The Community Builders Grant is a short-form film fund and production resources grant sponsored by Camera Ambassador. Our mission is to help build bridges between filmmakers and the community while elevating their production by arming them with the necessary tools to create. This grant supports artists with varying levels of experience, both to recognize accomplished individuals, as well as to provide opportunities for young and emerging artists. The 2022 grant is made possible by our wonderful sponsors: Yakkety Yak, On Set Headsets, Motion Source, & Chicago Film Office.


Written and Directed by Linh Tran. Produced by Hannah Schierbeek.

Lam, a Vietnamese international student, welcomes her younger sister, Phuong, to her Chicago apartment. Phuong brings a DVD of their father’s funeral, which Lam could not attend.


Applications for the 2022 cycle are now closed.

Before applying, please make sure you fulfill the following requirements:

1. Applicant must be a U.S. citizen or permanent legal resident.

2. Project must be shot in the Midwest - We are about building our local community.

3. Your final project must be fifteen minutes or under in length. This is a short film fund.

4. Must be at least 18 years old by March 31st, 2022.

5. Must be a working artist with at least three years of professional experience.

6. Students with experience can apply. If you are a student, please mention that in the application.

2021 - Zero Mile Mark by Link Wolfe

Zero Mile Mark is a short horror film that explores the damage that the troubled teen industry can inflict. The film follows Andre, an at-risk teen whose parents enroll him in a wilderness therapy program without his knowledge. He is forced from his bed in the middle of the night and taken into the woods where he meets Lester, a counselor whose methods seem… untraditional. During their journey, Lester seems to delight in pushing Andre closer to the brink. As they hike deeper into the forest, the relationship between Andre and Lester begins to grow more dangerous.

More about the Troubled Teen Industry:

50,000 children enter the Troubled Teen Industry every year. Although this industry is worth nearly $1.2 Billion, these programs are largely unregulated and have no federal oversight. In the last 30 years, at least 207 kids have died from preventable causes while in these residential treatment centers.

2020 - A Nickname by Sean Sankalp Raju

A Nickname is a comedic short film centered on the childhood story of how I got my nickname, Sean, as an Indian American immigrant.

I am proud of my Indian heritage, but to those that don’t know me, taking on a Western nickname is a sign of abandoning my roots. Our short film recreates the true childhood story of how I became entangled in a 7-year-old girl’s grand plan of buying a can of coke and ended up going by Sean to this day. Along the way, the film delves into arbitrary Western gender constructs like “pink is for girls and blue is for boys”, and ends with a frank conversation between myself and a friend about what the implications are of me being “named by a white girl”. It’s funny, irreverent, and brutally honest.

The film will be told in a hyper-stylized, experimental scripted vlog format. Every event is real and actually happened to me, but it’s important for the audience to realize that these are memories — so they should *feel* like memories. Voice overs, jump cuts, animation, montages, and non-linear B-plots add to the stream-of-consciousness feel that comes through throughout the film.

America can be a scary place for immigrants and the decisions we
make for ourselves are often a reflection upon our communities. This film is meant for those who have gone through the struggles of being an outsider and we hope that they will relate to the film’s themes emphatically.

2019 - Patios by Zachary Moore of Naked Gallery

Patois is a film that speaks on the importance of identity and self-worth through the coming of age story of a young first generation American girl Khenya, as she navigates being raised in a household with rules and tendencies that reflect the traditions of her parent’s home country, while also trying to find herself and fit in at a typical American school.

Naked Gallery, Inc. is a minority owned, Chicago based production company whose mission it is to make films that express our ideas, however beautiful or disturbing they may be. We promise to never create boring productions, and will always do our best to avoid trends, in favor of setting them ourselves. Our work focuses on exposing the human experience bare, free from any facades. Free to be comfortable in your own skin. Naked.

More information on Zach Moore & Naked Gallery: