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Announcing our 2018 Accelerator Lab grantees!

Chicken & Egg Pictures is proud to announce the third cohort of our Accelerator Lab for first- and second-time filmmakers!

The Accelerator Lab is focused on identifying and supporting women nonfiction directors working on their first or second feature-length documentary. This program brings together ten projects helmed by first- or second-time directors, with a special focus on underrepresented voices.

“Community-building is key to this program,” says Chicken & Egg Pictures Program Director Lucila Moctezuma. “While the Accelerator Lab for first- and second-time filmmakers certainly helps women filmmakers to enter the industry pipeline, it also provides them with a community of support that helps them to stay in the pipeline. The reality of being a film director is that it can often feel daunting and isolating. By explicitly encouraging peer-to-peer mentorship among our cohort, we provide emerging filmmakers with a chance to bond with and learn from one another, to help one another carve a space for themselves in the industry, and to equip them with the strength of a community they can rely on throughout their careers.”

Synopses of the 2018 Accelerator Lab grantees’ compelling projects are below, and you can get to know the directors by viewing the linked project pages. Grantees will work on these films during their program year.

Our next open call for the Accelerator Lab will take place in the spring of 2018. For additional information on the program, including application criteria, please visit our Programs page.

Congratulations to our newest grantees, and wishing you a fantastic year!

 

Ilinca Calugareanu

A Cops and Robbers Story, directed by Ilinca Calugareanu (ROMANIA / UK)

Corey Pegues, one of the highest ranking black executives in the NYPD, reveals 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. To many he is either a perp in cop costume or a criminal turned hero. But who is the real Corey Pegues?

 

Siyi Chen

People’s Hospital, directed by Siyi Chen (CHINA / US)

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.

 

Sonia Kennebeck

Enemies of the State, directed by Sonia Kennebeck (MALAYSIA / GERMANY / US)

An average American family becomes entangled in a bizarre web of espionage and corporate secrets when their hacker son is targeted by the U.S. government.

 

 

The Youth, directed by Eunice Lau (SINGAPORE / US) and Arthur Nazaryan (US)

The Youth is an unflinching look at the forces that drive one to adopt an extreme ideology. Through the eyes of a father who seeks to understand how his son is radicalized by the propaganda of the Islamic State Army, The Youth reveals how a Muslim American family is affected by the geopolitics and polemics that fuel the resurgence of reactionary and right-wing political movements. Through this intimate lens on the Somali community in Minnesota, The Youth explores the racism and prejudices against immigrants, the rise of radical Islam, and what it means to be Muslim in contemporary America.

 

Madeleine Leroyer

Number 387, directed by Madeleine Leroyer (FRANCE)

This is the story of a Greek physician who collects pendants and bracelets.
This is the story of an Italian woman who has been fighting for 15 years to “make bodies talk.”
This is the story of those who watch over the forgotten migrants.
Since the beginning of 2016, 3,649 migrants have died while attempting to reach Europe by sea. 3,649 names, the vast majority of which have been diluted in the deep blue waters of the Mediterranean.
What happens to the dead? Who identifies them?
What do the mothers, the brothers do to try to find their missing loved ones?
For years, medical examiners have been trying to give back a name, dignity, a memory to these forgotten souls.
This film tells their story.

 

Marie Lidén

Electric Malady, directed by Marie Lidén (SWEDEN / UK)

Director Marie Lidén grew up with a mother who suffered from an illness that the world did not recognize—Electrosensitivity. Years later, in a technologically advanced world, Marie gives a poignant account of the lives of two electrosensitives: William, a 41-year-old Swedish man, and Tyler, a 13-year-old Canadian boy. Using Marie’s own family story as a thread, the film explores William and Tyler’s isolated worlds and their families’ unrelenting commitment to help their children.

 

Loira Limbal

Through The Night, directed by Loira Limbal (US)

To make ends meet, Americans are working longer hours across multiple jobs. This modern reality of non-stop work has resulted in an unexpected phenomenon: the flourishing of 24-hour daycare centers. Through the Night is a verité documentary that explores the personal cost of our modern economy through the stories of two working mothers and a child care provider, whose lives intersect at a 24-hour daycare center in New Rochelle, NY.

