Funding FAQ

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General Questions

What kind of funding opportunities does CAAM offer?

Currently, CAAM has one funding initiative for non-fiction projects which tackle Asian American narratives and experiences: The Documentary Fund Open Call.

The Documentary Fund Open Call is an initiative funded by the Corporation for Public Broadcasting (CPB) for programs intended for public television looking to receive production and post-production funds. This program considers projects that are in both production and/or post-production phase. 

Is CAAM’s Documentary Fund Open Call a grant?

The CAAM Documentary Fund Open Call is not a grant. It is a licensing agreement. If a producer/director accepts this funding, they  will be signing an agreement with CAAM that states that the filmmaker has agreed to broadcast their film on public television usually for a period of 4 years with at least 6 broadcasts. CAAM/CPB refers to this as a licensing agreement for North American broadcast rights for public television. A filmmaker that receives funding through the CAAM Documentary Fund Open Call, would be entering into a licensing agreement in exchange for the broadcast public television rights which means that the project funded would be broadcast on  public media network entities such as PBS, NETA, APT and others that provide free access to broadcast content in the North American territories. 

What is the year-round schedule/timeline for your Open Call program?

The CAAM Documentary Fund Open Call happens twice every year (February & July) and will take on average 6 months to process from application to the signing of the contract, if selected.

How large are Media Fund awards?

For CAAM’s Documentary Fund Open Call, funding given to selected projects range between $10,000 to $50,000. 


Eligibility Questions

Can I apply for funding for my student film?

The filmmaker must have sole ownership of the program to be eligible for funding. If your school owns rights to the piece, your project is not eligible for funding.

Do you have to be a US Citizen to apply?

You must be a US citizen or legal US resident to apply for documentary funds.

What is a fiscal sponsor and do I need one to apply?

A fiscal sponsor is a non-profit 501(c)(3) IRS tax-exempt entity that agrees to accept funds from CAAM on your behalf. The fiscal sponsor is responsible for redistributing the funds to the project as needed. It maintains a ledger for all funds accepted and provides CAAM a financial accounting when requested. Most fiscal sponsors require a fee for their services, usually a percentage of the funds accepted through the sponsor. You don’t need to have a fiscal sponsor in place at the time you submit your application to CAAM. However, if you are awarded, you may be asked to retain one. Be advised that some fiscal sponsors have an extensive review process for accepting new projects.

What is broadcast (or errors & omissions) insurance and do I need it in order to apply?

This protects you from any legal challenges to the material in the program, including accidental trademark and copyright infringement, libel, slander, invasion of privacy, defamation, plagiarism and misappropriation of ideas. You do not need to have E&O insurance in place at the time you submit your application. E&O insurance needs to be purchased only if the program has a secured air date; however, it is the filmmaker’s legal obligation to clear all rights before applying to the CAAM Media Fund.

Can I sell my program to cable?

All projects funded through CAAM’s Documentary Fund Open Call must grant to CAAM exclusive domestic public television rights for no more than four years for no additional fee. This means it must premiere on American public television before any other television broadcast. After public television broadcast, the filmmaker is welcome to take the program to cable or other television broadcast entities. 

If selected, can I stream my program before its public television premiere?

All funded projects funded through CAAM’s Documentary Fund Open Call cannot do streaming before its public television premiere.


Application Questions

Can I send you additional materials such as a press kit?

Supplemental application materials will not be reviewed. Please only send the specific materials that are requested.

What should I include in the letters of commitment? Do I need to send a deal memo?

We do not need deal memos. Letters of commitment are simply signed letters from your key crew/cast expressing their intention to work on the project in their assigned role.

What are “in-kind contributions”?

In-kind contributions are products or services that have been donated, e.g., a post-production house providing free or discounted off-line services, a caterer giving food, etc.

What if I want to screen my work at festivals? Does the public television premiere preclude me from applying?

Many of our funded films screen their work at film festivals before they air on public television. The public television premiere pertains to domestic television and does not bar you from premiering your work at a film festival nor does it limit the number of festival screenings before broadcast.


Sample Work Questions

What do you mean by “full length rough cut?”

If you are applying for post-production funds, we require a full-length rough cut to be submitted. By this, we mean the film should be close to completion and the running time of the rough cut should be comparable to the final length of the film (56:46 or 26:46). We do not accept trailers, selects, demo segments, or assemblies as a sample work for post-production.


How long should my sample be for Open Call? 

For Open Call, while filmmakers’ previous works are accepted, we strongly recommend that you submit a work-in-progress. Bear in mind that the panel will only watch up to 15 minutes of sample work for each applicant. Thus we also recommend submitting trailers or clips that present the strongest footage of your work that is no more than 15 minutes in length.

Please contact mediafund[at]caamedia[dot]org with any further questions.