CAAM Documentaries for Social Change Fund




The CAAM Documentaries for Social Change Fund, supported by the John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation, will offer grants for social issue documentary films that highlight Asian American narratives. This Fund will provide much needed resources to projects for research and development and in early production.

CAAM has almost 40 years of experience in funding documentary work for public media and we have found that early seed funding is rare, but incredibly important in developing important work. We believe that these kinds of early funds can nurture a community of makers who are encouraged to take risks and explore topics that are unique and specific to the Asian American community. The early nature of this fund opens up support to filmmakers who do not already have broadcast in place, and can consider all options for distribution.

The Fund will be open to all level of makers from emerging to veteran, however, the Fund will prioritize filmmakers from historically under-represented Asian American communities such as South and Southeast Asian, traditionally undeserved geographic areas like the South, as well as regions outside major metropolitan cities.

This Fund will significantly support CAAM’s mission to advocate for Asian American stories and issues to be included in the national discourse and to codify our voices in the fabric of American society today.


  • Applicant must hold artistic, budgetary and editorial control and must own the copyright of the proposed project.
  • Applicants must be 18 years of age, be citizens or legal residents of the United States or its territories.
  • All projects in development or early stages of production are prioritized.
  • Projects in the production phase should include a 5-10 minute sample of the project that is being submitted.
  • Applicants must have previous film or television experience. If this is your first media project, you must provide a video sample that demonstrates your ability to tell a story well through a visual medium.
  • In some cases, CAAM may require a Fiscal Sponsor, which is a non-profit 501(c)(3) IRS tax-exempt entity. Your sponsor would agree to accept funds from CAAM on your behalf and is responsible for redistributing funds to the project accordingly.
  • Only one proposal per applicant will be accepted.

Projects NOT eligible:

  • Projects intended solely for theatrical release or commercial in nature.
  • Projects in which applicant is commissioned, employed or hired by a commercial entity.
  • Thesis projects or student films which are co- or solely-owned or copy-written, or otherwise editorially or fiscally controlled by the school.
  • Projects or production entities which are foreign-based, owned or controlled.
  • Industrial or promotional projects.


Our funding process will use the following guidelines in awarding funds:

  • Does the story deal with an important, current social issue in the country?
  • Is the story idea compelling, engaging, original and well-conceived?
  • Is the visual/stylistic treatment effective and distinctive?
  • Can the project be completed within a realistic timeline based on the applicant’s production and fundraising plans, personnel and budget?
  • Will the project appeal not only to Asian American viewers, but also to a broader audience?
  • Does the sample demonstrate the skills and/or potential of the applicant to complete the proposed project?
  • Has CAAM recently funded a similar topic, issue or treatment?


Send a brief Letter of Interest to with “Project Documentary for Social Change” in the subject heading describing the project and the social justice issue it tackles, key personnel involved, and why you are the best people to tell this story. CAAM will review all LOIs and contact finalists to apply for funding. CAAM will be accepting LOIs until October 29th, 2018.


mediafund [at] caamedia [dot] org with any questions.