The Center for Asian American Media (CAAM) was founded by a group of filmmakers, community leaders, and activists who recognized that in order to uplift Asian American storytellers and ensure that our stories and voices were authentically represented, they had to take the lead. Forty-one years later, CAAM’s legacy and continued commitment to change the narrative is a testament to those who believed we could change our world through purposeful storytelling and community engagement.
In 2011, as part of CAAM’s efforts to cultivate the next generation of storytellers, we launched our Fellowship Program in partnership with acclaimed independent producer Karin Chien. This program has enhanced our existing film funding initiatives by providing emerging and mid-career AAPI creatives with much-needed mentorship from an established professional in their field, resources to sustain their careers, and connections to peers and our public media, independent documentary and film, cultural, and institutional partners. Over the next five years, 20 fellows received professional development support and mentorship from 24 mentors.
CAAM re-envisioned the program in 2019 in collaboration with A-Doc (Asian American Documentary Network), with a focus on supporting Asian American documentary film producers and directors. Since then, we have worked closely with 11 fellows to pair them with accomplished mentors and create a community of makers that serves to nurture one another’s careers and creativity in the field.
One of those makers is So Yun Um, a member of our 2021 cohort who was paired with award-winning Chinese American filmmaker Nanfu Wang. Currently, So is working on her first documentary feature film, Liquor Store Dreams, which brings to light the stories of second generation Korean American children of liquor store owners in Los Angeles. She shared this reflection on how the opportunity to be mentored by Nanfu Wang has impacted her career:
“Being part of CAAM’s Fellowship and having acclaimed filmmaker Nanfu Wang as my mentor played a major role in taking my filmmaking career to the next level. They helped me develop a keen eye on how to tell a compelling story and be a more business-savvy professional in the film world. It will be an experience I will never forget.” – So Yun Um
CAAM is deeply committed to ensuring that So and other Asian American storytellers like her have access to resources and mentors to help hone their craft, find community, and thrive in the field.
With your support, CAAM will strengthen our vital work to elevate the next generation of storytellers through our talent development initiatives, expand opportunities and networks, and empower them to inspire and uplift future generations to come.
You can also donate using one of these methods:
- By credit card credit card over the phone by calling our Membership and Donor Relations Manager Jennifer Chu at at (415) 863 – 0814 x 102
- By check, made payable to the Center for Asian American Media with “2021 Annual Appeal” in the memo field and mailed to:
Center for Asian American Media
Attn: Development Department
145 Ninth Street, Suite 350
San Francisco, CA 94103-2641
If you have any questions, please email our Development team at events [AT] caamedia.org.
Banner photo: Behind the scenes on the production Liquor Store Dreams.