AlumNest Relief Fund

Chicken & Egg Pictures in partnership with Women Make Movies 

“We need to be talking about tangible means of survival, sharing resources, and the realities of the inequalities prevalent in the art world that are imploding right now.” 
– AlumNest filmmaker, from Chicken & Egg Pictures’ COVID-19 Impact Survey


Since its inception in 2005, Chicken & Egg Pictures has supported over 325 talented, diverse women and gender nonconforming documentary directors from all around the world. The AlumNest program is Chicken & Egg Pictures’ way of holding a space for current and former Nest grantees—from first-time filmmakers to industry veterans—to communicate, connect and collaborate, so we can foster a strong, vibrant community.

In the beginning of April, we surveyed our AlumNest to determine how the spread of COVID-19 has impacted their lives. We knew that this crisis has affected our entire community and ecosystem, but in vastly different ways, and we wanted to hear from our filmmakers to see how our organization can best respond to the needs of the field. From our survey, we learned that our filmmakers are in great need: 73% of filmmaker respondents indicated that COVID-19 has already had a “heavy to significant impact” on their lives; 64% of survey respondents have experienced loss of jobs such as permanent employment, gigs, work for hire; and 60% indicated the crisis has had an impact on their emotional and mental health. Many of our filmmakers have lost all or nearly all their sources of income and indicated that the issues they are facing are interrelated, with one issue triggering or exacerbating another.

To help alleviate some of these financial burdens, the AlumNest Relief Fund offers small grants of $1,000 to Chicken & Egg Pictures supported filmmakers facing a financial emergency due to COVID-19. We launched our first round of funding for the AlumNet Relief Fund in June and are glad to be able to provide another round in October.

We want to support the community we have spent so many years growing and investing in and provide our filmmakers with financial and moral support in these unprecedented times. The fund addresses the reality that many of our supported filmmakers have lost work or sources of income to pay for basic living costs such as housing, food, and physical and mental healthcare; several others have additional financial responsibilities with children or elderly parents to care for, and as single parents. While everyone is experiencing different issues in different ways, one thing remains clear: this is not a time to lose our storytellers. They are the ones who are getting us through this moment with their art; and the ones who will be telling this story for future generations. We need their voices to help us build the new world we want to live in once we are on the other side of this crisis.


  • Trust: As a show of trust in our community, we are asking the filmmaker to self determine whether they meet the criteria for eligibility.
  • Equitability: Our goal is to support as many eligible filmmakers in our AlumNest community as possible. We aim to create the fairest possible process in meeting this goal.   
  • Simplicity: We aim to keep the AlumNest Relief Fund application as simple and straightforward as possible so that our filmmakers are not burdened by the process.
  • Transparency: To build mutual trust, we want to share our thinking and process with you.


All Chicken & Egg Pictures supported filmmakers should have received an email with a link to submit their application by the deadline on Monday, February 15, 2021 at 10 am ET .

It’s our goal to fund any and all eligible filmmakers who apply. In this third round, we have raised enough funding to provide grants to 77 filmmakers in our Nest. We want you to know that if we can support all the applications, we will. That said, if we have a higher number of applications than funds available, we will grant the funds through a lottery process. We believe this is the fairest and most impartial method of disbursing this need-based grant, as it will give all qualifying filmmakers who apply an equal chance to receive funding.

To disburse the grants, we are partnering with Women Make Movies (WMM), our friends in film who provide distribution, production assistance, and fiscal sponsorship to women filmmakers. WMM will process 50 grants per week until all grants have been disbursed.

Note: If you are an AlumNest filmmaker and have not received an email from us, please reach out to Sabine Fayoux Cantillo, Program Manager, at sharing your name, the name of the film, and the year(s) you received support from Chicken & Egg Pictures.


February 5 : Chicken & Egg Pictures opens applications for the AlumNest Relief Fund.

February 15  at 10 am ET :  AlumNest Relief Fund Application Deadline.

February 18: Process applications. If the number of applications surpasses the fund budget, Chicken & Egg Pictures runs a lottery process for all eligible applicants to select grantees.

March 1-12: Grants disbursement. (50 grants per week until all grants are disbursed.)


To be eligible to apply for the AlumNest Relief Fund, you must be a woman or gender nonconforming AlumNest director experiencing a financial emergency due to COVID-19.

