Programs

Our programs support women nonfiction filmmakers at various stages in their careers. If you are a first- or second-time filmmaker, check out our Accelerator Lab (apply now, deadline: July 10, 2017). We currently do not accept unsolicited applications for our Diversity Fellows Initiative, Impact & Innovation Initiative, and Breakthrough Filmmaker Awards. If you’re interested in information about our past programming, visit our Reel Reproductive Justice page.

We support filmmakers from diverse backgrounds who are both committed to social change and to the art and craft of filmmaking. When we choose a project, it is because we believe the film needs to be made–and that the particular filmmaker is the one to make it. Our grantees have unique access to their subjects, a collaborative spirit, and the courage to take creative risks. When choosing a project, we look for:

  • Storytelling: Original story, tone, style, and structure
  • Diversity: In all its forms
  • Innovation: Filmmakers with unique voices and projects that take risks
  • Vision: A new perspective on an issue, special access into the story, and the ability to make the universal accessible and personal
  • Craft: Inextricable links between story and production value
  • Resonance: Timely, urgent, or compelling issues at stake

Completing and launching a documentary takes grit, nerve, and creativity; it also takes money, connections, and time. We offer women directors the tools to realize the full potential of their projects, both as works of art and as catalysts for change. Each of our programs represents a pivotal intervention in a woman’s filmmaking career; through them, we empower women storytellers to direct their own careers.

Accelerator Lab

Overview

The Accelerator Lab is focused on identifying and supporting women nonfiction directors working on their first or second feature-length documentary. This program brings together ten projects helmed by first- or second-time directors, with a special focus on underrepresented voices.

Each project receives a $35,000 grant in three parts for the production of a film, to be developed over the course of the 12-month program. All directors of the ten projects come together at various points over the course of a year for an intensive period of professional development, tailored mentorship and workshops with industry experts, creatively fusing the art and craft of filmmaking with best practices and peer-to-peer support.

Format

  • Funding & Mentorship: Chicken & Egg Pictures has an established model of providing strategic funding and mentorship in ways that maximize that support. The Accelerator Lab ratchets up this successful model, helping filmmakers meet their goals faster and with more intensive support.
  • Retreats: Mentorship is the focus of the three intensive retreats held during the program that grantees will be required to attend. Mentorship is aimed at helping grantees to make strides as artists, storytellers, and movement builders; giving deep, direct insight on grantees’ individual projects to release the most successful film possible; and providing grantees with the tools to parlay all of that growth and experience into a sustainable career.
  • Industry Meetings: One of the retreats coincides with public film festivals or markets where grantees can have the opportunity to build industry connections and receive precursory visibility, as participants in special forum sidebars.
  • Peer Support: Participants benefit from the knowledge and experiences of their peers as part of a vibrant community of shared ideas and mutual support.

Guidelines & Criteria

Guidelines for the 2018 Accelerator Lab for first- and second-time filmmakers:

  • Project Type, Length, and Production Status: This current round is geared only toward nonfiction feature length films. Projects must be currently in early production (at least 10% of their footage shot) or up to mid-production (no more than 60% of their footage shot) by the date of application. Projects must be aiming toward feature length films. (See FAQ for details on length requirements.)
  • Subject Matter: We’re passionate about films that address the global justice, human rights, and environmental issues of our time. While we prioritize films that focus on social issues, having a social issue in the film is not explicitly required. Personal stories are eligible.
  • Not accepted: Through the Accelerator Lab, we do not support:
    • Fiction Films
    • Short Films
    • Student Projects
    • Transmedia Projects
    • Engagement/Outreach Campaigns
    • Projects not directed or co-directed by a woman (Transgender women*/gender nonconforming individuals are accepted.
  • International Applications: International filmmakers are encouraged to apply.
  • Fiscal Sponsor: Please note that if you are accepted into the program, you must arrange to be represented by a US 501(c)(3) fiscal sponsor. This applies to both US-based and international filmmakers. You do not need to have a fiscal sponsor secured at the time of the application. If accepted, Chicken & Egg Pictures staff can provide a list of US organizations that offer fiscal sponsorship.
  • Please check our FAQ before contacting us with questions about the application process.

Deadlines

We are currently accepting applications for our 2018 Accelerator Lab Open Call.

There is one deadline for the 2018 Open Call: Monday, July 10, 2017, 3:00 PM EDT. The application fee is $35.

We recommend you go through the application questions well in advance of the deadline to prepare your answers, review the length requirements, and gather the requested links and documents. The application questions are available for download here.

All applicants will be notified by early December 2017.

The first retreat will take place in March/early-April 2018. One month before the first retreat, all participants will participate in their first one-on-one mentorship call to evaluate project status and program goals.

Application Checklist

Application Checklist

Filling out the Online Application

We recommend you go through the application questions well in advance of the deadline to prepare your answers, review the length requirements, and gather the requested links and documents.

Work Sample

To apply for a grant, you must submit a current project sample of the project you are applying with.  Second-time filmmakers must submit a prior work sample of the first feature-length film they directed. First-time filmmakers can  submit an optional short nonfiction film as a prior work sample or a film in which the applicant played a prominent role. Please see the FAQ for complete details about work samples, but, in summary, every application requires a:

  • Current project sample (7-20 minutes) of the project with which you’re applying;
  • Prior work sample (no length limit) of a film that the applicant either previously directed or in which they played a prominent role. This is optional for first-time filmmakers and mandatory for second-time filmmakers. Please see the FAQ for details on how this requirement affects first-time filmmakers.

All work samples must be in English or have accurate English subtitles onscreen.

Budget

  • Each application must attach a budget top sheet. The system will accept PDF and Excel formats.
  • The budget should address the following costs of the film production: crew salaries, equipment, travel/housing expenses, post-production, office/admin costs, music, legal fees, etc. We should be able to follow your budget in tandem with your narrative material.
  • Please be sure to include a line item for directors’ and producers’ salaries; we believe that it is key for filmmakers to factor in their own payment in the budget.

Fiscal Sponsorship

A fiscal sponsor is a 501(c)(3) organization that shares its tax-exempt status with individual filmmakers, meaning that you are able to accept charitable grants. In exchange for this service, they may take a percentage from 3-8% of the incoming funds.

Applicants do not need to have a fiscal sponsor in order to apply. However, they must have one in order to receive a grant. You do not need to have a fiscal sponsor secured at the time of the application. If accepted, Chicken & Egg Pictures staff can provide a list of US organizations that offer fiscal sponsorship.

Application Fee

The application fee is $35. This fee must be paid for the submission to be complete.

  • The fee is payable by credit or debit card.
  • You will receive a receipt by email.

FAQ

Programs FAQs

What’s new about the application for the 2018 Accelerator Lab program?

The main change for this year’s application has been that Chicken & Egg Pictures has opted into the Documentary Core Application. Our hope is that your responses to these questions will result in material that may be used for additional applications as you move forward with your fundraising. To learn more about the Documentary Core Application project, visit the IDA website.

How much are your grants?

Grants for the Accelerator Lab will be up to $35,000 for each chosen film. The grants will be disbursed in installments throughout the program, beginning in March/early-April 2018, with further installments tied to agreed-upon deliverables and deadlines.

How do you define first-time filmmakers? How do you define second-time filmmakers?

We define a first-time filmmaker as someone who has never completed a feature-length documentary film. An applicant still qualifies as a first-time filmmaker if they have made multiple shorts or a web series. We don’t consider anything less than 50 minutes to be a feature-length film. We consider anything over 50 minutes to be a feature-length film.

We define a second-time filmmaker as someone who has not completed more than one feature-length documentary film.

