the interactive media productions K-TOWN 92 and THE MOJAVE PROJECT.
See a list of recently supported CDP projects
|Grant Program||Application Opens||Application Deadline||Grant Period|
|CDP Production||September 1, 2023||November 1, 2023||April 1, 2024-March 31, 2027|
|CDP R&D||September 1, 2023||November 1, 2023||April 1, 2024-March 31, 2025|
|CDP NextGen||January 1, 2023||March 1, 2023||April 15, 2023-April 14, 2024|
CDP NextGen Grants
Deadline March 1, 2023
CDP NextGen grants support emerging documentary mediamakers ages 18 and under. California-based nonprofit organizations and public agencies, including schools, arts councils, tribal governments, and libraries, may apply for funding up to $15,000 to conduct youth media programming.
See a list of recently supported CDP NextGen projects
- 2023 Application
- 2023 CDP NextGen Grant Guidelines
- 2023 CDP NextGen FAQ
- 2023 CDP NextGen Budget Template
CDP Research and Development Grants
Deadline November 1, 2023
CDP Research and Development grants are designed to strengthen the humanities content and approach of documentary media productions in their earliest stages. Eligible applicants may now apply for funding up to $15,000.
The 2022 CDP deadline has passed. New guidelines will be available in August 2023. Information from the previous round is provided below for reference.
- 2022 R&D Grant Guidelines
- 2022 R&D FAQ
- 2022 R&D Budget Template
- Watch the 2022 CDP Applicant Webinar
CDP Production Grants
Deadline November 1, 2023
CDP Production grants are designed to strengthen the humanities content and approach of documentary media productions and help propel projects toward completion. Eligible applicants may apply for funding up to $50,000.
The 2022 CDP deadline has passed. New guidelines will be posted here in August 2023. Information from the previous round is provided below for reference.
Grantees, please find information on managing your grant and logos in the Grant Portal.
For more information, contact Director of Media & Journalism Programs, John Lightfoot at firstname.lastname@example.org.