The American Museum of Natural History’s Margaret Mead Film Festival will run from Wednesday, October 17 to Saturday, October 20 in New York City. The festival, which is inspired by anthropologist Margaret Mead, celebrates documentary media that increases our understanding of the complexity and diversity of peoples’ cultures around the world, and you can catch three Nest-supported films there:
Encouraged by the utopian hopes of the Arab Spring, the members of a women’s soccer club in Libya heroically fight for their right to play. Their community refuses to support the team, forcing them to disband. Some women move on, becoming mothers and professionals, while others hold on to their soccer dreams.
We’d like to thank The (Television) Academy! These Nest-supported films and filmmakers have received nominations for the 40th Annual News & Documentary Emmy® Awards:
Directed by Arthur Pratt, Barmmy Boy, Anna Fitch, Banker White
Outstanding Social Issue Documentary
I Am Evidence
Directed by Geeta Gandbhir
Armed With Faith
Co-directed by Asad Faruqi, Geeta Gandbhir
Outstanding Politics and Government Documentary
Directed by Jennifer Brea and edited by Emiliano Battista, Kim Roberts
Outstanding Editing: Documentary
Trans in America: Texas Strong
Directed by Daresha Kyi (Mama Bears)
Outstanding Short Documentary
It Will Be Chaos
Directed by Lorena Luciano and Filippo Piscopo
Outstanding Current Affairs Documentary
*Chicken & Egg Pictures did not directly support I Am Evidence or Armed with Faith, but supports director Geeta Gandbhir as a 2017 Chicken & Egg Award recipient; and did not support the short documentary Trans in America: Texas Strong, but is a supporter of the feature-length documentary Mama Bears, directed by Daresha Kyi, which is a participant of the 2019 (Egg)celerator Lab.
Egg-cellent news from Sundance Institute today, as they announced the Fellows and Advisors for the five-day 2019 Creative Producing Labs, as well as the three-day Creative Producing Summit which immediately follows.
We are proud to announce that three out of the five projects participating in the 2019 Sundance Documentary Film Program of the Labs and Summit are also participants of the Chicken & Egg Pictures (Egg)celerator Lab. Thank you, Sundance Institute, for your unwavering recognition of women nonfiction filmmakers.
“We recognize the importance of a space for meaningful dialogue and discovery between producers and forward-thinking industry. Creating a sustainable future where independent producers can continue to develop bold storytelling and take risks is a key priority for the Lab and Summit.” — Anne Lai, Director, Creative Producing and Artist Support and Kristin Feeley, Director, Labs & Artist Support, Creative Producing at Sundance Institute
Find the rest of the Fellows on the Sundance Institute blog, and read about the Nest-supported projects participating below.
An Act of Worship, directed by Nausheen Dhadabhoy (2019 (Egg)celerator Lab grantee, 2018 Diversity Fellows Iniative grantee [past program])
Produced by 2019 Creative Producing Summit Fellow Sofian Khan
An Act of Worship follows a new generation of young Muslim-American female activists at a time when anti-Muslim sentiments in the United States are sharply on the rise.
Pray Away tells the story of the history and continuation of the “pray the gay away” or ex-gay movement.
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 Marisol Valencia, Shanona Tate and Delores “Nunu” Hogan – two working mothers and a childcare provider – whose lives intersect at a 24-hour daycare center in New Rochelle, NY.
Project: Hatched is Chicken & Egg Pictures’ brand-new completion fund, designed to support nonfiction directors as they prepare for the world premiere of a feature-length documentary film and develop a strategic impact and audience engagement campaign. In its inaugural year, Project: Hatched is open to AlumNest filmmakers (Chicken & Egg Pictures grantees), as well as filmmakers who receive an invitation to apply from Chicken & Egg Pictures team members at film forums and markets.
This ten-month program will provide four to five filmmakers with a $20,000 grant ($15,000 earmarked for finishing funds and $5,000 for impact strategy development), as well as mentorship from members of the Chicken & Egg Pictures team, focused on rough-cut feedback, festival premiere support, impact or distribution campaign strategy, and career sustainability.
Project: Hatched is one of three new programs from Chicken & Egg Pictures. AlumNest, our alumni program which had its inagural year in 2018, brings together a community of Nest-supported filmmakers in a meaningful way, both in-person and online; Docs by the Dozen, our shorts and series program (coming soon), will provide talented filmmakers with the opportunity to expand their portfolios and respond to critical social issues in a timely way; and Project: Hatched continues to engage with and grow alongside the Chicken & Egg Pictures community, increasing our support of women filmmakers at strategic points of their documentary career.