What if we are co-directors and one of us is a first-time filmmaker, but the other has made more than two feature-length films?

Co-directing teams with one first- or second-time filmmaker and one more experienced co-director are allowed to apply, but priority will be given to first- and second-time filmmaking teams. Please note that the prior work sample of co-directing teams that consist of a first- or second-time filmmaker and a more experienced filmmaker must be representative of the first- or second-time filmmaker’s experience.

How do you define feature-length?

We consider feature-length films to be projects over 50 minutes, including those that may be aiming for a PBS hour (56:40), or a classic feature-length (over 72 minutes). Combined web series or any shorts that could be counted as a feature when added together do not qualify as feature-length for this Open Call.

What if I have previously made a feature-length fiction film, but this is my first feature-length nonfiction film?

If you’ve made one or more feature-length fiction film(s) but no feature-length nonfiction film(s), you are eligible to apply as a first-time filmmaker (see our definition for first- and second-time filmmakers).

What production stages are eligible?

To be eligible for the Accelerator Lab, applicants must be between early-production and mid-production, with no less than 10% and no more than 60% of their footage shot by the date of the application deadline. We’re only accepting projects between these stages because we want to ensure that we have the greatest opportunity possible to make an impact on the production of the project and on the development of the director’s career during the 2018 program year.

Can I apply with more than one project?

Please only apply with the one project that you feel is the best fit for Chicken & Egg Pictures. Read our guidelines and look at the films we have supported to get an idea of our interests. If you really cannot choose between two projects, you can email us at info@chickeneggpics.org with a short description of both films and ask for our advice (this advice will not impact your application). Always include your project title name in the subject line of your email.

I identify as transgender/gender nonconforming. Can I apply?

Our application is open to self-identifying women (cis or trans) and gender nonconforming individuals.

If I’ve received a grant from Chicken & Egg Pictures in the past, can I reapply?

Those who are first- or second-time filmmakers, and who are still in early or mid-production and haven’t shot more than 60% of their footage, may apply for this funding round. If you have completed a project that received a grant from Chicken & Egg Pictures but still qualify as a first- or second-time filmmaker and are beginning a new film, you are welcome to apply.

If I applied in the past but my project was not selected, can I reapply?

If the director is a first- or second-time filmmaker, and if the project has still not shot more than 60% of its footage, past applicants may apply again. We urge you to consider how your project has evolved since your last submission, and to clearly state how that progress is evident in both your proposal and work-in-progress.

What if I can’t afford the application fee?

Please contact info@chickeneggpics.org, with the subject heading “Accelerator Lab Application Fee Waiver Request” for further information.

I have not shot anything yet for my proposed project. I have a great idea, a character, and access. How can I apply?

Projects in the early production stage are eligible. At least 10% of shot material is required. No matter what stage of the project, filmmakers are required to submit at least seven minutes of edited footage to apply. Second-time filmmakers must submit a previous work sample. Please see the FAQ for details on requirements for work samples.

What work samples do you require for the application?

All applicants must submit:

  1. A sample of the project with which they’re applying;
  2. A prior work sample is obligatory for second-time filmmakers and optional for first-time filmmakers. Second-time filmmakers must submit a sample from their first feature-length film.

See below for details about these different kinds of work samples.

Current Project Samples should run between 7-20 minutes and can consist of a trailer, 2 or 3 scene selects or excerpts, or a combination of a trailer and scene selects.

    • IMPORTANT NOTE: Since we’ll be looking at your ability to construct a story, we encourage first-time filmmakers to ensure that their work samples include constructed scene selects/excerpts.

