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The Whickers Announces 2018 Award Recipient

The Whickers recently announced the recipient of the 2018 The Whickers/Chicken & Egg Pictures Award: congratulations to Ilinca Calugareanu and the A Cops and Robbers Story team!

Ilinca Calugareanu A Cops and Robbers Story Accelerator Lab 2018
A Cops and Robbers Story, directed by Ilinca Calugareanu

Named for pioneering British broadcaster Alan Whicker, The Whickers is dedicated to supporting emerging voices in the field of documentary. The award, focused on Accelerator Lab participants, was conceived to ensure that more women enter the nonfiction filmmaking pipeline. Previous recipients include The Feeling of Being Watched by Assia Boundaoui and The Surrender of Waymond Hall by Jane Greenberg.

A Cops and Robbers Story follows Corey Pegues, one of the highest ranking black executives in the NYPD, who revealed a few months after retirement that before joining the NYPD he worked the streets dealing crack cocaine for one of the most notorious drug gangs in the US, the Supreme Team. The project was recently featured as a docustory in The Guardian. Said director Ilinca Calugareanu, “It is such an honour to be this year’s recipient of The Whickers/Chicken & Egg Pictures Award. Thank you for believing in us and in the importance of Corey Pegues’s story. Your support means so much!”

Ilinca’s debut documentary feature, Chuck Norris vs. Communism, is currently available for streaming on Netflix.

Fork Films Announces 2018 Grants

Fork Films announced yesterday $625,000 in grant funding to  sixteen documentaries “that align with the company’s dedication to promoting peacebuilding, human rights, and social justice.”

We are so proud to have supported seven films of the sixteen announced, as well as one filmmaker.

Born In China, directed by Nanfu Wang and Lynn Zhang (2017 Accelerator Lab)

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

How to Have an American Baby, directed by Leslie Tai (2017 Diversity Fellows Initiative)

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.

Lights Camera Uganda, directed by Cathryne Czubek and Hugo Perez (2017 Accelerator Lab)

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.

Rajada Dalka/Nation’s Hope, directed by Hana Mire ( 2016 Diversity Fellows Initiative and the 2017 Accelerator Lab)

If doing what you love put your life at risk, would you continue to do it? What if it would also endanger the life of your family and friends? Would you carry on? Or would you quit? These are the questions the women athletes of Rajada Dalka/Nation’s Hope face every single day as they are met with threats from members of the Al-Shabab militia in Mogadishu. Diving deep inside the Somali National Women’s basketball team’s first season since the civil war, the film follows veteran coach Suad Galow as she shepherds her team of fearless young women, and helps them to overcome the violent threats against them and reclaim their place on the international stage.

Reentry (working title), directed by Jennifer Redfearn (2018 Accelerator Lab)

Women are now the fastest growing population in the U.S. criminal justice system, increasing at nearly double the rate of men. The majority of women going into prison are serving time for drug-related charges. This immersive, character-driven film follows three women—who are part of a new reentry program in Cleveland, Ohio—as they prepare to leave prison, reunite with their children, and find jobs after serving time for drug-related charges.

Syrian Families Film (Untitled), directed by Megan Mylan

A look at war and displacement through the lens of parenthood from Megan Mylan, Academy-Award winning director of Lost Boys of Sudan and Smile Pinki. This feature documentary unfolds as a sequence of cinematic short stories revolving around Syrian families living in Turkey, Greece, the US, Germany, and Syria. Each chapter is an intimate portrait of parents—often mothers alone—as they work to rebuild their children’s lost sense of security and possibility. It is a story that is both urgent and timeless.

The Rashomon Effect, directed by Lyric R Cabral (2017 Accelerator Lab)

What happened when unarmed Black teen Michael Brown was fatally shot by White police officer Darren Wilson?

Going to Mars: The Nikki Giovanni Film, directed by Michèle Stephenson (Breakthrough Filmmaker Awards, 2016) and Joe Brewster*

Going to Mars: The Nikki Giovanni Project recounts the story of acclaimed poet, Nikki Giovanni and the revolutionary historical periods through which she lived—from the Civil Rights and Black Arts Movement, to present-day Black Lives Matter.

