Cal Humanities

"The understanding of a culture comes from hearing the language, tasting the food, seeing personal interactions, experiencing the traditions, and so much more in context."

— Elizabeth Laval & Candice Pendergrass, Sikh Youth Public History Project

"The understanding of a culture comes from hearing the language, tasting the food, seeing personal interactions, experiencing the traditions, and so much more when it is in context."

— Elizabeth Laval & Candice Pendergrass, Sikh Youth Public History Project

California Documentary Project Grants

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.

Grant Program Application Opens Application Deadline Grant Period
CDP Production September 1, 2024 November 4, 2024 April 1, 2025-March 31, 2028
CDP R&D September 1, 2024 November 4, 2024 April 1, 2025-March 31, 2026
CDP NextGen January 1, 2024 February 29, 2024 April 15, 2024-April 14, 2025

 

Join our next CDP informational session!

**Stay tuned for information on the next CDP webinar**

 

CDP NextGen Grants

February 29, 2024

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.

The next deadline is February 29. For reference, materials from the September 15 round are available below. New guidelines will post in Winter 2023.

See a list of recently supported CDP NextGen projects

 

CDP Research and Development Grants

Deadline November 4, 2024

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 apply for funding up to $15,000.

Materials from the 2023 Deadline are available for reference. New materials will be available in September 2024.

See a list of recently supported CDP projects

CDP Production Grants

Deadline November 4, 2024

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.

Materials from the 2023 Deadline are available for reference. New materials will be available in September 2024.

See a list of recently supported CDP projects

 

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 jlightfoot@calhum.org.