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Peng Zhao and Cherry Chen Fund for AAPI Voices

Dedicated to supporting the Asian, Asian American, and Pacific Islander communities, The Peng Zhao and Cherry Chen AAPI Voices Fund recognizes the critical importance of funding for filmmakers developing and delivering their films and the value of investing in Kartemquin’s collaborative model of nurturing early-career filmmakers. Through this fund, Kartemquin is advancing impactful and dynamic stories reflecting on the varied experiences of the AAPI community that challenge and inspire – both filmmakers and the communities they represent.


The Peng Zhao and Cherry Chen Fund for AAPI Voices at Kartemquin will award two documentary projects with a $50,000 grant and a co-production agreement.
Funding will be competitive and project applicants must:
  • Be AAPI-identifying;
  • Be working on a high-impact story that reflects the varied experiences of AAPI communities based in the US;
  • Be in production;
  • Be based in the Midwest at least part-time; be working with a top-level crew member (director or producer) who based in the Midwest at least part-time; or be telling a story that is at least partially based in the Midwest;
  • Be working on a feature length documentary project (no shorts or series);
  • Be prepared to enter into a co-production agreement with KTQ; and
  • Submit a completed application including values assessment + supplementary questions.
For this Fund, we are looking to support:
  • Projects by filmmakers who have meaningful connections to the communities on which their project focuses;
  • Projects by emerging filmmakers, to expand the pool of those we’re in formal relationship with;
  • Stories that are struggling to secure funding or may not be clearly “commercially viable”; and/or
  • Projects that are either by Midwest-based directors or producers, or telling a Midwest-based story.
Applications for the first round of the 2023 funding cycle is now closed.
Applications for seed funding will be available in July.
Questions? Email us at aapivoicesfund@kartemquin.com.

Past Participants

Summer 2022

Joua Lee Grande, Jiayan “Jenny” Shi

Winter 2022

Quyên Nguyen-Le, Emily Strong, Dave Yim

About the Funder

The Fund represents a substantial investment by Mr. Zhao and Ms. Chen, building on their long standing commitment to accelerating opportunity and prosperity for the 23 million members of the AAPI community in the United States. Mr. Zhao is a founding board member of The Asian American Foundation (TAAF), which has become a catalyzing force for improving AAPI advocacy, power, and representation across American society. Mr. Zhao and Ms. Chen have also convened and funded a variety of other initiatives focused on supporting their home community of Chicago and elevating AAPI voices, including through their support of the award-winning documentary “Finding Yingying,” a Kartemquin film directed by Jenny Shi.