Chicken & Egg Pictures announces the five recipients of the second annual Breakthrough Filmmaker Award

Breakthrough_YW_LM_Sundance_2017We are pleased and proud to announce  the recipients of the second year of the Breakthrough Filmmaker Award. The five chosen filmmakers are Geeta Gandbhir (Prison Dogs), Kirsten Johnson (Cameraperson), Penny Lane (NUTS!), Grace Lee (American Revolutionary: The Evolution of Grace Lee Boggs), and Dawn Porter (Trapped). This award consists of a $50,000 unrestricted grant and a year-long creative support and mentorship program tailored to each filmmaker’s individual goals.

The Chicken & Egg Pictures Breakthrough Filmmaker Award responds to the reality that only a few women non-fiction directors in the U.S. are able to work full-time as independent storytellers. The program recognizes and elevates five experienced women directors with unique voices who are poised to reach new heights and to continue to be strong filmmaker-advocates for urgent issues and creative visions.

“After a successful inaugural year, we welcome this new cohort of talented women into the program,” said Jenni Wolfson, Executive Director of Chicken & Egg Pictures . “Through our investment in these filmmakers, Chicken & Egg Pictures affirms its commitment to supporting women from a diversity of backgrounds, with powerful voices, who are driving change through storytelling. They are creative risk-takers who have made their mark and are ready to push the boundaries even further and continue to bring to the forefront critical issues and stories.”

Recipients of the Chicken & Egg Pictures 2017 Breakthrough Filmmaker Award were chosen through an international, confidential nomination process.

For additional information on Chicken & Egg Pictures and the Breakthrough Filmmaker Award please visit our Program page.

2017 BREAKTHROUGH FILMMAKER AWARD RECIPIENTS

Geeta Gandbhir

Geeta began her career in editing. As an editor, she has won two Emmy Awards. Her latest feature documentary, Prison Dogs, which she co -directed with Perri Peltz, premiered at the 2016Tribeca Film Festival. Her film with Sharmeen Obaid -Chinoy, A Journey of A Thousand Miles: Peacekeepers, premiered at the 2015 Toronto International Film Festival; won the Jury award for Best Documentary at The Bentonville Film Festival; and won the Humanitarian Award at the River Run Film Festival. She co-created and was a director on a series about race for The New York Times Op-Docs entitled The Conversation, which won an Online Journalism Award. Her film with Ms. Peltz, Remembering the Artist, Robert De Niro, Sr., for HBO, premiered at the 2014 Sundance Film Festival. She is currently finishing a feature documentary on a bomb disposal unit in Pakistan.

Kirsten Johnson

Drawing on footage she shot for a myriad of documentary directors over the last 25 years, Kirsten Johnson’s Cameraperson premiered at the 2016 Sundance Film Festival; won the Cinema Eye Awards for Best Documentary, Best Editing, Best Cinematography; and the National Board of Review Freedom of Expression Award. Widely reviewed as one of the top films of 2016, it received awards at nine international festivals, was nominated for the Gotham Independent Film Awards, the IDA Documentary Awards, the Critics’ Choice Documentary Awards , the Independent Spirit Awards, and is currently shortlisted for an Academy Award. Johnson’s short film, The Above, was nominated for 2016 Best Short Film Award by the IDA. Her interest in image-making, collaboration with documentary filmmakers, and the ethical dilemmas faced by camerapeople around the world is ongoing.

Penny Lane

Penny Lane’s most recent feature, NUTS!, premiered at the 2016 Sundance Film Festival where it won a Special Jury Prize for Editing. Her debut feature documentary, Our Nixon, premiered at the 2013 Rotterdam International Film Festival, had its North American premiere at SXSW, won the Ken Burns Award for Best of the Festival at the Ann Arbor Film Festival, and was selected as the closing night film at New Directors/New Films. Lane was named one of Filmmaker Magazine’s “25 New Faces of Independent Film” in 2012 and “Most Badass” at the Iowa City Documentary Film Festival in 2009. Film festival screenings span the independent and experimental film worlds, including Sundance, Rotterdam, Images, IMPAKT, Hot Docs, Full Frame, CPH:DOX, and Oberhausen. She is currently a professor in the Department of Art and Art History at Colgate University.

Grace Lee

Grace Lee is a Los Angeles-based filmmaker whose work explores questions of history, race, politics, and community. She directed American Revolutionary: The Evolution of Grace Lee Boggs, which won six festival audience awards and aired on the POV documentary series. Other directing credits include The Grace Lee Project, Janeane From Des Moines, the Emmy-nominated Makers: Women and Politics, and Off the Menu: Asian America. Lee’s work has been supported by the Ford Foundation, Chicken & Egg Pictures, Center for Asian American Media, Film Independent, and the Sundance Institute, where she was a Women at Sundance Fellow. She recently co-founded the Asian American Documentary Network and is currently in production on Ktown92, an interactive documentary that explores the 25th anniversary of the Los Angeles riots through the eyes of the greater Koreatown community.

