Chicken & Egg Pictures announced today via Realscreen that Nekisa Cooper will succeed Julie Parker Benello as President of its Board of Directors. Nekisa, who joined the Board of Directors in 2021 and has served as Vice President since January 2023, will assume the new role as of January 1, 2024.
Julie co-founded Chicken & Egg Pictures with Wendy Ettinger and Judith Helfand in 2005. She served as the first Board President, a role she has held since the Board of Directors was established in 2016, and will continue as a member of the Board.
Nekisa is a creative producer and content executive who has dedicated her career to elevating under-recognized voices. Her producing credits include two Chicken & Egg Pictures supported films, the feature film Pariah, which is part of the Criterion Collection and the American National Film Registry, and the Sundance Channel documentary Eventual Salvation. She was most recently Vice President of Content at MasterClass, the number one e-learning brand. Under her leadership, the industry-disrupting library was built from a concept to over 175 MasterClasses featuring diverse figures as Hillary Clinton, Mira Nair, Spike Lee, Roxane Gay, Massimo Bottura, Stephen Curry, and Shonda Rhimes.
In addition to co-founding Chicken & Egg Pictures, Julie is the founder of Secret Sauce Media. She produced Steven Bognar and Julia Reichert’s Academy Award® winning feature documentary American Factory and Bonni Cohen and Jon Shenk’s Emmy® Award winning Athlete A. Most recently, she produced longtime collaborator Judith Helfand’s Love & Stuff as well as Sarah Jones’ feature debut Sell Buy Date.
Jenni Wolfson, CEO of Chicken & Egg Pictures said:
“We are thrilled to welcome Nekisa Cooper as the new President of the Chicken & Egg Pictures’ Board of Directors. And we are immensely grateful to Julie Parker Benello–a force in the documentary field and a champion of women and non-binary filmmakers–for her exemplary leadership serving as Board President. Julie’s generosity and commitment to the organization is evidenced by her continuing role as Board Director.”
“Nekisa has a long relationship with the organization. First as a grantee, then, the first-ever recipient of the Chicken & Egg Pictures Creative Producing Award in 2012, and as a board member over the past two years. Her expertise in storytelling, producing, documentary film, management, and strategic thinking will be tremendously valuable to the organization. I am honored to be expanding our collaboration with Nekisa in this next chapter of the organization.”
Nekisa Cooper said:
“I’m honored to deepen my service to the Chicken & Egg Pictures mission, staff, board, and our filmmakers. Meeting Julie, Judith, and Wendy during my early career was critical because it was incredibly challenging for an outsider, particularly a lesbian woman of color, to create impactful work and build a sustainable career. Being a board member over the past two years has brought my journey full circle and given me the valuable opportunity to witness their transformational outcomes and radically thoughtful ways of working. I’m thrilled to build upon Julie’s leadership and to support Chicken & Egg in fostering a more gender-inclusive industry.”
Julie Parker Benello said:
“I’m delighted to pass the baton as Board President of Chicken & Egg Pictures to Nekisa, whom I have long admired as a creative producer with her business background and acumen, strategic mind, and depth of character. I am excited to see where the organization goes next under Nekisa’s board leadership, particularly as we broaden our work to serve greater numbers of filmmakers. Nekisa is the right person for the job at this juncture in Chicken & Egg’s history. I look forward to continuing to serve alongside her and my fellow board members of the organization I co-founded and love dearly.”