Prior Work Samples (no length limit) of a film that the applicant either previously directed or in which they played a prominent role, if applicable for first-time filmmakers and mandatory for second-time filmmakers. The purpose of a prior work sample is to give us a sense of the director’s visual style, storytelling ability, ambition, and ability to follow through. Prior work sample must be documentary, hybrid of fiction and nonfiction, or other forms of nonfiction. The sample can be a feature-length film or in short format, including web series, animation, or experimental. Fiction work, music videos, commercial work, and PSAs are not accepted as prior work sample. We understand the creative value of this work but, because of its nature, it does not allow us to see your author’s voice and vision as a documentary filmmaker. First-time filmmakers may submit previously directed work that is not a feature-length film but this must still be documentary, hybrid, or other form of nonfiction, such as web series, animation, or experimental. If none of this is available, you may submit a work sample from a separate project in which you held a prominent creative role in the production, such as producer, A.D., cinematographer, or editor. Please be sure to describe your role in the creation of the completed work submitted. Note that samples of work directed by you are strongly preferred over samples of work where you held a prominent role but did not participate as director or co-director.

    • Second-time filmmakers must submit a prior work sample of a completed film on which they served as director or co-director.
    • Co-directing teams that consist of a first-time/second-time filmmaker and a veteran filmmaker must submit a prior work sample from the first-time/second-time filmmaker.

All work samples must be in English or have accurate English subtitles onscreen.

Here are a few important technical notes to keep in mind when submitting your work samples:

    • All work samples must be accessible via a downloadable URL (Vimeo, YouTube, or private hosting site). You must provide us with a link and password to review the sample.
    • Please test your links and passwords and make sure they play all the way through the samples. Please also make sure your links will stay live and be accessible through December 2017.
    • We prefer that you submit using a link and password, but if you are absolutely unable to submit online, you may email info@chickeneggpics.org, with “DVD submission request” and your project title in the subject line to request permission.

Some notes on trailers, character strands, scene selects, and raw footage:

    • Trailers: Trailers can often be slick, fast, and energetic, and may not give us an accurate sense of your film’s tone, character development, or story structure. If you’re submitting a trailer, we encourage you to also attach a couple of additional scenes to give us more of a chance to experience your style and get a feel for your characters, access, relationship to the material, and narrative arc.
    • Character strands: If you’ve been following a character over time and want to show their evolution or development, you might want to string together scenes that show the character’s progression. A character strand doesn’t require formal transitions or the scenes to be interwoven with others, but it should demonstrate a character’s story arc, what makes them unique, and your depth of access to them. Please do this only if the character is your lead and a major part of the story.
    • Selected Scenes/Excerpts: If you are a bit further along, you can send us a selection of edited scenes or an excerpt of an early assembly of the film. These can be edited together consecutively to tell us a part of your story (with transitions), or they can be intercut with black in between (no transitions), to show us the range of your story. Scene selects or excerpts should provide us with a feel for how your story will play out in real time; they should also offer a sense of your tone, pacing, and cinematic language.

What makes a good logline?

A logline is a concise, story-driven description that explains the heart of your project in one or two sentences. Because nearly every film festival, producer, distributor, or other industry professional will want to see one, you should spend time developing a strong logline for your project. A good logline introduces your central character, their world, their goals, and the forces standing in their way. It should be in concert with your title and tagline, and offer a bit of double meaning and mystery that compels the reader to want more.

A few examples from projects funded by Chicken & Egg Pictures:

  • Ai Weiwei: Never Sorry: Can an artist change China? Ai Weiwei: Never Sorry follows two tumultuous years in the life of Ai Weiwei, when he became a superstar, a dissident of the art world, in the headlines, a first-time father and an online god to tens of thousands of Chinese netizens, all while trying to stay out of prison.
  • Black Out: A literal and metaphorical journey towards enlightenment, Black Out shows how children reconcile their daily lives in Guinea, one of the world’s poorest countries, with their desire to learn.

What makes a good synopsis?

A strong synopsis, like a strong logline, will focus on the heart of the story that drives your project. It will be longer than a logline, but still keep it concise — we recommend sticking to 1 to 2 pages. Your synopsis should give your story a beginning, middle, and end, mentioning key moments where your character or characters encounter particular challenges. It should also mention briefly the broader implications of the personal struggles at stake.