Dawn Porter

Dawn Porter is a documentary filmmaker whose first feature, Gideon’s Army, won the Sundance Film Festival Editing Award in 2013 and later broadcast on HBO. The film was nominated for an Independent Spirit Award and an Emmy. Dawn’s other films have appeared on PBS, OWN and the Discovery Channel. In 2015, Porter interviewed President Barack Obama for Rise: The Promise of My Brother’s Keeper. Dawn’s latest feature project, Trapped, explores the impact of laws regulating abortion clinics in the South. Trapped premiered at the 2016 Sundance Film Festival, where it won the Special Jury Award for Social Impact Filmmaking. In 2016, Porter was named to Variety’s “10 Documakers to Watch” and received the Robert and Anne Drew Award for Documentary Excellence at DOC NYC’s Visionaries Tribute. She also recently created a short film for The New Yorker Presents, a digital series executive produced by Academy Award-winning filmmaker Alex Gibney.

Nine Chicken & Egg Pictures grantees recognized with Sundance Documentary Fund grants

Nine Chicken & Egg Pictures grantees have been recognized with grants through the Sundance Documentary Fund. On Monday, October 31, the Sundance Institute announced the awarding of over $1 million in grants through this program.

Chicken & Egg Pictures congratulates our grantees, and looks forward to celebrating their continued success.

Chicken & Egg Pictures grantees awarded Sundance Production Grants: 

Even When I Fall
Directed by Kate McLarnon & Sky Neal
Even When I Fall is the story of three remarkable young Nepali women, all survivors of human trafficking into corrupt big top circuses across India. Facing forgotten families and uncertain futures, the story begins in the often-overlooked aftermath of a childhood spent in captivity and forced labor. But these tough young women were inadvertently left with a secret weapon by their captors – their breathtaking skills as circus artists.

Even When I Fall
Even When I Fall

Obstinate
Directed by Sahra Mosawi
In Afghanistan where systematic abuses of girls rarely come to light, and seeking justice can be deadly, one young woman says “Enough.” Her name is Khatera and this is her incredible story of love, hope, bravery, forgiveness and truth. It is also one of horrific abuse. Khatera was brutally raped by her father since the age of nine. Today she is twenty-three and raising two precious and precocious children—a daughter and a son—whom he sired.

Obstinate
Obstinate

Survivors
Directed by Arthur Pratt, Anna Fitch, Banker White, and Barmmy Boy
Through the eyes of Sierra Leonean filmmakers, Survivors presents a portrait of their country during the Ebola outbreak, exposing the complexity of the epidemic and the socio-political turmoil that lies in its wake. The film chronicles the remarkable stories of Sierra Leonean heroes during what is now widely regarded as the most acute public health crisis of the modern era.

Survivors
Survivors

Chicken & Egg Pictures grantees awarded Sundance Post-Production Grants:

32 Pills: My Sister’s Suicide
Directed by Hope Litoff
A reflection on the life and suicide of Ruth Litoff, a successful artist, a pathological liar, and the filmmaker’s sister. By looking back on Ruth’s incredible highs and lows, bursts of creative genius, depression, secrets, and lies, a vivid portrait will emerge of the brilliant woman the filmmaker is not sure she ever really knew. This is her attempt to understand what happened.

32 Pills: My Sister's Suicide
32 Pills: My Sister’s Suicide

Fly Away
Directed by Lucy Cohen
Fly Away is a film about memory, identity, and growing up told through the eyes of seven siblings and their mother. Five of the children are on the autistic spectrum and as they move through adolescence, an event of the past keeps drawing them back. Combining observational footage with a rich archive of home movies and songs, the film is both a detective story and coming-of-age tale, exploring universal themes of memory, family, and love.

Fly Away
Fly Away

Mudflow
Directed by Cynthia Wade & Sasha Friedlander
Mudflow is the story of a huge, toxic mudflow in Indonesia widely believed to be caused by shoddy drilling practices. The mud volcano has been erupting violently for the past eight years, burying 17 villages and permanently displacing 60,000 people. Mudflow follows ordinary Indonesians seeking justice for this disaster during a national election where one presidential candidate has promised restitution and the other has not.

Mudflow
Mudflow

United Skates
Directed by Dyana Winkler & Tina Brown
United Skates follows an underground subculture growing inside our country’s last standing roller rinks. Fusing hip-hop with the speed of old school quad roller skates, this film shines a fresh light on the recurring pattern of racial struggle faced by African American artists, as it follows the next artistic movement still undiscovered by the American mainstream.

