Despite restrictions on movement, a motor racing scene has emerged in the West Bank. The races offer a release from the pressures and uncertainties of life under military occupation. The spirited competition between cities brings spectators out in the thousands, lining rooftops and leaning over barricades to snap photos of their favorite drivers. Brought together by a common desire to live life on their own terms, five determined women have joined the ranks of dozens of male drivers — competing against each other for the title, for bragging rights, for their hometown, and to prove that women can compete head-on with the guys. The Speed Sisters are the first all-women race car driving team in the Middle East. They’re bold. They’re fearless. And they’re tearing up tracks all over Palestine. Both intimate and action-filled, Speed Sisters captures the drive to defy all odds, leaving in its trail shattered stereotypes about gender and the Arab world.
About the Director
Amber Fares is a Canadian-born filmmaker with Lebanese roots residing in Ramallah, Palestine. In the aftermath of 9/11, Amber left her career in marketing with some of Canada’s biggest brands to deepen her understanding of life in the Middle East. In response to her experience, Amber co-founded SocDoc Studios to produce story-driven films that explore social issues. Her directorial debut short, Ghetto Town (2009) has been shown at film festivals around the world. Speed Sisters is her first feature length documentary.
The 2021 Gotham Week Conference started this Sunday, September 19 and will run through Friday, September 24, with public panels and workshops exploring storytelling through film, TV, and audio. This year’s edition will focus on how the pandemic pushed media and entertainment to reinvent itself as well as focus on diversity, equity, and inclusion.
Their programming will feature the work of a number of filmmakers from the AlumNest: Amber Fares, Jessica Devaney, Nanfu Wang, and Beth Levison; plus 2021 (Egg)celerator Lab grantees Jude Chehab and 2019 Chicken & Egg Award Recipient Kimberly Reed are participating in theGotham Week (Virtual) Project Market.
Collaboration in convergence
Sunday, September 19
4:00 – 5:00 pm EDT
A conversation with the filmmaking team behind Netflix’s Convergence: Courage In A Crisis, where they will discuss the tools and tactics they used to create a globally collaborative film. Featuring Nest-supported filmmaker Amber Fares (Speed Sisters)
Women Owned Production Companies — Creating Your Path to Career Sustainability
Monday, September 20
10:00 am – 11:00 am EDT
A conversation between the leaders of women owned production companies discussing the difficulties they face to produce the work they want to make and build a strategic and long-lasting career. Featuring Nest-supported filmmaker and friend Jessica Devaney (Love the Sinner)
Exploring In the Same Breath
Dir. Nanfu Wang, prods. Nanfu Wang, Christopher Clements, Carolyn Hepburn, Sara Rodriguez, and Jialing Zhang
Thursday, September 23
1:00 pm – 2:00 pm EDT
A conversation with the production team of In the Same Breath, directed by 2017 Chicken & Egg Award Recipient Nanfu Wang and produced by current Chicken & Egg Award Recipient Jialing Zhang.
More than money: How film commissioners and other partnerships can help nurture your next project sponsored
Friday, September 24
12:00 pm – 1:00 pm EDT
Panel: learn how a film commissioner can become a meaningful partner to help build the collaborations that give a more authentic dimension to film projects. Featuring Beth Levison (producer of Made in Boise)
Free access through IGTV
Gotham Week (Virtual) Project Market
Q (2021 (Egg)celerator Lab grantee)
dir & prod. Jude Chehab
The Gender Project
dir. Kimberly Reed (2020 Chicken & Egg Award Recipient)
prods. Louise Rosen & Robin Honan
- Boycott, directed by 2019 Chicken & Egg Award recipient Julia Bacha, prods. Suhad Babaa & Danel Chalfen
- HER, directed by 2017 Chicken & Egg Award recipient Geeta Gandbhir, prods. Sonita Gale & Austyn Biggers
- JFK8 (working title), directed by AlumNest filmmaker Brett Story, prods. Marianne Verrone & Samantha Curley
- Coexistence, My Ass!, directed by Nest-supported filmmaker Amber Fares, prods. Rachel Leah Jones & Rabab Haj Yahya
Meet Our Team at CIFF
Representing Chicken & Egg Pictures, our Program Coordinator Iva Dimitrova and Filmmaker Engagement Manager Jaad Asante will be participating in the Gotham Week (Virtual) Project Market and taking meetings with women and gender nonconforming filmmakers and producers with projects in all stages of production.
Post by 2021 Summer Communications Intern Mariana Sanson.
Mark your calendars for June 29 and 30! The Chicken & Egg Pictures team will be viewing And She Could Be Next this Sunday, June 29 and Monday, June 30 on our local PBS stations. And She Could Be Next, directed by Chicken & Egg Award recipient Grace Lee and Chicken & Egg Pictures Board Member Marjan Safinia, tells the story of a defiant movement of women of color, transforming politics from the ground up.
And She Could Be Next was also field directed by Chicken & Egg Award recipients Yoruba Richen and Geeta Gandbhir and AlumNest filmmakers Amber Fares (Speed Sisters), Deborah S. Esquenazi (Southwest of Salem), and Anayansi Prado (Children in No Man’s Land). The series follows candidates and organizers across the country, asking whether democracy itself can be preserved—and made stronger—by those most marginalized, featuring history-makers including Rashida Tlaib, Stacey Abrams, Lucy McBath, Bushra Amiwala, Maria Elena Durazo, Veronica Escobar, Nse Ufot and more.