A few examples of synopses from projects funded by Chicken & Egg Pictures:

  • Among the Believers: A Pakistani radical cleric, Aziz declares a war against the government to impose Islamic utopia in the country. The government retaliates by destroying his seminary and killing 150 students. The film charts the coming-of-age stories of his students, representing the hard circumstances both extremism and poverty pose for many young Pakistanis. Talha, 12, dreams of becoming a jihadi preacher. Zarina, also 12, escapes the madrassa and joins a secular school, but her poverty forces her to drop out.
  • Beautiful Sin: What if you desperately wanted a baby, but your country and religion prohibited you from trying the one medical treatment that could help you? Beautiful Sin tells the surprising, decade-long story of three couples struggling with infertility in Costa Rica who fight their government in an international human rights court for the right to use in vitro fertilization. Costa Rica is the only country in the world that has outlawed the treatment, in which doctors create embryos in the lab.
  • 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 US 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 that led to this modern day witch-hunt. 

How many applications receive funding?

The 2018 Open Call for the Accelerator Lab will fund ten applications: a combination of first-time and second-time filmmakers.

If I am selected for the Accelerator Lab, would Chicken & Egg Pictures request a credit on my film?

The standard credit we’ll request of grantees in the Accelerator Lab will be “In Association with Chicken & Egg Pictures.”

Do you provide feedback on applications to which you do not award grants?

We are a small staff with limited capacity, and cannot provide one-on-one feedback to all applicants. We do provide some feedback for those whose projects are shortlisted. Chicken & Egg Pictures believes wholeheartedly in the importance of feedback, and are constantly searching for ways to offer more support to all our applicants.

We are currently accepting applications for the Accelerator Lab.

Current Cohort

  • Unaccompanied Children
    Unaccompanied Children reveals America’s invisible refugee crisis through the eyes of one family that defies a broken system with their unwavering resilience. Deep in the everyday life of the loving and optimistic Gonzalez family, the horrific vio…
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    Unaccompanied Children reveals America’s invisible refugee crisis through the eyes of one family that defies a broken system with their unwavering resilience. Deep in the everyday life of the loving and optimistic Gonzalez family, the horrific violence of gang-ridden Honduras and the encroaching threat of draconian US enforcement are almost forgotten. The film goes beyond the traditional immigration narrative to a nuanced, intimate story which implicates us all in how we care for the most vulnerable.

    Unaccompanied Children

  • The Guardian of Memory
    The Juarez Valley, a region once known for cotton production, is now nothing more than burned down houses, empty towns, and memories. Carlos Spector, an immigration lawyer born in El Paso, TX, fights to obtain political asylum for Mexicans fleeing fr…
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    The Juarez Valley, a region once known for cotton production, is now nothing more than burned down houses, empty towns, and memories. Carlos Spector, an immigration lawyer born in El Paso, TX, fights to obtain political asylum for Mexicans fleeing from violence. This is the story of Mexican men, women, and children seeking a respite from their tragedies by heading to their neighboring country, the US. It is also a story about the kindness and hope that still exists in people who have gone through hell, and about Carlos Spector’s tireless efforts to keep memory alive.

    The Guardian of Memory

  • The Rashomon Effect
    An immersive examination of divergent eyewitness narratives in the wake of a police shooting. …
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    An immersive examination of divergent eyewitness narratives in the wake of a police shooting.

