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

List of California Documentary Project NextGen Grants


Boyle Heights Beat/Radio Pulso: Teen Talk
Applicant Organization: Social and Environmental Entrepreneurs
Project Director: Christine Kelley

Radio Pulso is an audio project of Boyle Heights Beat, which has been providing “noticias por y para la comunidad” or “news for and by the community” since 2010. The program is designed to provide youth with valuable skills in journalism and media production. The new podcast Teen Talk will train Boyle Heights youth to create high-quality podcasts in a journalistic format that help inform the community about important issues from their perspectives.

SEEDS of Pomona: Media Training & Workforce Development Program
Applicant Organization: Gente Organizada
Project Director: Enrique Villa

In support of Pomona’s next generation of BIPOC storytellers, Gente Organizada’s SEEDS of Pomona: Media Training & Workforce Development Program provides media production training for a cohort of youth as they explore personal topics and themes informed by history, culture, and identity. Participants will document the experiences of BIPOC youth in Pomona’s school system through short films and podcasts. These youth-created works will become part of a web-based project featuring additional resources and insights about the local school system. Youth participating in the project will receive additional training in video editing and production, writing and podcasting.

tbh: a podcast by, about, and for teenagers
Applicant Organization: KALW Public Media
Project Director: Holly J. McDede

KALW’s award-winning public radio newsroom will work with Bay Area teens to produce tbh, a podcast created by high school students. Through an 8-week summer educational training academy KALW will educate and train young people to develop critical thinking skills, insight into society and culture, and understanding of the world we inhabit. Using their own voices, they will use media as an engagement tool and create multiple avenues for other young people, educators, parents, and more to hear these perspectives from teens about the issues that most impact them.

Unsung Heroes Youth Podcast Program
Applicant Organization: Balay Kreative / Kultivate Labs
Project Director: Nicole Salaver

Balay Kreative presents a Youth Podcast Program, “Unsung Heroes”, a summer series of 8 storytelling and podcast workshops for Filipinx high schoolers in the San Francisco Bay Area. These workshops teach high school students interviewing skills, the importance of storytelling, documenting oral history, and how to produce and edit an entire podcast episode. The summer series of workshops will culminate during Filipino American History Month event in the fall where students will present their work at the annual Undiscovered Festival which hosts up to 10,000 attendees each year.

And It Goes On
Applicant Organization: YR Media
Project Director: Wen Yu

And It Goes On is a short documentary series aimed at uncovering aspects of culture that helped shape who youth participants are today, whether through their communities, individuals, or the subcultures they are drawn to. Students will create short documentaries using a mix of found footage, video recordings, and interviews, and research the history of pop culture and countercultures to understand the influence and evolution of its form and why it continues to thrive today.

CMAC Youth Voices
Applicant Organization: CMAC (Community Media Access Collaborative)
Project Director: Johnny Pecina

A project intended to cultivate and amplify the voices of Central Valley youth, CMAC Youth Voices will foster critical thinking through storytelling while increasing technical and creative skills in media production. The program seeks to empower young people with the skills necessary to not only become better consumers and creators of media, but also provide them with the confidence to educate their community, advocate for their concerns, and increase the impact of their voices.

Emerging Makers at Second Chance
Applicant Organization: Media Arts Center San Diego
Project Director: Seth Gadsden

Emerging Makers (EM) at Second Chance benefits San Diego-area system-engaged youth ages 14–18 by providing them with documentary production knowledge, technical training, media literacy tools, a safe environment to explore personal narratives and social justice concepts, and a deeper appreciation of the moving image. Students in EM are alumni of San Diego Second Chance programs or Juvenile Court Community Schools (JCCS) and have often experienced the foster care system or being unhoused. Participants work with professional filmmakers and collaborate to produce short documentaries that deepen their understanding of the impact of systemic harm, restorative practices, community, and health.

Girls’ Voices Now
Applicant Organization: Women’s Voices Now
Project Director: Chelsea Byers

Girls’ Voices Now (GVN) provides opportunities for girls and femme-identifying youth ages 14-18 from underrepresented and low-income communities of the Greater Los Angeles area to find, develop, and use their voice for social change through filmmaking. The program teaches participants to produce their first short documentary film and how to use it to ignite positive social change they wish to see in their lives, communities and beyond. In addition to technical and creative media production, participants also learn leadership skills such as public speaking, building confidence in voicing opinions, critical thinking, and collaboration, and personal skills such as building self-esteem.

Native Youth Take Action Media Workshop
Applicant Organization: Barcid Foundation
Project Director: Patricia Gomes

The Native Youth Multimedia Workshop program is designed to empower Native youth by providing opportunities to produce films about their tribal community, history, language and culture. With a mission is to improve media portrayals of Native Americans and to increase the number of Native American artists in all facets of the media industry, the program encourages educational achievement through media projects that empower Native Americans, enhance academic and economic growth opportunities, and preserve Native American community culture and heritage.