* Chicken & Egg Pictures did not directly support Going to Mars: The Nikki Giovanni Film but supports director Michèle through our 2016 Breakthrough Filmmaker Award program.

See the full slate of Fork Films’ newly supported projects here.

Nest-Supported Projects at IFP Week

2018 IFP Week FilmsThe Independent Filmmaker Project announced its 40th annual IFP Project Forum slate highlighting films, series, digital, and audio projects from around the world. We are honored to announce that four Chicken & Egg-supported projects from our 2018 programs year were included.

An Act of Worship, directed by Nausheen Dadabhoy (2018 Diversity Fellows Initiative)

An Act of Worship follows young Muslim women activists at a time when hate crimes against Muslims have reached their highest level since 9/11. The travel ban has sent the message that Muslims are not welcome in the US. Now, a new generation has been galvanized into action to reclaim their space in the American landscape.

The In Between, directed by Robie Flores (2018 Diversity Fellows Initiative)

At the intersection of the northern Mexico desert and the plains of southwest Texas exists a symbiotic community. Here, people’s lives are spread across two countries, connected by a bridge that everyone must travel. For some, crossing to the other side means getting to work or school. For others, life straddling the border is the only way to keep their family together. Through a collection of interweaving vignettes, The In Between is a poetic ode to a greater reality of the border than the one portrayed on the news, offering a nuanced and intimate portrait of a place and its people at the heart of Mexican-American identity.

Made in Boise, directed by Beth Aala (2018 Discretionary Grant)

A surprising—and booming—industry has emerged in Boise, Idaho. In this idyllic, all-American city, nurses, nail technicians, and stay-at-home mothers are having babies for strangers—in record numbers. Boise’s own St. Luke’s Medical Center founded and runs the first and best surrogacy program of its kind, in all the US. But everything is not as it appears, surrogacy is not without its health risks, and the practice is not without its emotional complications. Character-driven and stylized in its approach, Made In Boise introduces audiences to the unique world of surrogacy in the most unexpected of places.

People’s Hospital, directed by Siyi Chen (2018 Accelerator Lab)

As the Chinese society criticizes dysfunctional hospitals, a doctor’s daughter revisits the small-town hospital where she grew up — this time with a camera, in the middle of a chaotic ER.

And a special congratulations to filmmakers who were previously supported by Chicken & Egg Pictures.

Women in Blue, directed by Deirdre Fishel (Care, 2014) and executive produced by Gini Reticker (The Trials of Spring, 2014)

A female police chief and a determined band of women officers work to redefine “protect and serve,” when a tragic shooting upends their progress.*

Narrowsburg, directed by Martha Shane (After Tiller co-director)

Narrowsburg tells the story of a French producer and a mafioso-turned-actor who attempted to turn a small Catskills town into the “Sundance of the East.”*

*Synopses from the IFP website.

Filmmakers will attend the IFP Project Forum during the 40th anniversary of IFP Week happening September 15 – 20 in Brooklyn.

Post by Morgan Hulquist, 2018 Summer Communications Intern. 

Chicken & Egg Pictures at the News & Documentary Emmy Awards®

Nominees for the 39th Annual News & Documentary Emmy Awards® were announced today. Here are the Nest-supported films and filmmakers included. Congratulations to all and good luck!

Solitary Kristi Jacobson 2016 Breakthrough Filmmaker Award
Solitary, directed by Kristi Jacobson

Solitary, directed by Kristi Jacobson (2016 Breakthrough Filmmaker Award recipient) for Outstanding Investigative Documentary  and Outstanding Editing – Documentary

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.