Monday, June 29
Episode One: Building The Movement opens with the powerful reminder that “women of color have been the backbone of our communities forever.” An energetic montage of modern American civil rights movements–from women’s suffrage to Stonewall, Black Lives Matter to Standing Rock–brings us to the 2018 midterm elections where a new generation of women of color is ready to take the lead. The documentary goes behind-the-scenes at local rallies, war rooms and church basements, where candidates and organizers embark on the campaign trail. We also witness the unique challenges they face, from well-resourced incumbents to systemic barriers that disproportionately affect black, brown and immigrant communities. As we get to know these women, we see how they do not live “single issue lives” but are each a product of a larger movement–one that is coalition-based, intergenerational and interfaith.
Tuesday, June 30
Episode Two: Claiming Power takes us to the weeks leading up to election day and focuses on how organizers combat voter suppression in their own communities. At the heart of the episode is a growing multi-ethnic coalition in Georgia, a state with a rich history of civil rights organizing and poised to be a “majority minority” state as early as 2025. In addition to the New Georgia Project, groups like Mijente and Asians for Abrams put boots on the ground to address language barriers, poll purges and “exact match” laws that impact thousands of voters across the state. As results roll in, there is celebration for some and disappointment for others–but for these community organizers, the work does not stop when the polls close. Through it all, these women present a collective vision of political power that is rooted in care, dignity and joy, and remind us that there is an organizer in all of us.
Learn more about And She Could Be Next here.
The DOC NYC Film Festival recently released their inaugural 40 Under 40 List, sponsored by Topic Studios, honoring documentary talents under the age of 40. Of the 40 artists selected, over half are women. Congratulations to all on this honor!
Assia Boundaoui, director of The Feeling of Being Watched (2016 Accelerator Lab and recipient of The Whickers Chicken & Egg Pictures Award)
Nausheen Dadabhoy, director of An Act of Worship (2018 Diversity Fellows Initiative)
Jessica Devaney, co-director of Love the Sinner (2016 Impact and Innovation Initiative), and producer of the Nest-supported films Always in Season, The Feeling of Being Watched, Roll Red Roll, and Speed Sisters.
Sabaah Folayan, director of Whose Streets? (2016 Accelerator Lab). Whose Streets? premiered on PBS on July 30.
Farihah Zaman, co-director of Remote Area Medical
And congratulations to our other Nest friends!
- Erin Casper, editor of Roll Red Roll (dir. Nancy Schwartzman)
- Mariam Dwedar, camera operator for On Her Shoulders (dir. Alexandria Bombach, 2018 SXSW LUNA/Chicken & Egg Pictures Award recipient)
- Danielle Vega, co-producer of Cameraperson (dir. Kirsten Johnson, 2017 Breakthrough Filmmaker Award)
Check out more DOC NYC news from the Nest.
Love the Sinner is a personal documentary exploring the connection between Christianity and homophobia in the wake of the shooting at Pulse nightclub in Orlando.
Queer filmmaker Jessica Devaney grew up deeply immersed in Evangelical Christianity in Florida. After breaking with her youth as a nationally recognized activist and leader among conservative Evangelicals, Jessica left Florida and didn’t look back. She built a life that took her as far away from home as possible. Over time, her daily life became a progressive echo chamber.
The mass shooting at Pulse was a wake up call. By avoiding hard conversations with church leadership, had she missed opportunities to challenge homophobia? Love the Sinner probes our responsibility to face bias in our communities and push for dignity and equality for all.
ABOUT THE DIRECTORS
Jessica Devaney is a Brooklyn-based producer and the founder of Multitude Films. She produced the Critic’s Choice nominated Speed Sisters (Hot Docs, 2015), which the New York Times called “subtly rebellious and defiantly optimistic” and Out Again (Outfest, 2017) for Refinery29’s Shatterbox Anthology. Forthcoming films include The Feeling of Being Watched, The Rashomon Effect, and Roll Red Roll. Jessica’s directorial debut short, Love the Sinner, premiered at Tribeca Film Festival in 2017, screened at over a dozen festivals, and was supported by The Harnisch Foundation, Fork Films, Sundance, The Fledgling Fund, and Chicken & Egg Pictures. Jessica was formerly the Director of Communications at Just Vision where she produced films in various capacities including Sundance and Guggenheim funded Naila and the Uprising (IDFA, 2017), Peabody Award-winning My Neighbourhood (Tribeca, 2012), the web series Home Front (Aspen ShortsFest, 2011), and Ridenhour Documentary Prize and PUMA Impact Award-winning Budrus (Berlin, Tribeca, 2010). Jessica has an MA in religious studies from Wake Forest University and studied at Georgetown’s Graduate School of Foreign Service in the Center for Contemporary Arab Studies. She co-founded the Queer Producers Collective, produced Doc Society’s inaugural Queer Impact Producers Lab, and was Sundance Edit and Story Lab Fellow and a Women at Sundance Fellow.
Geeta Gandbhir has won two Emmy® Awards, and her films have won an Academy Award® and three Peabody Awards. Most recently, a feature documentary she produced with Perri Peltz and directed with Academy Award®-winning director Sharmeen Obaid-Chinoy, A Journey of A Thousand Miles: Peacekeepers premiered at the 2015 Toronto International Film Festival. She is currently co-directing and co-producing a Conversation series on race with The New York Times Op-Docs, and she co-directed and edited the film, Remembering the Artist, Robert De Niro, Sr. with Perri Peltz for HBO. Her film, Which Way is the Front Line From Here? with author and Academy Award-nominated director Sebastian Junger was nominated for the 2014 News and Doc Emmy®.