 

Jacqueline Olive

 Always in Season, directed by Jacqueline Olive (US)

As the trauma of a century of lynching African Americans bleeds into the present, Always in Season follows relatives of the perpetrators and victims in communities across the country who’re seeking justice and reconciliation in the midst of racial profiling and police shootings. In Bladenboro, NC, the film connects historic racial terrorism to racial violence today with the story of Claudia Lacy who grieves as she fights to get an FBI investigation opened into the death of her seventeen-year-old son, Lennon Lacy, found hanging from a swing set on August 29, 2014. Claudia, like many others, believes Lennon was lynched.

 

Jennifer Redfearn

Reentry (working title), directed by Jennifer Redfearn (US)

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.

 

Writing With Fire, directed by Rintu Thomas and Sushmit Ghosh (INDIA)

In one of the most socially oppressive and patriarchal states of India emerges a newspaper run entirely by rural women. Meera, its popular reporter, decides to magnify the paper’s impact with an audacious move—to transform from print to a digital news agency. Working in media dark villages, mocked and discouraged, this is the story of a visionary woman’s feisty spirit in building what will probably be the world’s first digital news agency run entirely by rural women.

 

Chicken & Egg Pictures nominees for the Spirit Awards!

 

 

Two Nest-supported films, Motherland (directed by Ramona Diaz) and The Departure (directed by Lana Wilson), have been nominated for Best Documentary at the 2018 Film Independent Spirit Awards! Congratulations and best of luck, Lana and Ramona!

 

Motherland, directed by Ramona Diaz

A still from Motherland.

One of the world’s poorest and most populous countries, the Philippines, struggles with reproductive health policy—both in the legislature where laws are in debate, and in a hospital with the busiest maternity ward on the planet.

 

The Departure, directed by Lana Wilson

A still from The Departure.

Ittetsu Nemoto, a former punk-turned-Buddhist-priest in Japan, has made a career out of helping suicidal people find reasons to live. But this work has come increasingly at the cost of his own family and health, as he refuses to draw lines between those he counsels and himself. The Departure captures Nemoto at a crossroads, when his growing self-destructive tendencies lead him to confront the same question his patients ask him: what makes life worth living?

 

If you are registered to vote in the Film Independent Spirit Awards, remember to cast your vote by Friday, February 16.

 

 

 

 

Chicken & Egg Pictures Oscar Nominees!

Two Nest-supported filmmakers’ films have been nominated for the 90th Academy Awards®, and we could not be more excited!

First-time filmmaker Yance Ford’s Nest-supported film Strong Island is nominated for Best Documentary (Feature).

Set in the suburbs of the black middle class, Strong Island seeks to uncover how—in the year of the Rodney King trial and the Los Angeles riots—the murder of the filmmaker’s older brother went unpunished. The film is an unflinching look at homicide, racial injustice, and the corrosive impact of grief over time.

2016 Breakthrough Award Recipient Elaine McMillion Sheldon‘s film Heroin(e) is nominated for Documentary (Short Subject).

“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.”*

Many joyful congratulations, and best of luck, to Yance and Elaine!

Check out a full list of all Oscar nominees here. We will be watching the 90th Academy Awards® on Sunday, March 4, 2018, at 8pm EST. Join us as we tune in!

*Synopsis from the Heroin(e) webpage.

 

Chicken & Egg Pictures to provide discretionary grants to two films

Chicken & Egg Pictures will provide discretionary grants to two films. Congratulations to Dark Money and The Devil We Know!

Still from Dark Money, directed by Kimberly Reed.

Dark Money, directed by Kimberly Reed

A century ago, corrupt money swamped Montana’s legislature, but Montanans rose up to prohibit corporate campaign contributions. Today, in the wake of the Supreme Court’s Citizens United decision —which allows unlimited, anonymous money to pour into elections nationwide—Montana is once again fighting to preserve open and honest elections. Following an investigative reporter through a political thriller, Dark Money exposes one of the greatest threats to American democracy.

Still from The Devil We Know, directed by Stephanie Soechtig.

The Devil We Know, directed by Stephanie Soechtig

Unraveling one of the biggest environmental scandals of our time, a group of citizens in West Virginia take on a powerful corporation after they discover it has knowingly been dumping a toxic chemical—now found in the blood of 99.7% of Americans—into the drinking water supply.

We are excited to catch both films at Sundance 2018!

 

Impact & Innovation Initiative grantees announced!

Chicken & Egg Pictures is thrilled to provide support this year to three groundbreaking projects through our Impact & Innovation Initiative.