Heroin(e), directed by Elaine McMillion Sheldon (2016 Breakthrough Filmmaker Award recipient)* for Outstanding Short Documentary

“Once a bustling industrial town, Huntington, West Virginia has become the epicenter of America’s modern opioid epidemic, with an overdose rate 10 times the national average. This flood of heroin now threatens this Appalachian city with a cycle of generational addiction, lawlessness, and poverty. But within this distressed landscape, Peabody Award-winning filmmaker Elaine McMillion Sheldon (Hollow) shows a different side of the fight against drugsone of hope.”**

National Bird, directed by Sonia Kennebeck for Outstanding Current Affairs Documentary

“National Bird follows the dramatic journey of three whistleblowers who are determined to break the silence around one of the most controversial current affairs issues of our time: the secret US drone war. At the center of the film are three US military veterans. Plagued by guilt over participating in the killing of faceless people in foreign countries, they decide to speak out publicly, despite the possible consequences.”*

Sonia’s second film Enemies of the State is a participant of the 2018 Accelerator Lab.

See the rest of the nominees here. The 39th Annual News & Documentary Emmy Awards® will be presented Monday, October 1.

*Chicken & Egg Pictures did not directly support Heroin(e), but supported Elaine during her Breakthrough year. Check out Elaine’s newest film on the subject, Recovery Boys (on Netflix streaming).

**Synopsis from the Heroin(e) webpage.

***Synopsis from the National Bird webpage.

Announcing our Newest Eggsperts

We’re thrilled to announce the two newest additions to our team of Eggsperts! Eggsperts participate informally as friends and allies, helping to conceptualize our future course and promoting our growth, visibility, and impact for the long-term.

Sharmeen Obaid-Chinoy joins Chicken & Egg Pictures team of EggspertsSharmeen Obaid-Chinoy is the only female director to have been awarded two Academy Awards by the age of 37. Since 2001, she has made over two dozen multi-award winning films in over sixteen countries around the world. Her films include Student Athlete, A Girl in the River: The Price of Forgiveness, Song of Lahore, Saving Face, A Journey of a Thousand Miles: Peacekeepers and Transgenders: Pakistan’s Open Secret.

Zainab Salbi joins Chicken & Egg Pictures team of EggspertsZainab Salbi has frequently been named as one of the women changing the world by leading publications, from People  Magazine to Newsweek. At the age of twenty-three, Zainab founded Women for Women International, a humanitarian organization dedicated to women survivors of wars. Under her leadership (1993–2011), Women for Women International grew from helping 30 women upon its inception to helping more than 420,000 women and distributing more than $100 million in aid.

To find out more about our new Eggsperts, read Sharmeen Obaid-Chinoy’s profile in The New Yorker, “An Activist Filmmaker Tackles Patriarchy in Pakistan”, or watch Zainab Salbi’s TED Talk about the women who keep everyday life going during conflicts.

Post by Morgan Hulquist, 2018 Communications Intern. 

 

Our Newest 2018 Diversity Fellows Initiative Grantee

We are very excited to welcome director Nausheen Dadabhoy and her second feature-length documentary An Act of Worship to the 2018 Diversity Fellows Initiative.

An Act of Worship follows young Muslim women beginning their career in activism at a time when hate crimes against Muslims have reached their highest level since 9/11. The travel ban has sent the message that Muslims are not welcome in the US. Now, a new generation has been galvanized into action to reclaim their space in the American landscape.

An Act of Worship Nausheen Dadabhoy Chicken & Egg Pictures
An Act of Worship, by Nausheen Dadabhoy

Nausheen Dadabhoy is a Muslim American director and DP who has always moved seamlessly between the narrative and documentary world. Her latest documentary J’adore Nawal premiered at Sundance, while her last narrative film La Femme et le TGV (The Railroad Lady) was a live action short Oscar nominee. Her directorial debut, The Ground Beneath Their Feet premiered at IDFA. Nausheen has been a Film Independent Project:Involve Fellow, a Berlin Talents participant, and is a current Firelight Fellow. 

The 2018 Diversity Fellows Initiative cohort is soon to embark on a week-long storytelling retreat in upstate New York aimed to help develop and strengthen their film’s narratives. As part of the retreat, the grantees will be participating in skill-sharing workshops where they will learn from one another’s unique perspectives and artistic practices.