Nuevas Novelas
Applicant Organization: Community Partners with Justice for My Sister
Project Director: Kimberly Bautista

Nuevas Novelas is a storytelling and community engagement media intensive for teens of color, ages 13-18, covering media literacy, storytelling, and filmmaking. In 2024, Nuevas Novelas will serve 20 emerging youth filmmakers in the San Fernando Valley with a curriculum emphasis on Documenting Urban Planning and Imagining Environmental Justice. Students learn about media literacy, the environmental issues affecting their communities, and how to flip the script on traditional narratives about ethnicity, race, and gender that contribute to misrepresentation in the TV and film industry, as well as the news, social media, and pop culture.


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 will engage students at two Bay Area high schools in producing podcasts focused on one of the greatest challenges facing youth in California today, the ability to build sustainable community across difference.

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 own 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 course of the 2021-22 school year in the development of 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 voice through filmmaking. Over the course of five weeks using 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.



artworxLA Podcasting Workshop: Power Over Stigma
The H.E.Art Project dba artworxLA
Project Director: Raúl Flores
A youth podcasting workshop for students at the Design & Media Arts Academy at Los Angeles Unified School District’s Central High School exploring themes of hypervisibility, invisibility, and racism.

 CMAC Youth Voices
Community Media Access Collaborative

Project Director: Bryan Harley
A project to cultivate and amplify the voices of Fresno’s youth through the production of documentary videos on topics such as restorative justice practices, immigration, health, education, and other issues of community concern.

GlobalGirl Media

Project Director: Joanna Friedman
A training program for young women of color in Los Angeles to use digital storytelling tools to process the pain, confusion, and outrage over racial, economic, and gender injustice.

I Am Living as A Black Boy
Sunnyside Baptist Church

Project Director: Dr. Dyke “DK” Redmond
A youth-led documentary project exploring the issues, challenges, and hopes of young black males in South Central Los Angeles.

OFF THE BLOCK 2020: Visions of California
UCR ARTS at the University of California, Riverside

Project Director: Nikolay Maslov
A summer documentary filmmaking program for high school students in Riverside County.

Many Stories, One Town: Cultural Perspectives from Oakland Youth
Oakland Public Education Fund/Youth Beat

Project Director: Jake Schoneker
Oakland public high school students will write, film, and edit personal commentaries that explore a personally meaningful aspect of diversity in Oakland.

Nuevas Novelas—Ancestral Ways into the Future
Justice for my Sister, A Project of Community Partners

Project Director: Kimberly Bautista
A racial justice and gender equality online storytelling program for Los Angeles youth to create interview-based podcasts about land stewardship, environmentalism, community wellness, and media literacy.

tbh: What Teenagers Want Out of the 2020 Election
KALW Public Media

Project Director: Ben Trefny
A podcast series produced by Bay Area high school students that considers the social justice issues at the forefront of American politics that impact teenagers every day, from gun control to immigration to healthcare.

Unchartered: Bay Area Teens Document Living Through COVID-19
Bay Area Video Coalition Inc.

Project Director: Isa Nakazawa
Bay Area teens from diverse backgrounds create video diaries and short documentaries about their unique experiences and reflections during the COVID-19 crisis.

“Zoom In” Series: The End of Racism and Sexism Starts with Stories
BAYCAT (Bayview Hunters Point Center for Arts & Technology)

Project Director: Nisa Sanders
An award-winning web series of documentary shorts produced start-to-finish youth, exploring critical social justice issues about the Bay Area region—from the perspective of young people.


BAYCAT’s Zoom In Series: Your New Storytellers Are Here!  

Bayview Hunters Point Center for Arts and Technology, San Francisco, CA
Project Director: Nisa Sanders
BAYCAT (Bayview Hunters Point Center for Arts & Technology (BAYCAT)’s Youth Academy will provide free hands-on digital media training to young storytellers from low-income Bay Area communities of color, empowering them to discover and activate their own creative voices and narratives. Youth work in cohorts to produce themed episodes of their award-winning media series Zoom In, which explores critical social justice issues and responds to local current events from the perspective of youth themselves. The project serves as an opportunity to not only celebrate diverse youth storytellers and build social justice awareness around the issues they face, but also to shine light on the solutions that youth propose. $15,000

Get Lit Globe

Get Lit Words Ignite, Inc., Los Angeles, CA
Project Director: Samuel Curtis
Literary Riot Media, Get Lit’s youth media program for students ages 13 to 18, will produce Get Lit Globe, a documentary and interview web series hosted by acclaimed Los Angeles poet, Maia Mayor. Maia will speak with well-known poets, authors, and thinkers covering issues that connect all writers around the globe, explore the diverse neighborhoods of LA seen through the lens of a poet, and create an intimate, real-world portrait of the city and its youth culture. $15,000 