Image from The F Word: A Foster to Adopt Story, directed by Nicole Opper

The F Word: A Foster to Adopt Story, directed by Nicole Opper

Season 1 of The F Word revealed the story of one queer couple adopting from foster care in Oakland, CA. Season 2 continues their story while amplifying other voices in the foster care world: birth families, foster youth, adoptees, adoptive parents of color, and social entrepreneurs working to repair a broken system.

Breathe, directed by Winslow Porter and Milica Zec*

A communal experience connecting us through the simple power of existence, Breathe transforms users into Rose, a young girl orphaned after a devastating war. Rose’s life changes drastically after the trauma of living out formative years inside a conflict zone. Through her eyes, viewers live out the greatest joys and most profound struggles from her adolescence to adulthood. Each moment is inextricably shaped by her upbringing—yet she is able to find strength in small interconnected moments with those she loves.
Even as humanity continues to fail and harm each other, Breathe seeks to remind us of the solace we can find in our similarities; we are all human, and we are all connected.

The Racial Terror Project, by Michèle Stephenson and Joe Brewster

The Racial Terror Project is a groundbreaking immersive virtual reality, room-scale installation in which users time travel along the last route of Claude Neal, who was brutally hunted down and lynched by a mob of white men in Florida in 1934, and meet his descendant community today and his ancestors in the era of slavery. The Racial Terror Project tells the story of how our present-day lived experiences of racial violence and discrimination reflect a long, insufficiently-acknowledged history of white racial oppression that dates back to slavery and continues today.

We can’t wait to go along for the journey as these exciting projects push the boundaries of storytelling!

*Chicken & Egg Pictures also supported Tree, the first virtual reality experience in the trilogy that Breathe belongs to.

Announcing the five recipients of the third annual Breakthrough Filmmaker Award

Chicken & Egg Pictures is proud to announce the third cohort of our Breakthrough Filmmaker Award!

The five selected filmmakers are Natalia Almada (Todo lo demás, 2016), Ramona Diaz (Motherland, 2017), Laura Nix (Inventing Tomorrow, 2018), Kimi Takesue (95 and 6 to Go, 2016), and Nanfu Wang (I Am Another You, 2017).

Still from 95 and 6 To Go, by Kimi Takesue.

“Chicken & Egg Pictures’ Breakthrough Filmmaker Award recipients have often described their Breakthrough year as life altering,” said Lucila Moctezuma, Program Director of Chicken & Egg Pictures. “Unlike any other award, it’s not just a recognition of past accomplishments, but an investment in the future, both for the filmmakers’ careers and for the film industry at large, which must do more to honor women’s leadership and voices.”

Still from Inventing Tomorrow, by Laura Nix.

For additional information on Chicken & Egg Pictures and the Breakthrough Filmmaker Award, please visit our Programs page.

 

Chicken & Egg Pictures on the 90th Academy Awards® shortlist!

The Oscars® shortlist is here, and we are ecstatic to announce that two Chicken & Egg Pictures-supported films have advanced to the next stage of the voting process for the 90th Academy Awards® in the Documentary Features category!

Congratulations to first-time filmmakers Jennifer Brea (Unrest) and Yance Ford (Strong Island), whose films have made it to the top 15 out of 170 submitted documentaries!

Unrest, directed by Jennifer Brea

Unrest, directed by Jennifer Brea

Jennifer, a Harvard PhD student, was signing a check at a restaurant when she found she could not write her own name. Months before her wedding, she became progressively more ill, losing the ability even to sit in a wheelchair. When doctors insisted that her condition was psychosomatic, she picked up her camera to document her own story and the stories of four other patients struggling with the world’s most prevalent orphaned disease.

Strong Island, directed by Yance Ford

Strong Island, directed by Yance Ford

Set in the suburbs of the black middle class, Strong Island seeks to uncover how—in the year of the Rodney King trial and the Los Angeles riots—the murder of the filmmaker’s older brother went unpunished. The film is an unflinching look at homicide, racial injustice, and the corrosive impact of grief over time.

Check out the rest of the documentary features that have advanced in the voting process here.

Nominations for the 90th Academy Awards® will be announced on Tuesday, January 23, 2018. Best of luck to Jen and Yance!

Catapult Film Fund announces its latest grantees!