United Skates
United Skates

Whose Streets?
Directed by Sabaah Jordan & Damon Davis

A first-hand look at how the murder of one teenage boy became the last straw for a community under siege. Whose Streets? is a story of love, loss, conflict, and ambition; the journey of everyday people turned freedom fighters, whose lives intertwined with a burgeoning national movement for black liberation. This is a film for all of America – it provides insight into the unseen reality of racism, the role of media in conflict, state-sanctioned violence, and militarized policing – but at its core it is Ferguson’s story, it is our cry of “enough is enough”.

Whose Streets?
Whose Streets?

Chicken & Egg Pictures grantees chosen for the Art of Nonfiction Fellowship:

Kirsten Johnson
Kirsten Johnson works as a director and a cinematographer. Her most recent work as a cinematographer appears in Citizenfour, Born to Fly: Elizabeth Streb vs Gravity, and The Wound and the Gift. Her work was featured in Academy Award nominated The Invisible War. She shared the 2010 Sundance Documentary Competition Cinematography Award with Laura Poitras for The Oath. She shot the Tribeca Film Festival 2008 Documentary winner, Pray the Devil Back to Hell. Her cinematography is featured in Farenheit 9/11, Academy Award-nominated Asylum, Emmy-winning Ladies First, and Sundance premiere documentaries, A Place at the Table, This Film Is Not Yet Rated, American Standoff, and Derrida. Deadline, (co-directed with Katy Chevigny), premiered at Sundance in 2004, was broadcast on primetime NBC, and won the Thurgood Marshall Award.

Kirsten received the Chicken & Egg Pictures Celebration Award, supported by the Ravenal Foundation, in 2014.

Kirsten Johnson
Kirsten Johnson

Chicken & Egg Pictures grantees chosen for the inaugural Bertha Foundation Fellowship:

Obstinate
Directed by Sahra Mosawi

Five Chicken & Egg Pictures-supported films to screen at DOC NYC

The 2016 edition of the DOC NYC Film Festival features five films directed by Chicken & Egg Pictures grantees. Running November 10-17, 2016 in Manhattan, the DOC NYC Film Festival is America’s largest documentary film festival.

You can check out the full lineup of films, shorts, panels, and showcases here.

Cameraperson
Directed by Kirsten Johnson
Drawing on footage she’s shot over the course of 25 years, documentary cinematographer Kirsten Johnson searches to reconcile her part in the thorny questions of permission, power, creative ambition, and human obligation that come with filming the lives of others. Tickets and showtimes available here.

Cameraperson, directed by Kirsten Johnson.
Cameraperson, directed by Kirsten Johnson.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Care
Directed by Deirdre Fishel
Care exposes the deep flaws in the U.S. eldercare system by following the intimate and dramatic stories of three overworked and underpaid home health aides and one family struggling to find and pay for quality care. The film sounds the alarm about an exploited workforce, an aging population, and an impending crisis of care. Tickets and showtimes available here.

Care, directed by Deirdre Fishel
Care, directed by Deirdre Fishel

 

 

 

 

 

 

The Pearl
Directed by Jessica Dimmock & Christopher LaMarca
The Pearl witnesses the loss and extraordinary risk of four middle-aged and senior war vets, steel foremen, and fathers and grandfathers coming out for the first time as transgender women in the hyper-masculine culture of the Pacific Northwest. Each year, their lives intersect at the annual Esprit Conference for T-girls, a weeklong event enlivening a community broken by isolation and loss. Tickets and showtimes available here.

The Pearl, directed by Jessica Dimmock and Christopher LaMarca
The Pearl, directed by Jessica Dimmock and Christopher LaMarca

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Trapped
Directed by Dawn Porter
At least half of American women will experience an unintended pregnancy by the age of 45. Four in 10 unwanted pregnancies are terminated by abortion. What would happen if access to care for these cases completely disappeared? Following the progress of two reproductive health clinics in the South, Trapped captures their struggle as they continue to provide care in an increasingly hostile legal and political climate. Tickets and showtimes here.

Visitor’s Day
Directed by Nicole Opper
Sixteen-year-old Juan Carlos ran away from home to escape abusive parents. After years of battling alcohol addiction and homelessness, he found his way from Mexico City to the rural town of Atlixco, where he joined dozens of other runaway boys living in a group home named Ipoderac. This film follows Juan Carlos during the most transformative year of his life, as he prepares to travel back to Mexico City to confront his father one last time. Tickets and showtimes available here.

Visitor's Day, directed by Nicole Opper
Visitor’s Day, directed by Nicole Opper

The Nest takes off at the 2016 Human Rights Watch Film Festival

The Nest takes off at Human Rights Watch!

This year, four Chicken & Egg Pictures-supported projects will be screened at the Human Rights Watch Film Festival, including the first-ever virtual reality project we have supported.