Other participants of the 2018 Diversity Fellows Initiative include:

The In Between, directed by Robie Flores; Commuted, directed by Nailah Jefferson; A Prince From Outer Space: Zeki Müren, directed by Beyza Boyacioglu; and The Letter, directed by Maia von Lekow & Chris King.

The Diversity Fellows Initiative is made possible with the generous support of The Harnisch Foundation, the MacArthur Foundation, and the Time Warner Foundation.

Post by Morgan Hulquist, 2018 Communications Intern. 

Nest Co-Founders, Filmmakers, and Friends Join the Academy

We’re proud to announce that Chicken & Egg Pictures Co-Founders and Board members Julie Parker Benello and Wendy Ettinger are now members of the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences!

The Academy  announced a record-setting 928 invited members, 49 percent of whom are women and 38 percent people of color.  Nine branches, including the Producers, Film Editors, and Documentary branches invited more women than men.  At Chicken & Egg Pictures, we applaud the Academy’s efforts to double the number of women and diverse members, a goal announced in 2016 and hoped to be completed by 2020.

This announcement marked a huge step in diversifying one of the most prestigious institutions in the field, bringing the overall Academy membership to 31% women. We couldn’t be more thrilled. You might have even caught  Wendy talk about it on live TV, on BBC News when the announcement was made public.  Julie and Wendy will join fellow Co-Founder (and Senior Creative Consultant) Judith Helfand, with all three Chicken & Egg Pictures Co-Founders now members of the Academy!

This year, Chicken & Egg-supported filmmakers invited to the Academy include Yance Ford (Oscar®-nominee Strong Island), Catherine Gund (Born to Fly), Sari Gilman (Kings Point, editor on Trapped), Lana Wilson (The Departure and After Tiller), Laura Nix (2018 Breakthrough Award Recipient), and Nanfu Wang (2018 Breakthrough Award Recipient, 2017 Accelerator Lab Grantee for Born In China).

New members also include Paco de Onís, editor of Nest-supported Granito: How to Nail a Dictator, as well as Toby Shimin, editor of Nest-supported 32 Pills: My Sister’s Suicide. Congratulations to all!

Post by Morgan Hulquist, 2018 Communications Intern. 

Honoring World Refugee Day at Chicken & Egg Pictures

Today is World Refugee Day, a day which calls for the global public to stand with refugees and stand for their safety. In 2017, the number of displaced people worldwide reached a record high of 68.5 million, as reported by The UN Refugee Agency’s annual Global Trends study. At Chicken & Egg Pictures, we are proud to support a number of filmmakers that use intimate storytelling to portray the individuals behind those numbers. Their stories have been and will continue to be an important part of Chicken & Egg Pictures.

Nest-supported film It Will Be Chaos, will be broadcast tonight on HBO in conjunction with World Refugee Day. Directed by Lorena Luciano and Filippo Piscopo, the film is an epic, yet intimate portrait of lives in transit and the human consequences of the refugee crisis spanning the Mediterranean. The story unfolds between Italy and the Balkan corridor, focusing on two unforgettable refugee stories of human strength and resilience in search of a better and safer future. It Will Be Chaos premiered on HBO on June 18, will have an encore presentation tonight at 5:55 pm ET, and is now available for streaming on HBO.

More powerful films to watch in honor of World Refugee Day include:

Dalya’s Other Country, directed by Julia Metzger, a story about Dalya and her mother Rudanya who arrived in Los Angeles from Aleppo as war took over (available on DVD);

Eventual Salvation, directed by Dee Rees about her 80-year-old American-born grandmother who barely escaped Liberia with her life as she returns to rebuild her community after their devastating civil war (on Netflix);

Children in No Man’s Land, directed by Anayansi Prado, which chronicles the journey of Maria de Jesus and her cousin Rene (ages 13 and 12) as they attempt to cross the US/Mexico border alone to reunite with their mothers in the Midwest (on Kanopy);

And This is Home: A Refugee Story*, directed by Chicken & Egg Board of Directors member Alexandra Shiva, an intimate portrait of four Syrian families arriving in Baltimore (premieres Friday, June 22 on Epix).