Kayamanan Ng Lahi’s (KNL’s) Media PAMANA Project 

Visual Communications, Los Angeles, CA
Project Director: Giselle Tongi
KNL’s Media PAMANA Project will train youth participants (called Pamana/ Jr. Sayawit) of Kayamanan ng Lahi Philippine Folk Arts group in media production skills to create short videos that explore their immigrant identity through the cultural traditions and customs of Philippine folk arts. Through documenting the stories of their immigrant families, culture, and community, media becomes the vehicle for self-expression and self-identification. $15,000

Radio Pulso

USC Annenberg Center for Health Journalism/Boyle Heights Beat, Los Angeles, CA
Project Director: Michelle Levander
Radio Pulso is a community radio program and podcast hosted and reported by youth reporters that covers topics relevant to the low-income, largely immigrant Los Angeles neighborhood of Boyle Heights. With community input, youth reporters choose the subject matter for each podcast and research and write and produce the shows with mentoring from professional journalists. Radio Pulso is a project of Boyle Heights Beat, a youth development program and bilingual news source that has been providing “noticias por y para la comunidad” or “news for and by the community” since 2010. $14,298

#TimesUp, Now What?

Reel Stories – A Film Program for Girls, Oakland, CA
Project Director: Esther Pearl
Through found footage, interviews, and conversations, Reel Stories teen-aged female and gender non-binary filmmakers will develop and produce a short film on their perspectives in the age of #MeToo and #TimesUp. The film will create a platform for these young filmmakers to develop their voices and documentary storytelling skills, as well to become leaders and advocates for a more equitable future. $14,050


California Dreamers

Echo Park Film Center, Los Angeles, CA
Project Director: Lisa Marr
Echo Park Film Center’s Summer Youth Class will focus on untold stories of Los Angeles’ undocumented population and create short documentary films that examine, explore and celebrate the lives of some of the state’s 2.5 million undocumented individuals. Participants between the ages of 12 and 18—including youth who are themselves undocumented—will learn about the current state and history of migrants through film, guest speakers and the surrounding community. $12,500

First Vote Project

Venice Arts, Venice, CA
Project Director: Issa Sharp
First Vote engages filmmakers ages 15 to 18 to produce a series of short films that use storytelling to explore issues important to young people who will be first time voters in 2020. In collaboration with a humanities advisor, participants will explore how their interests and concerns relate to the larger social, cultural and political landscape. $15,000

Influences & Influencers: San Francisco Youth Map Their Media

KALW San Francisco Unified School District, San Francisco, CA
Project Director: Ben Trefny
San Francisco Bay Area public radio station KALW will offer a two-phase podcasting project built on the station’s current training program in San Francisco Unified School District classrooms and its summer high school internship. Through youth-led research, workshops, and the creation of a six-part podcast series, the project will explore issues of media literacy and media’s influence on young Californians and their communities. $14,745

Nuevas Novelas Filmmaking Bootcamp

Justice for my Sister, A Project of Community Partners, Los Angeles, CA
Project Director: Kimberly Bautista
Justice for my Sister Collective will provide video production training for 18 young women of color and non-binary youth through an innovative and integrative creative training process. Participants will gain media literacy skills, hands-on experience with film industry professionals and storytelling skills as they produce short documentary films created by the youth themselves. $15,000

Speak City Heights Youth Voices

Media Arts Center San Diego, San Diego, CA
Project Director: Larry DaSilveira
Youth Voices is a 12-month initiative intended to amplify the voices of immigrant and refugee teens living in San Diego’s most diverse neighborhood, City Heights. The project will engage 60 students at two area Title 1 high schools, and work with professional media artists, a humanities advisor and project director to produce short documentary films about pertinent City Heights issues. $15,000

UCR Arts—Off the Block—Birth to Innovation

Regents of the University of California at Riverside, Riverside, CA
Project Director: Nikolay Maslov
Off the Block is an award-winning, free media literacy and documentary production workshop designed to provide local high school students with an intensive summer learning experience. The workshop exposes emerging filmmakers to the history of film and documentary and equips them with artistic concepts and technical skills to complete their own documentary short. $15,000

The Oakland Public Education Fund / Youth Beat, Oakland, CA
Project Director: Jake Schoneker
Youth Beat will work with a team of ten advanced filmmaking students to produce a short documentary film that explores the rapidly changing face of Oakland and what this change means for youth in the city. The resulting film will be broadcast on education access station KDOL-TV and featured in a community screening and discussion event. $15,000

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