The Whickers recently announced the recipient of the 2019 The Whickers/Chicken & Egg Pictures Award—congratulations to Milisuthando Bongela and the Milisuthando (working title) team!
Named for pioneering British broadcaster Alan Whicker, The Whickers is dedicated to supporting emerging voices in the field of documentary. The award, focused on supporting one (Egg)celerator participant per program year, was conceived to ensure that more women enter the nonfiction filmmaking pipeline. Previous recipients of this award include The Surrender of Waymond Hall, directed by Jane Greenberg ; The Feeling of Being Watched, directed by Assia Boundaoui; and A Cops and Robbers Story, directed by Ilinca Calugareanu.
It’s 1992 and Milisuthando is enjoying her sheltered childhood in “The Republic of the Transkei”, a dodgy ethnic homeland where, even though apartheid is raging 100 km away, she has no idea of the impending racial calamity beyond her hometown. When Transkei is suddenly dissolved at the end of apartheid, 8-year-old Milisuthando becomes a member of the first generation of black kids to attend “Whites Only” schools in South Africa. Through her probing, often naive journey with a cast of contrary characters, we revisit the old interiors of the “New South Africa”, exploring how racial prejudice and interracial bonding played out in the everyday. And why today, South Africa seems to be making a U-turn towards its ugly racial past.
Milisuthando Bongela is an award-winning writer, editor, and cultural worker with experience in the media, publishing, fashion, art, and film industries in South Africa. Over the last 12 years, her written and cultural work has explored the post-apartheid condition, concerned with the intimate manifestations of race and racism in the everyday and shared intimate spaces. She is currently directing her first feature length documentary on race, love and growing up in the new South Africa.
“When I first read about The Whickers in 2015, I remember wishing my film was good enough to qualify for what looked like amazing grant and opportunity. It was vindicating four years later, to have an opportunity to send some material through to The Whickers through Chicken & Egg. But nobody could have prepared me for the moment when Valerie (Kleeman, founder and chair), Jane (Ray, Artistic Director) and Jane (Mote, Editorial Consultant) came to meet my producer and I to tell us we had been awarded a Whickers grant. On one hand, it’s great that our film is receiving this grant so that we can continue working, but in the greater scheme, this is facilitating the urgent and important process of liberating other perspectives on the human condition, in this case, an African perspective.” — Milusthando Bongela
June marks the 50th anniversary of the Stonewall Uprising, the beginning of the modern LGBTQ liberation movement and Pride month in the US and other participating countries. At Chicken & Egg Pictures, we are proud to support filmmakers who use intimate storytelling to showcase diverse queer stories and characters and support filmmakers who identify as members of the lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, and queer community.
Their films are powerful tools for catalyzing social change and helping to end discrimination; their stories have been and will continue to be an important part of Chicken & Egg Pictures. And this June, we encourage you to revisit these Nest-supported films that have premiered over the past fourteen years—films that increased visibility for queer issues (The F Word: A Foster-to-Adoption Story, From This Day Forward), changed hearts and minds about important human rights topics (Southwest of Salem, Love the Sinner), and helped to build momentum in LGBTQ movements around the world (Freeheld, Call Me Kuchu).
Season two of The F Word: A Foster-to-Adopt Story, directed by Nicole Opper is supported by the Chicken & Egg Pictures Impact & Innovation Initiative. 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. Stream both seasons for free here.
From This Day Forward, directed by Sharon Shattuck, is a moving portrayal of an American family coping with one of the most intimate of transformations. When the director’s father came out as transgender and changed her name to Trisha, Sharon was in the awkward throes of middle school. Her father’s transition to female was difficult for her straight-identified mother, Marcia, to accept, but her parents stayed together. As the Shattucks reunite to plan Sharon’s wedding, she seeks a deeper understanding of how her parents’ marriage survived the radical changes that threatened to tear them apart.
Southwest of Salem: The Story of the San Antonio Four, directed by Deborah S. Esquenazi excavates the nightmarish persecution of Elizabeth Ramirez, Cassandra Rivera, Kristie Mayhugh, and Anna Vasquez — four Latina lesbians wrongfully convicted of allegedly gang raping two little girls. This bizarre case is the first to be adjudicated under momentous new legislation: for the first time in US history, wrongfully convicted innocents can challenge convictions based on debunked scientific evidence. The film also unravels the sinister interplay of mythology, homophobia, and prosecutorial fervor which led to this modern day witch hunt. In October 2016, Southwest of Salem had its US television premiere on Investigation Discovery to an audience of one million people, breaking viewership records. In November 2016, the San Antonio Four were exonerated by the Court of Criminal Appeals, and Southwest of Salem was cited in their report. Listen to a podcast about the film’s successful impact campaign here.