    The Rashomon Effect

  • Kids Can Spit
    The feature documentary Kids Can Spit follows three New York City teenagers over the school year as they gear up to compete against one another at the Science Genius B.A.T.T.L.E.S. (Bringing Attention to Transforming, Teaching, and Learning Science)…
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    The feature documentary Kids Can Spit follows three New York City teenagers over the school year as they gear up to compete against one another at the Science Genius B.A.T.T.L.E.S. (Bringing Attention to Transforming, Teaching, and Learning Science), a science-themed rap competition. The competition’s creator, Professor Chris Emdin, believes hip-hop is uniquely suited to teach science. For students Mannix, Genesis, and Jason, this battle is a way to beat society’s odds while carving their identities and finding their voices. Pressure mounts on Chris to prove his innovative curriculum does what traditional science classes have failed to do: engage disenfranchised Black and Latinx youth to become proficient in science through rap.

    Kids Can Spit

  • People I Know
    People I Know is a tragicomedy vérité about a young married couple living in an old trailer. Prone to nervous breakdowns, Michael is unable to stand consumer society and becomes a street musician. His wife Nathalie is an oncology nurse. One day, Na…
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    People I Know is a tragicomedy vérité about a young married couple living in an old trailer. Prone to nervous breakdowns, Michael is unable to stand consumer society and becomes a street musician. His wife Nathalie is an oncology nurse. One day, Nathalie discovers that she wants to own a house so much that she’s ready to take on a lifelong loan.

    People I Know

  • Bangla Surf Girls
    Jahanara, Rifa, and Ayesha live in one of the poorest slums near the beaches of Cox’s Bazar in Bangladesh. From a young age, the girls are sent to work in order to supplement the family income, and social norms dictate that they will be married whe…
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    Jahanara, Rifa, and Ayesha live in one of the poorest slums near the beaches of Cox’s Bazar in Bangladesh. From a young age, the girls are sent to work in order to supplement the family income, and social norms dictate that they will be married when they turn 14 or 15 years old. The girls discover a newfound freedom in a surf club and find out they have the skills and talent to win competitions. This spurs their ambitions and they dream of becoming the first international female surfers of Bangladesh.

    Bangla Surf Girls

  • Lights Camera Uganda
    Against all odds, former bricklayer and teacher Isaac Nabwana has turned his small home in the slums of Uganda’s capital city into the Wakaliwood action movie studio. After 10 years and 40+ films, Wakaliwood has become an overnight international me…
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    Against all odds, former bricklayer and teacher Isaac Nabwana has turned his small home in the slums of Uganda’s capital city into the Wakaliwood action movie studio. After 10 years and 40+ films, Wakaliwood has become an overnight international media sensation, inspiring others around the world to follow in his footsteps. When New York film nerd Alan Hofmanis shows up on his doorstep one day, everything is bound to change.

    Lights Camera Uganda

  • The Surrender of Waymond Hall
    The Surrender of Waymond Hall tells the redemption story of a young black fugitive on the run for the violent crime he committed a decade ago. With extraordinary access, the film follows Way as he wrestles with the excruciating decision to turn himse…
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    The Surrender of Waymond Hall tells the redemption story of a young black fugitive on the run for the violent crime he committed a decade ago. With extraordinary access, the film follows Way as he wrestles with the excruciating decision to turn himself in, faces the watershed moment of surrender, and navigates a criminal justice system accused of discriminating against people just like him. His story exposes flaws in our societal institutions and in human nature, unfolding against a backdrop of national debates over the divisive racial impact of our criminal justice policies and the remarkable push to reform them.

    The Surrender of Waymond Hall

  • Born in China
    How much control does a person have over their own life? In China, state control begins before a child is even born. …
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    How much control does a person have over their own life? In China, state control begins before a child is even born.

    Born in China

  • Rajada Dalka/Nation's Hope
    Somalia’s newly revived Women’s Basketball team seeks to inspire their nation as they overcome immense challenges in their first season since the outbreak of war in 1991. To continue to play the game they love, the team must defy both religious l…
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    Somalia’s newly revived Women’s Basketball team seeks to inspire their nation as they overcome immense challenges in their first season since the outbreak of war in 1991. To continue to play the game they love, the team must defy both religious leaders and violent militant groups that believe that their sporting ambitions are un-Islamic. They must also battle against the sexism faced by women in sports across the world.