The festival will be held in New York from June 10 – June 19, 2016. HRW Film Festival screens more than 500 films each year, spreading stories of suffering individuals through the medium of film in an effort to promote knowledge and awareness of the breaches of human rights in today’s world.

Sonita
Rokhsareh Ghaem Maghami
Sonita is the story of an 18-year-old Afghan woman following her dream to be a rapper while society surrounding her tries to silence her. She stands up against forced marriages, including her own, in which she was to be sold off for $9,000 in order to allow her family to purchase a wife for their son. This film’s personal nature imbues it with universal meaning.

Sonita, directed by Rokhsareh Ghaem Maghami
Sonita, directed by Rokhsareh Ghaem Maghami

Solitary
Directed by Kristi Jacobson
Solitary provides a gripping look into life in prison, for both inmates and officers. It is a film about entrapment with the self, an effort to inform society of life in loneliness. Solitary provides a voice for the 80,000 people currently in solitary confinement in the US while letting them know they are not alone.

Solitary, directed by Chicken & Egg Pictures Breakthrough Filmmaker Kristi Jacobson
Solitary, directed by Chicken & Egg Pictures Breakthrough Filmmaker Kristi Jacobson

When Two Worlds Collide
Heidi Brandenburg & Mathew Orzel
The struggle of indigenous people to maintain their surrounding land when in conflict with the interests of the big companies reminds us that our battle to preserve our environment rather than establishing locations for the production of monetary gains is ever present. When Two Worlds Collide captivatingly reminds us of the state of the one world we are slowly losing.

When Two Worlds Collide, directed by Heidi Brandenburg & Mathew Orzel
When Two Worlds Collide, directed by Heidi Brandenburg & Mathew Orzel

6X9: An Immersive Experience of Solitary Confinement
Francesca Panetta and Lindsay Poulton
We are incredibly excited about 6X9: An Immersive Experience of Solitary Confinement, the first VR project Chicken & Egg Pictures has supported. While traditional methods of viewing films can take you on a journey one, cannot help but notice that that journey is confined. The limits of the screen are sharp contrasts, ever-present boundaries between two worlds. Our field of vision reminds us of our surroundings and modern comforts, and by doing so, rips us away from the experiences unfolding on the screen. 6X9: An Immersive Experience of Solitary Confinement places us in a new reality, a reality where the outside world is no longer visible and no matter where we look, our surrounding world is the world of the inmate. Their lives become ours in ways that previously weren’t possible. 6X9: An Immersive Experience of Solitary Confinement brings new perspective to a life in solitude.

6X9: An Immersive Experience of Solitary Confinement

A panel, comprised of four members, including Francesca Panetta, will also be held on June 15, 2016. The panel will focus on the use of VR, its power to promote social change, as well as what boundaries we should place upon it. Virtual reality has the potential to allow a more complete understanding of suffering due to human rights violations, but like any new medium, its utility in promoting tangible change remains under debate.

The Nest brings a lot to the table at this year’s Sheffield Doc Fest

This year, a half-dozen Chicken & Egg Pictures supported films will be screened at Sheffield Doc Fest. These Egg-septional films span a variety of topics including life behind bars, the cost of aging, and battles both personal and universal.

The festival, which bridges the gap between audience and filmmaker, takes place this year from June 10-15, 2016, and will screen over 150 films.

Cameraperson
Directed by Kirsten Johnson
Cameraperson turns the camera inwards, exposing the most powerful moments for cinematographer and filmmaker Kirsten Johnson. By plucking footage from her expansive work of over 25 years, Kirsten Johnson reminds us of the nature of life, where stories intermingle, cross-pollinate, and provide a new lens through which to view the world.

Care
Directed by Deirdre Fishel
As lifespans are increasing, the question of providing the quality care needed to our ever-aging population presses down upon us with increasing force. Deirdre Fishel gives insight into the lives of both the caregivers and those taken under their wing. The story, which focuses on home health aides in their struggle to provide for themselves as they devote their lives to helping others, is paralleled by that of the families that can no longer afford to bring in the help our older generation needs.

Care, directed by Deirdre Fishel
Care, directed by Deirdre Fishel

Solitary
Directed by Kristi Jacobson
Solitary provides a gripping look into life in prison, for both inmates and officers. It is a film about entrapment with the self, an effort to inform society of life in loneliness. Solitary provides a voice for the 80,000 people currently in solitary confinement in the US while letting them know they are not alone.

Solitary, directed by Chicken & Egg Pictures Breakthrough Filmmaker Kristi Jacobson
Solitary, directed by Chicken & Egg Pictures Breakthrough Filmmaker Kristi Jacobson

Sonita
Rokhsareh Ghaem Maghami
Sonita is the story of an 18-year-old Afghan woman following her dream to be a rapper while society surrounding her tries to silence her. She stands up against forced marriages, including her own, in which she was to be sold off for $9,000 in order to allow her family to purchase a wife for their son. This film’s personal nature imbues it with universal meaning.