Love the Sinner, co-directed by Jessica Devaney and Geeta Gandbhir (also a 2017 Chicken & Egg Award recipient), is a personal documentary in which queer filmmaker Jessica Devaney has a dialogue with evangelical Christians, exploring the connection between Christianity and homophobia in the wake of the shooting at Pulse nightclub in Orlando. Love the Sinner has a corresponding curriculum and discussion guide, created with the support of Bertha Foundation, helping to frame conversations in church youth groups, classrooms, student organizations, and more.
Freeheld, directed by Cynthia Wade follows detective Lieutenant Laurel Hester, who spent 25 years investigating tough cases in Ocean County, New Jersey, as she fights against the that same county’s Board of Chosen Freeholders to give her earned pension benefits to her partner, Stacie in the face of terminal lung cancer. Freeheld won the Academy Award® for Best Documentary Short Subject. The film’s ten-city theatrical release included 35 individual theatrical screenings spanning nine states, and provided a natural outreach platform for panels, press, and public dialogue concerning LGBTQ equality around the 2008 national election (when marriage rights were pending on many state ballots).
Call Me Kuchu, co-directed by Malika Zouhali-Worrall (also a 2019 Chicken & Egg Award recipient) and Katherine Fairfax Wright, follows David Kato, Uganda’s first openly gay man, and retired Anglican Bishop Christopher Senyonjo, as they work against the clock to defeat state-sanctioned homophobia while combatting vicious persecution in their daily lives. But no one is prepared for the brutal murder that shakes their movement to its core and sends shock waves around the world. Since the premiere of Call Me Kuchu, Ugandan activists have participated in 29 Q&As in conjunction with screenings across the world. The film was screened by the US State Department at the International AIDS Conference, and shown to the British Parliament and the High Commissioners of Commonwealth Countries. Call Me Kuchu has screened across Africa, and was featured as the opening event for the first ever Uganda Pride in 2012.
In addition to this roster of queer films previously supported by Chicken & Egg Pictures—three out of ten films participating in the current cohort of the (Egg)celerator Lab tell queer stories: Pray Away, of the history and continuation of the “pray the gay away” or ex-gay movement; Mama Bears, about LGBTQ people who grew up in conservative, christian homes with ferociously loving and accepting mothers, who call themselves “mama bears”; and #Mickey, about someone exploring her sexual identity and dealing with the deep homophobia of her environment through the internet.
You can find out more about them and other queer films we’ve supported at this link: http://bit.ly/CHICKENEGGLGBTQ.
AFI Docs, the all-documentary film festival from American Film Institute, is just around the corner, taking place Wednesday, June 19 to Sunday, June 23 in Washington, DC and Silver Spring, Maryland.
68% of their slate of films are produced by women and almost half have a woman director or co-director. The lineup features 72 documentaries from 17 countries, including six world premieres—one of them being Nest-supported film Made In Boise.
Made In Boise, directed by Beth Aala (2018 Discretionary Grant) unveils a surprising—and booming—industry which 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.
The film will have its world premiere with director, producer Beth Aala and producer Beth Levison in attendance, as part of the Spectrum selection of AFI Docs for “filmmakers pushing the boundaries of storytelling and exploring more unconventional subject matter.”
Three other Nest-supported films are also on the list:
American Factory, directed by Julia Reichert (2016 Chicken & Egg Award recipient) and Steve Bognar will screen as the AFI Docs Centerpiece screening, with a conversation with co-directors Steven and Julia and NBC Meet The Press’s Chuck Todd to follow.
One Child Nation (2017 (Egg)celerator Lab grantee), directed by Nanfu Wang (also a 2018 Chicken & Egg Award recipient) and Jialing Zhang will also screen as part of the Truth and Justice selection, with co-director Jialing Zhang in attendance.
And don’t miss these films by former Nest grantees: Picture Character, directed by Ian Cheney and Martha Shane (co-director of Nest-supported After Tiller) and The Great Hack, directed by Karim Amer and Jehane Noujaim (Nest-supported The Square).
Sheffield Doc/Fest kicks off today, Thursday, June 6 and continues into Tuesday, June 11. The world-leading festival celebrates the art of documentary with over 180 screenings of nonfiction films, as well as the business of the film industry, with a packed slate of pitches, funding opportunities, and meetings as part of the Sheffield Doc/Fest Marketplace and MeetMarket.
This year, Chicken & Egg Pictures is proud to present our third annual (Egg)celerator Lab pitch, in which filmmaking teams from all ten 2019 (Egg)celerator Lab grantees give quick pitches to a live audience of documentary industry folks and receive feedback from international decision makers and buyers.