And other Nest-supported projects to watch out for in the near future are:

MUHI – Generally Temporary (2015 Accelerator Lab grantee), directed by Rina Castelnuovo and Tamir Elterman—on the festival circuit and just finished a theatrical tour in Germany; Unaccompanied Children (2017 Accelerator Lab grantee), directed by Alexandra Codina—currently in production; The Guardian of Memory (2017 Accelerator Lab Grantee), directed by Marcela Arteaga—currently in production; Number 387 (2018 Accelerator Lab Grantee), directed by Madeleine Leroyer—currently in production; Breathe (2018 Impact & Innovation Initiative Grantee), directed by Milica Zec and Winslow Porter—currently in development.

*Chicken & Egg Pictures did not support This is Home but director Alexandra Shiva is a member of the Chicken & Egg Pictures Board of Directors.

Post by Morgan Hulquist, Summer 2018 Chicken & Egg Pictures Communications Intern.

 

 

Announcing the Newest Members of Our Board of Directors

Chicken & Egg Pictures Board members (left to right): Brenda Robinson and Patty Quillin

Our Nest is growing. Chicken & Egg Pictures is proud to announce two new additions to our Board of Directors: Brenda Robinson and Patty Quillin. Members of our Board of Directors serve an official role for Chicken & Egg Pictures, offering constructive feedback, guidance, and independent oversight of our work.

Chicken & Egg Pictures Board member Brenda Robinson.Brenda Robinson is an entertainment attorney and Chicago native who currently serves as Director of Business Development for the Los Angeles law firm Greenberg Glusker LLP. Brenda’s prior law practice focused on intellectual property and entertainment matters on behalf of clients in the music, film, and television industries. Throughout her career, Brenda has provided counsel to numerous recording artists, musicians and composers, actors and actresses, production companies, authors, arts organizations, athletes, entertainers, and social media influencers.

Chicken & Egg Pictures Board member Patty Quillin.

Patty Quillin is the Director of Meadow Fund, a donor-advised fund of the Silicon Valley Community Foundation. Patty strongly believes that everyone deserves the opportunity to thrive in healthy, just, and sustainable communities. This vision has guided her philanthropic work for the past 25 years in a broad range of fields, from the environment and sustainable food systems to criminal justice reform and empowering women and girls. Patty is inspired by the passion of filmmakers in their mission to educate audiences and galvanize change. She is a patron of Sundance Institute and Chicken & Egg Pictures, and is a member of Impact Partners.  

Welcome Brenda and Patty! To find out more about them and the rest of our Board, see here.

Post by Morgan Hulquist, 2018 Communications Intern. 

 

Breakthrough Award Recipient Laura Nix wins at SIFF

Laura Nix
2018 Breakthrough FIlmmaker Award recipient Laura Nix

Congratulations to Laura Nix (2018 Breakthrough Film Awards recipient) for her big win at the Seattle International Film Festival. Laura’s film Inventing Tomorrow received the 2018 SIFF Grand Jury Prize in the Documentary Competition.

SIFF 2018 Jury Statement: “For it’s compelling cast of young visionaries from around the globe who are engaged and looking for solutions to the world’s environmental problems, Inventing Tomorrow offers us a sense of optimism and the certainty that science matters.”

Laura Nix Inventing Tomorrow
Inventing Tomorrow by Laura Nix (2018 Breakthrough Film Awards Recipient).

If you missed it the first time around, a  fourth additional screening of Inventing Tomorrow will be held at the Best of SIFF showcase on Saturday, June 16 at 1:30 PM.

* Chicken & Egg Pictures did not directly support Inventing Tomorrow but supports director Laura through our 2018 Breakthrough Filmmaker Award program.

Post by Morgan Hulquist, Summer 2018 Chicken & Egg Pictures Communications Intern.