Southwest of Salem: The Story of the San Antonio Four
Deborah S. Esquenazi
The events that transpired in Salem in 1692 seemed a far cry from anything that could happen today, yet when four women are convicted of raping two little girls in 1994, we encounter a modern day Salem. Southwest of Salem brings hints that our judicial system might be more of a prejudicial one.

When Two Worlds Collide 
Heidi Brandenburg & Mathew Orzel
The struggle of indigenous people to maintain their surrounding land when in conflict with the interests of the big companies reminds us that our battle to preserve our environment rather than establishing locations for the production of monetary gains is ever present.Honored with a Special Jury Prize for Best First Feature at the 2016 Sundance Film Festival, Two Worlds Collide captivatingly reminds us of the state of the one world we are slowly losing.

When Two Worlds Collide, directed by Heidi Brandenburg & Mathew Orzel
When Two Worlds Collide, directed by Heidi Brandenburg & Mathew Orzel

 

 

The Nest is hot on the trail of Hot Docs

A whopping nine Chicken & Egg Pictures-supported films have been selected to screen at the upcoming Hot Docs Film Festival in Toronto, Canada.

The festival, which will run April 28-May 8, 2016, is the largest documentary film festival in North America. This year’s lineup is comprised of over 200 films from around the world.

Tickets are on sale now; the full lineup can be found here.

The Apology
Directed by Tiffany Hsiung
This is a film about memory, told through the current relationships three women have with the people closest to them and how these relationships indelibly shape the last years of their lives. The three women – Gil Won-Ok in South Korea, Grandma Cao in China, and Lola Adela in the Philippines – are all former “comfort women” who were among the 200,000 girls and young women forced into military sexual slavery by the Japanese Imperial Army during World War II.

The Apology, directed by Tiffany Hsiung
The Apology, directed by Tiffany Hsiung

Cameraperson
Directed by Kirsten Johnson
Drawing on footage she’s shot over the course of 25 years, documentary cinematographer Kirsten Johnson searches to reconcile her part in the thorny questions of permission, power, creative ambition, and human obligation that come with filming the lives of others.

LoveTrue
Directed by Alma Ha’rel
Does our view of love change as we grow older? How do we make decisions about our love lives? Is there such a thing as true love? Are there invisible partners in relationships? Past ghosts of ourselves? The film’s reenactments of significant past experiences and glimpses at possible futures, created with non-actors playing the characters’ older and younger selves, encourage the couples to confront the realities of their hopes and memories, and the effect they have on their love lives.

LoveTrue, directed by Alma Ha'rel
LoveTrue, directed by Alma Ha’rel

The Pearl
Directed by Jessica Dimmock & Christopher LaMarca
The Pearl witnesses the loss and extraordinary risk of four middle-aged and senior war vets, steel foremen, and fathers and grandfathers coming out for the first time as transgender women in the hyper-masculine culture of the Pacific Northwest. Each year, their lives intersect at the annual Esprit Conference for T-girls, a weeklong event enlivening a community broken by isolation and loss.

Sonita
Directed by Rokhsareh Ghaem Maghami
18-year-old Sonita is an undocumented Afghan illegal immigrant living in the suburbs of Tehran. She fights to live the way she wants: As a rapper in spite of all her obstacles she confronts in Iran and her conservative family. In harsh contrast to her goal is the plan of her family – strongly advanced by her mother – to make her a bride and sell her to a new family for the price of $9,000.

Southwest of Salem: The Story of the San Antonio Four
Directed by Deborah S. Esquenazi
Southwest of Salem excavates the nightmarish persecution of Elizabeth Ramirez, Cassandra Rivera, Kristie Mayhugh, and Anna Vasquez — four Latina lesbians wrongfully convicted of allegedly gang raping two little girls. This bizarre case is the first to be adjudicated under momentous new legislation: for the first time in U.S. history, wrongfully convicted innocents can challenge convictions based on debunked scientific evidence. The film also unravels the sinister interplay of mythology, homophobia, and prosecutorial fervor which led to this modern day witch hunt.

Southwest of Salem: The Story of the San Antonio Four, directed by Deborah S. Esquenazi.
Southwest of Salem: The Story of the San Antonio Four, directed by Deborah S. Esquenazi.

Trapped
Directed by Dawn Porter
At least half of American women will experience an unintended pregnancy by the age of 45. Four in 10 unwanted pregnancies are terminated by abortion. What would happen if access to care for these cases completely disappeared? Following the progress of two Southern reproductive health clinics, Trapped captures their struggle as they continue to provide care in the face of an increasingly hostile legal and political climate. Winner of the Special Jury Prize for Social Impact Filmmaking at the 2016 Sundance Film Festival.

