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

 

 

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

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.