We are thrilled to learn that Catapult Film Fund has recognized several of our supported filmmakers with grants this year. Catapult focuses on supporting “powerful and moving storytelling, by filmmakers with a strong voice across a broad spectrum of subject matter,” and providing funding that will enable filmmakers to move forward to the next stage of production.*  Congratulations to Jessica, Kelly, Lyric, Michèle, and Penny!

Check out more information about these films, and others, here.

The Rashomon Effect
Directed by Lyric R. Cabral (Accelerator Lab 2017) and produced by Jessica Devaney (Impact & Innovation Initiative, 2016)
What happened when unarmed Black teen Michael Brown was fatally shot by White police officer Darren Wilson?**

Mississippi Red
Directed by Kelly Duane de la Vega (Application Cycle 2013)
Mississippi Red looks at American feminism through the lens of race, religion and the political establishment as a pair of bipartisan allies fight to pass an equal pay bill in one of the most conservative states in the union.**

Going to Mars: The Nikki Giovanni film
Directed by Michèle Stephenson (Breakthrough Filmmaker Awards, 2016) and Joe Brewster
Through intimate vérité, archival footage, and visually innovative treatments of her poetry, Going to Mars: The Nikki Giovanni film pushes the boundaries of biographical documentary film to reveal the enduring influence of one of America’s greatest living artists and social commentators.**

Untitled Satanic Temple Documentary
Directed by Penny Lane (Breakthrough Filmmaker Awards, 2017)
A wildly entertaining, surprising and highly controversial look at the state of religious freedom in America today.**

 

*  = From Catapult Film Fund About Us page.

** = From Catapult Film Fund Films page.

Our inaugural NEXT GEN EGG event

On October 16, 2017, Chicken & Egg Pictures hosted a groundbreaking new event at Neuehouse in New York City. Supported by the Perspective Fund, this event invited a dozen first- and second-time filmmakers from around the world who participated in our Accelerator Lab and Diversity Fellows programs to share their film projects with film funders and industry professionals.

The goal of the event was to provide opportunities for attendees to meet in an intimate setting, learn about one another’s passions and projects, and explore avenues for support. Filmmakers presented their in-progress films to small groups, shared their filmmaking journeys and unique challenges, and received critical feedback from a diverse group of stakeholders.

The event was a huge success and additional support is already coming to our filmmakers as a result!

Stay tuned for another similar event, coming to San Francisco in 2018.

Chicken & Egg Pictures at DOC NYC 2017!

The 2017 DOC NYC Film Festival features three films that Chicken & Egg Pictures has supported directly. Running November 9-16, 2017 in Manhattan, the DOC NYC Film Festival is America’s largest documentary film festival.

Check out the full lineup of films, shorts, panels, and showcases here!

Lovesick (World Premiere)
Directed by Priya Desai and Ann Kim

In India, a culture obsessed with marriage but where AIDS is an unspeakable disease, can you find love and companionship if you’re HIV+? Ancient tradition and the new reality of HIV collide. Lovesick is the modern love story that results. Tickets and showtimes available here.

From Lovesick by Priya Desai and Ann Kim.

32 Pills: My Sister’s Suicide (NYC Premiere)
Directed by Hope Litoff

A reflection on the life and suicide of Ruth Litoff, a successful artist, a pathological liar, and the filmmaker’s sister. By looking back on Ruth’s incredible highs and lows, bursts of creative genius, depression, secrets, and lies, a vivid portrait will emerge of the brilliant woman the filmmaker is not sure she ever really knew. This is her attempt to understand what happened. Tickets and showtimes available here.

From 32 PIlls: My Sister’s Suicide by Hope Litoff.

Strong Island
Directed by Yance Ford

Set in the suburbs of the black middle class, Strong Island seeks to uncover how—in the year of the Rodney King trial and the Los Angeles riots—the murder of the filmmaker’s older brother went unpunished. The film is an unflinching look at homicide, racial injustice, and the corrosive impact of grief over time. Tickets and showtimes available here.

From Strong Island by Yance Ford.

A big congratulations, also, to these Nest-supported filmmakers whose films are also screening at DOC NYC:

Katherine Fairfax Wright, Behind the Curtain: Todrick Hall
Mohammed Naqvi, Insha’allah Democracy 
Geeta Gandbhir, Armed With Faith
Julia Bacha, Naila and the Uprising
Jeff Reichert and Farihah Zaman, Nobody Loves Me
Lucy Walker, Oh, What a Beautiful City (A City Symphony)
Laura Poitras, Risk