What Tomorrow Brings
Directed by Beth Murphy
What Tomorrow Brings is a coming-of-age story in which Afghan girls studying at the Zabuli School struggle against tradition and time. They discover that their school is the one place they can turn to understand the differences between the lives they were born into and the lives they dream of leading. At a time when the political and security situation is rapidly changing, the film weaves the interconnected stories of students, teachers, parents, and school founder Razia Jan.

What Tomorrow Brings, directed by Beth Murphy.
What Tomorrow Brings, directed by Beth Murphy.

When Two Worlds Collide
Directed by Heidi Brandenburg & Mathew Orzel
An indigenous leader forced into exile and facing 20 years in prison for resisting the environmental ruin of Amazonian lands by big business. Refusing to surrender he continues his quest, shedding light on conflicting visions shaping the fate of the Amazon and the climate future of our world.

Chicken & Egg Pictures at the 2016 Tribeca Film Festival

This year’s Tribeca Film Festival, running from April 13-24, marks the 15th edition of this annual spring event. Chicken & Egg Pictures is proud to have four grantee films screening in this year’s lineup, along with 6X9: An Immersive Experience of Solitary Confinement, the first virtual reality project we have ever supported.

For a full list of films that will screen at the 2016 Tribeca Film Festival, as well as a complete schedule, visit the Tribeca Film Festival website.

World Documentary Competition
LoveTrue (Alma Ha’rel)
Does our view of love change as we grow older? How do we make decisions about our love lives? Is there such a thing as true love? Are there invisible partners in relationships? Past ghosts of ourselves? The film’s reenactments of significant past experiences and glimpses at possible futures, created with non-actors playing the characters’ older and younger selves, encourage the couples to confront the realities of their hopes and memories, and the effect they have on their love lives.

LoveTrue
LoveTrue

The Return (Katie Galloway & Kelly Duane de la Vega)
In 2012, California voters passed Proposition 36, which  shortened sentences of the currently incarcerated. Within days, the reintegration of thousands of “lifers”—men & women once expecting to spend their lives in prison—was underway. The Return weaves together multiple narratives of characters on the front lines of this unprecedented shift: prisoners suddenly freed, families turned upside down, attorneys and judges wrestling with an untested law, and reentry providers negotiating unfathomable transitions.

The Return
The Return

Viewpoints
Solitary (Kristi Jacobson)
Solitary investigates an invisible part of the American justice system: the use of isolation and segregation in US prisons, commonly known as solitary confinement. With unprecedented access inside a prison tackling the issue head on, the film explores this divisive issue through the experiences of those on both sides of the bars. Directed by Chicken & Egg Pictures Breakthrough Award recipient Kristi Jacobson.

Solitary
Solitary


Southwest of Salem: The Story of the San Antonio Four
 (Deborah S. Esquenazi)
Southwest of Salem excavates the nightmarish persecution of Elizabeth Ramirez, Cassandra Rivera, Kristie Mayhugh, and Anna Vasquez — four Latina lesbians wrongfully convicted of allegedly gang raping two little girls. This bizarre case is the first to be adjudicated under momentous new legislation: for the first time in U.S. history, wrongfully convicted innocents can challenge convictions based on debunked scientific evidence. The film also unravels the sinister interplay of mythology, homophobia, and prosecutorial fervor which led to this modern day witch hunt.

Southwest of Salem: The Story of the San Antonio Four
Southwest of Salem: The Story of the San Antonio Four

Storyscapes
6X9: An Immersive Experience of Solitary Confinement (Francesca Panetta & Lindsay Poulton)
Right now, 80,000-100,000 people are in solitary confinement in the US. They spend 22-24 hours a day in their cells, with little to no human contact for days or even decades. The sensory deprivation they endure causes severe psychological damage. These people are invisible to us—and eventually to themselves.

6X9: An Immersive Experience of Solitary Confinement
6X9: An Immersive Experience of Solitary Confinement

Headed to True/False? Don’t miss the Chicken & Egg Pictures-supported films screening at this year’s fest

Four Chicken & Egg Pictures grantees will be screening their films at this year’s edition of the True/False Film Festival, held annually in Columbia, MO.

Be sure to check out Cameraperson (Kirsten Johnson), The Pearl (Jessica Dimmock and Christopher LaMarca), Sonita (Rokhsareh Ghaem Maghammi), and the latest from Ramona Diaz.

The full lineup is available here.

Cameraperson (Kirsten Johnson)
Drawing on footage she’s shot over the course of 25 years, documentary cinematographer Kirsten Johnson searches to reconcile her part in the thorny questions of permission, power, creative ambition, and human obligation that come with filming the lives of others.

