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Associate Professor of Film and Digital Media John Jota Leaños Receives California Documentary Project Grant

Leanos Portrait

UC Santa Cruz associate professor of film and digital media John Jota Leaños is the recipient of a 2017 California Documentary Project grant from California Humanities.

Leaños was awarded $30,000 to support ¡Eureka!--a multi-platform, half-hour animated documentary and interactive graphic novel that traces key moments of colonial California and the making of the West from Native and Latina/o perspectives.

His documentary blends cartoons, music, and humor to illustrate an alternative social history of California.

Leaños’s project was one of 14 new film, audio and interactive media projects documenting vital California subjects and issues that were awarded California Documentary Project grants this year totaling $400,000.

The winning projects ranged from a film about LGBT refugees and asylum seekers in the Bay Area; to a podcast and radio series exploring questions of race, culture and black identity; to a portrait of the Portuguese American community in California’s Central Valley; to an interactive web-based reflection on the 25th anniversary of the Los Angeles riots from the Korean American community’s perspective.

The California Documentary Project supports high-quality humanities-based media projects that seek to document California in all of its complexity. Since 2003, it has awarded over $5 million to film, audio, and interactive media productions that inform and engage broad audiences through multiple means.

“California Humanities continues to support films and interactive media projects that share stories of California and help us better understand our past, present, and future,” noted Julie Fry, President & CEO of California Humanities. “We’re proud to support these 14 new extraordinary projects.”