Filmmaker Support

The Center for Asian American Media (CAAM) supports Asian American directors, producers and writers through our robust fellowship programs, from our CAAM Fellowship Program to the James T. Yee Fellowship, our Public Media Corps Fellows, and Ready, Set, Pitch! at CAAMFest.

CAAM is currently developing a new program that will include the CAAM Future Fund and a Fellowship Program for Asian American directors and producers with an emphasis on makers from regions and communities that are often under-represented, such as the American South. The program supports emerging nonfiction filmmakers with mentoring, professional development and funding opportunities as well as networking and community building efforts around the country.

CAAM is grateful for support from the John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation, the Ford Foundation, and the Corporation for Public Broadcasting on our new strategy for filmmaker support.

We are excited to be partnering with the Asian American Documentary community via A-Doc and other film and arts organizations like the Southern Documentary Fund, Appalshop, the Austin Film Society, and others.

Look for our announcement in 2018 for more information about the program.

CAAM Fellowship Archive

During 2010 to 2015, CAAM’s Fellowship Program worked with Producer Karin Chien to nurture Asian American media talent in both documentary and narrative genres with leading professionals in the field. The CAAM Fellowship Program with its unique field-wide approach seeking to develop the talents and skills of a range of media professions including producers, directors, actors, editors and writers.

Participating fellows had individually tailored mentor – fellow relationships to best fit the needs of the fellows and advisors. Fellowships ranged from fully integrated collaborations to regular feedback on current projects to an ongoing dialogue about professional development. Fellows also had the opportunity to connect with the larger community of Asian American media professionals through Producers Workshops at CAAMFest and a CAAM Fellowship Program Retreat in Los Angeles for all participating mentors and fellows.

The CAAM Fellowship Program is made possible with special support provided by the Academy of Motion Picture Arts & Sciences and the Corporation for Public Broadcasting (CPB).

Karin Chien, Director of CAAM Fellowship Program

Karin Chien is an independent film producer based in New York City, and the 2010 recipient of the Independent Spirit Producers Award. Karin has produced ten feature-length films, including The Exploding Girl (2009), The Motel (2005) and Robot Stories (2002), which have won over 75 festival awards, premiered at Sundance and Berlin, and received international distribution. Karin is the president and founder of dGenerate Films, the leading distributor of independent Chinese cinema. Karin is the curator and producer of the Chinatown Film Project, an inaugural film exhibition for the Museum of Chinese in America.

CAAM Fellowship Program Mentor

Angela Cheng Caplan is the President and CEO of Cheng Caplan Company, Inc., an independent literary/talent management and production company based in Los Angeles, California, representing Academy A ward nominated filmmakers, Emmy A ward winning television show creators, international best-selling book authors, Tony Award-winning playwrights and world-famous comic book creators.

Two weeks after finishing college, Angela was in Los Angeles working for a talent and modeling agency. By the age of 25, Angela became Hollywood’s youngest literary agent. After working for two prestigious agencies in Los Angeles and New York City, she opened Cheng Caplan Company, Inc.

At Cheng Caplan Company, Inc., Angela and her associates specialize in working with world creators and storytellers who can work across narrative forms. Angela’s clients come from all over the world, and bring their diverse life experiences into their work.

Angela holds a BA in Semiotics-French from Brown University in Providence, Rhode Island and lives in Los Angeles with her husband and her three children.