The Pearl (Jessica Dimmock and Christopher LaMarca)
The Pearl witnesses the loss and extraordinary risk of four middle-aged and senior war vets, steel foremen, and fathers and grandfathers coming out for the first time as transgender women in the hyper-masculine culture of the Pacific Northwest. Each year, their lives intersect at the annual Esprit Conference for T-girls, a weeklong event enlivening a community broken by isolation and loss.

Sonita (Rokhsareh Ghaem Maghammi)
18-year-old Sonita is an undocumented Afghan illegal immigrant living in the suburbs of Tehran. She fights to live the way she wants: As a rapper in spite of all her obstacles she confronts in Iran and her conservative family. In harsh contrast to her goal is the plan of her family – strongly advanced by her mother – to make her a bride and sell her to a new family for the price of $9,000.

Motherland (Bayang Ina Mo) (Ramona Diaz)
One of the world’s poorest and most populous countries, The Philippines, struggles with reproductive health policy — both in the legislature, where laws are debated, and in a hospital with the busiest maternity ward on the planet.

Chicken & Egg Pictures grantees win big at 2016 Sundance Film Festival

We were so thrilled to follow along with the Sundance Awards Ceremony and see three of our grantees win a total of four awards.
Sonita, directed by Rokhsareh Ghaem Maghammi, took home the Grand Jury Prize and the Audience Award in the World Documentary Competition.
Executive Director Jenni Wolfson, Co-Founder Wendy Ettinger, and Co-Founder Julie Parker Benello with Sonita Alizadeh at a Sundance screening of SONITA
Executive Director Jenni Wolfson, Co-Founder Wendy Ettinger, and Co-Founder Julie Parker Benello with Sonita Alizadeh at a Sundance screening of SONITA.
When Two Worlds Collide, directed by Heidi Brandenburg and Mathew Orzel was awarded a Special Jury Prize for Best Debut Feature, also in the World Documentary Competition.
Dawn Porter’s  timely and compelling documentary Trapped received a Special Jury Award for Social Impact Filmmaking in the US Documentary Competition. Trapped will open in New York and Washington, DC on March 4, timed to the Supreme Court hearing opening arguments in Whole Women’s Health v. Hellerstedt. It will then air on Independent Lens in June, timed to the Supreme Court’s decision on that same case.
Still from TRAPPED, showing Dr. Parker, one of the main characters of the film.
Still from TRAPPED, showing Dr. Parker, one of the main characters of the film.

Chicken & Egg Pictures announces five recipients of inaugural Breakthrough Award

We are pleased and proud to announce the recipients of our inaugural Breakthrough Filmmaker Awards. The five chosen filmmakers are Kristi Jacobson (A Place at the Table) Julia Reichert (The Last Truck), Yoruba Richen (The New Black), Elaine McMillion Sheldon (Hollow), and Michèle Stephenson (American Promise). This award consists of a $50,000 unrestricted grant and a year-long mentorship program tailored to each filmmaker’s individual goals.

The Chicken & Egg Pictures Breakthrough Filmmaker Award responds to the reality that only a few women non-fiction directors in the U.S. are able to work full-time as independent storytellers. The program recognizes and elevates five mid-career women directors with unique voices who are poised to reach new heights and to continue to be strong filmmaker-advocates for urgent issues.

“Chicken & Egg Pictures continues to make bold investments in both women artists and gender equality to ensure that a greater diversity of voices are acknowledged for their participation in the storytelling that drives change,” said Jenni Wolfson, Executive Director of Chicken & Egg Pictures. “Our hope with this new award is to provide support and a platform for these artists to continue showcasing and elevating critical social justice, environmental, and human rights issues and stories while working to increase their visibility and ensure they receive the recognition they deserve.”

Recipients of the Chicken & Egg Pictures Breakthrough Filmmaker Award were chosen through a nation-wide confidential nomination process.

2016 BREAKTHROUGH FILMMAKER AWARD RECIPIENTS

 Kristi Jacobson
Kristi Jacobson is a NY-based filmmaker whose films capture nuanced, intimate, and provocative portrayals of individuals and communities. Her most recent film, A Place at the Table (Participant Media/Magnolia Pictures), called “one of the most important…and gripping non-fiction films to debut in some time” by Indiewire, premiered at the 2012 Sundance Film Festival before its theatrical release in over 35 U.S. cities. Previous films include the critically acclaimed Toots, winner of the National Board of Review’s 2007 Top Documentary Award, and American Standoff (HBO), produced by two-time Oscar winner Barbara Kopple. Jacobson is a member of the Director’s Guild of America, NYWIFT, and a two-time Sundance Creative Producing Fellow. She is a recipient of grants from Tribeca Film Institute, Sundance Institute DFP, Chicken & Egg Pictures, and many others. She is currently working on an upcoming HBO documentary that provides an immersive and unprecedented look inside the world of solitary confinement in the U.S.