    Rajada Dalka/Nation's Hope

Breakthrough Filmmaker Awards

The Chicken & Egg Pictures Breakthrough Filmmaker Award responds to the reality that only a few women nonfiction directors in the U.S. are able to work full-time as independent storytellers. Despite progress by talented women filmmakers across the country, there are still numerous roadblocks that stand in the way of those filmmakers truly breaking through in the documentary industry. These roadblocks are often tied to gender, race, class, disability, and geography, among other factors.

This program recognizes and elevates five mid-career women* directors with unique voices who are poised to reach new heights and become strong filmmaker-advocates for urgent issues. The award consists of a $50,000 unrestricted grant and a year-long mentorship tailored to each filmmaker’s individual goals. We support these artists in breaking through to the next level of their careers and as they become influential leaders for the issues they are exploring on-screen.

Through these awards, Chicken & Egg Pictures is making a bold investment in women artists, and an equally bold statement about representation and gender equity. We view this as inextricably connected to elevating the critical social justice, environmental, and human rights issues of the day, ensuring that a greater diversity of voices are participating in the storytelling that drives change.

Recipients of the Chicken & Egg Pictures Breakthrough Filmmaker Award are chosen through a confidential nomination process. Unsolicited applications are not accepted.

*Chicken & Egg Pictures supports self-identifying women (cis or trans) and gender nonconforming individuals.

Format

In addition to financial support, the Chicken & Egg Pictures Breakthrough Filmmaker Award grantees will participate in a year-long mentorship program that will focus on strengthening their professional infrastructure, increasing their public and industry visibility, and fulfilling their specific personal and creative goals.

This intimate, in-depth mentorship program will address each grantee’s needs and aspirations using a tailored, multi-layered approach. Each grantee will:

  • Work with Chicken & Egg Pictures to define what “breaking through” means for her;
  • Brainstorm the best strategy to move her forward in her Breakthrough year;
  • Develop specific goals and tactics to accomplish those aspirations, which she will execute during the program year with our support;
  • Have access to a strategic planning coach and an industry support network to build out those tactics and achieve those goals;
  • Participate in group retreats where she will have the opportunity to make connections with veteran filmmakers, industry decision-makers, and fellow Breakthrough awardees; and
  • Contribute to an ecosystem of women filmmakers supporting one another by mentoring one filmmaker from the roster of active Chicken & Egg Pictures grantees.

Current Cohort

  • 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 2016 Tribeca Film Festival. Her film with Sharmeen Obaid-Chinoy, A Jou…
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    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 2016 Tribeca 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 RiverRun 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.

    Geeta Gandbhir

  • 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 Honors for Best Documentary, Best Editing, Best Cinematogr…
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    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 Honors 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.

    Kirsten Johnson

  • 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 Nort…
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    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.

    Penny Lane

  • 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 doc…
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    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 Of 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.

    Grace Lee

  • 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 hav…
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    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.

    Dawn Porter

Impact & Innovation Initiative

The growing demand for short-form and immersive content offers exciting possibilities for filmmakers. For newcomers, these frontiers can be low budget or low-stakes entry points. For social change, they can engage both strategic constituencies and larger audiences. They can also help filmmakers expand a portfolio and attract funding for feature-length work. Through the Impact & Innovation Initiative, Chicken & Egg Pictures works to support women filmmakers to explore and create new ways of telling stories that enhance impact campaigns.

We do not currently accept unsolicited proposals for this program. You can follow us on Twitter and Facebook, or sign up for our newsletter, to stay updated on news and announcements regarding the Impact & Innovation Initiative.

Diversity Fellows Initiative

The Diversity Fellows Initiative brings together five nonfiction film projects, helmed by first- and second-time women filmmakers of color, for an intensive year-long period of support for each film, tailored mentorship and workshops, programming with Chicken & Egg Pictures staff and industry experts, and a retreat to attend the DOC NYC film festival.