CAAM Fellows 2015
CAAM Fellows 2015 

Tala Al-Muhanna, producer

Vera Brunner-Sung, filmmaker, Bella Vista

Franklin Rho, TV writer

CAAM Fellows 2014
CAAM Fellows 2014

Soham Mehta, editor & director, Run the Tide

Michelle Krusiec, writer

Soojin Chung, producer, Escape from Tomorrow

Agnes Moon, filmmaker

Kiyong Kim, TV writer

CAAM Fellows 2013
CAAM Fellows 2013

Kimi Takesue, filmmaker, Looking for Adventure 

Derek Nguyen, screenwriter & director, The Potential Wives of Norman Mao 

Ernesto Foronda, writer & director, Sunset Stories

Eric Lin, cinematographer, Rudderless 

CAAM Fellows 2012
CAAM Fellows 2012

Johanna Lee, creator & TV staff writer, Royal Pains 

Harry Yoon, editor, Newsroom

Geoff Quan, line producer & producer, Obvious Child 

CAAM Fellows 2012
CAAM Fellows 2011

Soman Chainani, screenwriter & author of The School for Good & Evil 

Scotty Iseri, creator of web series, app, and PBS series The Digits 

Angela Lee, producer of Cannes and Sundance selection Songs My Brother Taught Me 

Cindy Fang, creator & TV staff writer

Canyon Sam, author of Sky Train & screenwriter

CAAM Fellows Testimonials
CAAM Fellows Testimonials

Ernesto Foronda – What I take most from the CAAM Fellowship Retreat is the feeling that I am not alone in the road that I’ve chosen.  Filmmaking and writing is often a very lonely undertaking filled with uncertainty and self-doubt.  During the retreat I’ve learned that there’s a community of filmmakers and artists that genuinely want to help you succeed – one that believes that your work and voice matters.  It is an empowering feeling that fuels me to keep working and creating.

Derek Nguyen – What I liked most about the Fellowship Retreat was CAAM’s focus on our career paths instead of an individual film project. Sometimes project-based film programs inadvertently create an unspoken sense of competition amongst the filmmakers because each are vying for the few limited spots to get our films made and seen. The beauty of the CAAM Fellowship retreat is that it created a strong sense of camaraderie and support for our careers in the long run.

Kimi Takesue – The CAAM Fellowship and retreat has impacted me in a number of meaningful ways. I’ve appreciated how the fellowship has been structured with so much care, consideration, and seriousness of purpose. Under the phenomenal leadership of Karin Chien and Sapana Sakya, CAAM has created a unique fellowship experience that offers support specifically tailored to individual Asian-American filmmakers working in different genres and across the industry spectrum. It has been wonderful to work closely with my mentor, Claire Aguilar, on specific film projects—but I also benefited tremendously from the spontaneous and honest conversations that emerged throughout the retreat, concerning personal goals, challenges, and overall sustainability as an artist. CAAM has created a non-competitive and non-hierarchical context for honest reflection and discussion amongst filmmakers and industry folks; I left the retreat truly feeling part of, and supported by, an Asian American film community

Eric Lin – When I started out as a filmmaker, I learned quickly there is no one path to doing what you want: director, screenwriter, DP, etc. What that means is that, more often than not, we’re all gambling. We’re betting that the hours investing in taking on this project, in writing that script will pay off and allow us to continue to keep doing it. And I’m not a gambler. At all. Encouragement is a great fuel when the passion runs dry. But with the fellowship, CAAM has done more than just encourage us. I’ve attended film labs in the past and the focus on individual projects sidesteps the larger question of what it means to sustain a career as a film/media-maker. The tailored CAAM fellowship really showed a commitment by CAAM to foster our growth as artists and helped us expand our notions of what is possible with our careers. I met comrades who also do not quite fit easily into the boxes laid out in front of us and hearing their stories and struggles was invaluable. I haven’t come across that level of attention from any media arts organization before and it is transformative to feel that someone has got your back when the cards are stacked against you.

CAAM Mentors

CAAM Mentors

Claire Aguilar, documentary film executive

Angela Cheng-Caplan, literary & talent manager

David Henry Hwang, playwright & screenwriter

Kourtney Kang, TV executive producer

Albert Kim, TV executive producer

So Yong Kim, writer & director

Gina Kwon, film producer & executive

Lisa Lassek, editor

Dennis Lee, director

Dan Lin, studio producer

Sophia Lin, independent film producer

David Mullen, cinematographer

Matt Porterfield, director

Quan Phung, TV producer & executive

Troy Takaki, editor

Steve Tao, TV producer & executive

Derrick Tseng, film producer

Sandra Tsing Loh, writer & performer

Nina Wallia, new media producer & executive

Iris Yamashita, screenwriter

Mark Yoshikawa, editor

Jessica Yu, film & TV director

Tanya Yuson, producer & creative executive