Julia Reichert
Julia Reichert is a three-time Academy Award nominee for her documentary work. She lives in Ohio, and has chosen to focus on class, gender, and race in the lives of Americans.  Julia’s first film, Growing Up Female, was the first feature documentary of the modern Women’s Movement.  It was recently selected for the National Film Registry of the Library of Congress.  Her films Union Maids and Seeing Red were nominated for Academy Awards for Best Feature Documentary, as was The Last Truck, a short (co-directed with Steven Bognar) which premiered at the Telluride Film Festival and on HBO.  Her film A Lion in the House (an ITVS co-production, made with Bognar) premiered at Sundance, screened nationally on PBS, and won the Primetime Emmy for Exceptional Merit in Nonfiction Filmmaking.  She co-wrote and directed the feature film Emma and Elvis.  Julia is co-founder of New Day Films, the independent film distribution co-op.  She is author of “Doing It Yourself,” the first book on self-distribution in independent film, and was an Advisory Board member of IFP. Reichert is currently directing a film about the 9 to 5 movement, telling the stories of the millions of low wage, invisible women who populated the clerical pool, served coffee, and suffered sexual harassment before it was named.  In the 1970’s they gathered their courage and rose up against their bosses, large corporations, and institutions.  She’s also begun filming a verite follow-up to The Last Truck, chronicling the arrival of a new plant in her economically devastated Midwestern city.

Yoruba Richen
Yoruba Richen is a documentary filmmaker whose work explores issues of race, space, and power. She has directed films in the U.S. and abroad, including The New Black and Promised LandThe New Black won Audience Awards at AFI Docs, Philly Q Fest, and Frameline LGBT Film Festival. The film also won best documentary at the Urbanworld Film Festival and was nominated for an NAACP Image Award and a GLAAD Media Award.  The New Black opened theatrically at New York’s Film Forum and aired on PBS’s Independent Lens. Yoruba has received numerous grants including from Sundance Documentary Fund, Chicken & Egg Pictures, and the Ford Foundation. She won the Creative Promise Award at Tribeca All Access and was also a Sundance Producers Fellow. Yoruba is a featured TED Speaker and a Guggenheim Fellow. She is director of the documentary program at the CUNY Graduate School of Journalism. Yoruba is currently working on How It Feels To Be Free, a two-part documentary chronicling how black entertainers like Lena Horne and Cicely Tyson navigated the industry and took control of their own images, all while fighting for civil rights through their art and actions.

Elaine McMillion Sheldon
Elaine McMillion Sheldon is a documentary filmmaker and media artist who explores themes of identity, roots, and change. She’s the director of Hollow, the Emmy-nominated and Peabody-winning interactive documentary that explores life in the Appalachian coalfields. She’s also the co-producer of The Lower 9, a feature-length documentary about The Lower Ninth Ward of New Orleans after Hurricane Katrina. Sheldon’s film and interactive work has been exhibited nationally and internationally, from the New York Film Festival to IDFA. Sheldon was a 2013 Future of Storytelling Fellow, and named one of the “25 New Faces of Independent Film” in 2013 by Filmmaker Magazine and one of “50 People Changing The South” in 2015 by Southern Living Magazine. She works across platforms and mediums—film, photo, audio, interactive media—to create storytelling experiences. Sheldon is currently working on several projects that employ the storytelling skills she has developed for multiple mediums, including short and feature filmmaking, longform and interactive journalism, participatory media, virtual reality, and audio storytelling. Two of the film-based projects include a feature-length documentary about home, identity, and roots of Latino families living in Appalachia, and a short-film collaboration with the New York Times Op-Docs centered on the election year in rural America.

Michèle Stephenson
Michèle Stephenson pulls from her Caribbean roots and international experience as a human rights attorney to tell compelling personal stories that resonate beyond the margins. Her work has appeared on a variety of broadcast and web platforms, including PBS, Showtime, and MTV. Her most recent film, American Promise, was nominated for three Emmys including Best Documentary. The film won the Jury Prize at Sundance and was selected for the New York Film Festival’s Main Slate. Stephenson’s community engagement work has won numerous awards including the BRITDOC Puma Impact Award and a Revere Award nomination from the American Publishers Association. Other films directed by Stephenson include Slaying Goliath and Faces of Change. Her recent book, “Promises Kept,” written with co-authors Joe Brewster and Hilary Beard, won an NAACP Image Award. Stephenson is currently working on Hispaniola, a documentary chronicling the lives of families affected by the TC-186 Dominican Republic Supreme Court ruling that strips citizenship from individuals of Haitian descent who were born in the country. She’s also part of the filmmaking team behind Conversations On Race, a New York Times Op-Docs series of short films that uses powerful personal narratives to elevate shared experiences of race and equality.