We define a financial emergency as any of the following:

  • Due to lost work or other significant sources of income (for example, job lay off, cancelled speaking engagements, screenings or freelance work, etc.), a filmmaker is unable to pay living costs such as: rent or mortgage, utilities, groceries, medical expenses. 
  • A filmmaker, experiencing issues related to mental or emotional health, is unable to pay for professional support and/or medication.
  • A filmmaker’s household income has significantly decreased during the  COVID-19 pandemic, or they have significantly increased financial responsibilities during the COVID-19 pandemic.

Other criteria:

  • AlumNest filmmakers who applied and received an AlumNest Relief Fund Grant in Round 1 and/or Round 2 are eligible to apply for Round 3 funding.
  • AlumNest filmmakers who received a grant from Chicken & Egg Pictures in 2020 are eligible to apply for Round 3 funding (including filmmakers in the 2020 (Egg)celerator Lab, 2020 Chicken & Egg Award, 2020 Project: Hatched, 2020 Docs By the Dozen).
  • US- and internationally-based AlumNest filmmakers can apply. (Due to US government restrictions, we are legally unable to send funds to the following countries: Cuba, Iran, North Korea, Syria, Crimea Region of Ukraine.)
  • Funds disbursed to international, non-US accounts cannot be spent inside the US.
  • You must be able to receive funds to your bank account via ACH/Direct Deposit or Wire Transfer (no checks will be mailed).

You are NOT eligible if you: 

  • Plan to use these funds towards a film project.
  • Have a stable job/salary or are not facing a financial emergency.  
  • Note: if you’re not experiencing a financial emergency due to COVID-19, we ask that you allow these limited funds to support other filmmakers in the AlumNest community who are under greater financial duress.


AlumNest Relief Fund

I applied to the first and/or second round of AlumNest Relief Fund and received a grant. Can I apply again?

Yes. If you’re continuing to experience a financial emergency due to COVID-19, you may apply for Round 3 of funding.

If you can’t give grants to all eligible AlumNest filmmakers, how will you choose which filmmakers receive a grant?

While we will try our best to raise all necessary funds, if we are not able to, we strongly believe the most impartial way of selecting applicants is through a lottery process as it will give all qualifying filmmakers who applied an equal chance to receive the grant.

Our team will confirm eligibility for all applicants before running the applications through the lottery. We will generate a list of all eligible applicants and input their email addresses through a secure random selection tool. We will input the number of grants we can provide and have the randomized generator select email addresses at random.

Can I use this grant to pay the salary of a team member?

No. As part of our guiding principles, we trust that you will use this grant to pay for your living costs such as rent or mortgage, childcare, utilities, groceries, medical costs, or to pay for professional support and/or medication related to mental or emotional health.

Will I have to provide additional information for the grant to be disbursed?

Yes. If granted, you will receive an email asking you to send us the following documents: 

  • A completed and signed grant letter (including your mailing address and email address for US tax form 1099)
  • A completed and signed W-9 form (for those who pay taxes in the US) or a W-8BEN form (for those who do not pay taxes in the US)
  • A completed and signed bank information form

When will I receive the grant?

50 grants per week will be processed starting the week of March 1  until the week of March 8. Although this is not a first-come first-served process, we will process grants in the order in which we receive the final materials.

Will I have to pay taxes on this grant?

Yes. All grants above $500 are taxable and must be declared as income. We considered granting $500 for that reason but we preferred to try and give more even though you will be taxed. If granted, you will have to submit a W-9 or W-8BEN form. Women Make Movies will send you 1099s if you are required to pay US taxes. 

I was forwarded information about the AlumNest Relief Fund, can I apply?

Only women and gender nonconforming directors previously supported by Chicken & Egg Pictures can apply.

I’m a male co-director, can I apply?

In line with our primary mission, only women and gender nonconforming directors may apply to the AlumNest Relief Fund.

I’m a producer, can I apply?

In order to apply, you must have been supported by Chicken & Egg Pictures as a director or co-director. 


To submit an application, complete the following form. The deadline to submit an application is Monday, February 15, 2021 at 10 am ET.


If you have any questions regarding our AlumNest Relief Fund, please reach out to Sabine Fayoux Cantillo, Program Manager, at