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Zhao-Chen Family AAPI Voices Fund

Dedicated to supporting the Asian, Asian American, and Pacific Islander communities, The Zhao-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 Zhao-Chen Family AAPI Voices Fund at Kartemquin supported four documentary projects with a $50,000 investment and co-production agreement. Three additional film projects were selected for seed funding awards.
Fellows selected for the award must be:
  • 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.
The Fund supports:
  • 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 Zhao-Chen Family AAPI Voices Fund at Kartemquin are currently closed. Please stay tuned for announcements by signing up for our newsletter.
Questions? Email us at aapivoicesfund@kartemquin.com

Past Participants

Co-Production Awardees

Joua Lee Grande, Jiayan “Jenny” Shi, Jason Rhee, Kimberlee Bassford

Seed Funding Awardees

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 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.