Chicken & Egg Pictures created the Diversity Fellows Initiative to identify and increase the number of talented, diverse women nonfiction directors in the industry pipeline, and help their films reach the fullest potential in order to contribute to our greater goal of using artful and innovative storytelling to catalyze social change. By nurturing these filmmakers, we elevate diverse and talented storytellers who will play a vital role in the struggle to ensure social change for years to come.

Fellows are chosen from applications to the Accelerator Lab.

For more information on our current Diversity Fellows, as well as our partnership with The Harnisch Foundation, please visit our blog.

Current Cohort

  • It Rains
    Since Oliver was killed, he communicates with his mother María through the rain. He let her know the attorney’s office buried him, along with 117 other corpses, in a hidden mass grave. This sparks a new life mission for María: to hold the governm…
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    Since Oliver was killed, he communicates with his mother María through the rain. He let her know the attorney’s office buried him, along with 117 other corpses, in a hidden mass grave. This sparks a new life mission for María: to hold the government accountable for exhuming them all and returning the bodies back to the families who have been looking for them for years.

    It Rains

  • The Other Half Of The African Sky
    The Other Half Of The African Sky follows filmmaker Tapiwa Chipfupa’s attempts to reconcile her estrangement from her family, triggered by a disagreement over her marriage. Through encounters with other women from all walks of life facing their own…
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    The Other Half Of The African Sky follows filmmaker Tapiwa Chipfupa’s attempts to reconcile her estrangement from her family, triggered by a disagreement over her marriage. Through encounters with other women from all walks of life facing their own predicaments, Tapiwa explores how women hold up their half of the sky under a very constrictive and constantly contradictory environment in this very personal, brutally honest, and intriguing document of the disparities and the vast contradictions that women face in contemporary Zimbabwe. The film gives voice to the hopes, fears, and dreams of Zimbabwe’s women while simultaneously revealing a country in flux.

    The Other Half Of The African Sky

  • How to Have an American Baby
    How to Have an American Baby is a kaleidoscopic voyage that travels behind closed doors into the booming shadow economy that caters to affluent Chinese tourists who travel to the US on birthing vacations—in order to give birth and obtain US citizen…
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    How to Have an American Baby is a kaleidoscopic voyage that travels behind closed doors into the booming shadow economy that caters to affluent Chinese tourists who travel to the US on birthing vacations—in order to give birth and obtain US citizenship for their babies. Tracing the underground supply chain from Beijing and Shanghai to Los Angeles, the film weaves together vignettes and deeply private moments. In bedrooms, delivery rooms, and family meetings, the story of a hidden global economy emerges—depicting the fortunes and tragedies that befall the ordinary people caught in the web of its influence.

    How to Have an American Baby

  • Untitled Race & Criminal Justice Project
    A nuanced look at how two communities of color navigate an uneven criminal justice system, anchored by one polarizing New York City case. …
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    A nuanced look at how two communities of color navigate an uneven criminal justice system, anchored by one polarizing New York City case.

    Untitled Race & Criminal Justice Project

  • Warrior Women
    The women of the American Indian Movement fight from a vulnerable place only matriarchs can understand—it is a battle for their children and the culture they hope to preserve for them. Warrior Women chronicles the struggle of Madonna Thunder Hawk a…
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    The women of the American Indian Movement fight from a vulnerable place only matriarchs can understand—it is a battle for their children and the culture they hope to preserve for them. Warrior Women chronicles the struggle of Madonna Thunder Hawk and Marcy Gilbert, a Lakota mother and daughter whose fight for indigenous rights started in the 1970s and continues today at Standing Rock.

    Through archival footage, verité, and video art, we experience Thunder Hawk’s dedication to Red Power and come to understand that activism is necessary for the very survival and success of Native culture and values for the next generation.

    Warrior Women

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