This year’s pitch session is moderated by award-winning filmmaker Judith Helfand, Chicken & Egg Pictures’ Co-Founder and Senior Creative Consultant, and will include a panel of:
- José Rodriguez of Tribeca Film Institute,
- Alexandra Hannibal of CNN Films,
- Jo Lapping of BBC Storyville,
- Jess Gormley of The Guardian, and
- Christine Kecher of A&E Networks.
The 2019 (Egg)celerator Lab grantees are:
- An Act of Worship, directed by Nausheen Dadabhoy (US/PAKISTAN)
- #Mickey, directed by Betzabé García (MEXICO)
- Between Fire and Water, directed by Viviana Gómez Echeverry (COLOMBIA)
- We Are Inside, directed by Farah Kassem (LEBANON)
- Untitled PRC Project, directed by Jessica Kingdon (US)
- Mama Bears, directed by Daresha Kyi (US)
- Silent Beauty, directed by Jasmin López (MEXICO/US)
- Pray Away, directed by Kristine Stolakis (US)
- Cutting Through Rocks, co-directed by Sara Khaki and Mohammad Reza Eyni (IRAN/US)
Anyone with a Sheffield Doc/Fest pass is welcome to sit in on the sessions, learn about the incredible film projects these emerging filmmakers are working on, and hear feedback from panelists. The Chicken & Egg Pictures (Egg)celerator Lab Pitch will take place Sunday, June 9 at 11:00 AM at ITV Town Hall Reception Room B. More information here.
And if you’re at Sheffield Doc/Fest, don’t miss screenings of these Nest-supported films:
How much control does a person have over their own life? In China, state control begins before a child is even born.
One Child Nation is in the running for the The Tim Hetherington Award, supported by Dogwoof. Tickets and screening times are available here.
American Factory, directed by Julia Reichert (2016 Chicken & Egg Award recipient) and Steve Bognar*
Dizzying, hilarious and devastating, this tale of two factories makes for a landmark story of workplace anxiety. Directors Reichert and Bognar have spent a decade documenting the plight of Ohio’s factory workers, and their dedication pays off when they are given astonishing access to Fuyao, a Chinese auto glass manufacturer, as it revives a shuttered General Motors plant in Dayton.
Tickets and screening times are available here.
Hail Satan?, directed by Penny Lane (2017 Chicken & Egg Award recipient)
With humor and searing insight, director Penny Lane debunks misrepresentations about the Satanic Temple. Drawing on extensive access to the organization’s participants, this unflinching examination reveals the controversial religious movement’s aim to shine a light on the hypocrisy around America’s separation of church and state.*
Tickets and screening times are available here.
And a special shoutout to these members of our AlumNest of previously-supported filmmakers: Knock Down the House, directed by Rachel Lears (former Nest grantee for The Hand That Feeds) and The Great Hack, directed by Karim Amer and Jehane Noujaim (former Nest grantee for The Square).
Chicken & Egg Pictures is now accepting submissions for the 2020 (Egg)celerator Lab Open Call!
The (Egg)celerator Lab (formerly the Accelerator Lab) is focused on identifying and supporting nonfiction directors working on their first or second feature-length documentary. This program brings together ten projects, with a special focus on self-identifying women and gender nonconforming directors.
In this year-long intensive mentorship program, these ten projects receive:
- $35,000 in grant funding for the production of their feature-length film;
- monthly mentorship with members of Chicken & Egg Pictures’ senior creative team;
- three creative retreats focused on career sustainability and creative development;
- industry and funder connections; and
- peer support from the (Egg)celerator Lab cohort.
The deadline to apply for the 2020 (Egg)celerator Lab is June 25, 2019 at 3:00 pm EDT.
Films from previous (Egg)celerator Labs have gone on to major international film festivals and TV broadcast debuts, where they have won numerous awards and critical praise; they have taken creative risks; helped foster important conversations about the issues they address; while the first- and second-time directors behind them have grown as leaders, enhanced their creative practices, and worked toward building a sustainable career in the film industry.
Read about select films from the last four (Egg)celerator Lab cohorts below:
From the 2016 (Egg)elerator Lab: Tre Maison Dasan, directed by Denali Tiller, is a story that explores parental incarceration through the eyes of three boys—Tre, Maison, and Dasan. Following their interweaving trajectories through boyhood marked by the criminal justice system, and told directly through the child’s perspective, the film unveils the challenges of growing up and what it means to become a man in America.
Tre Maison Dasan premiered at SFFILM in 2018; had its broadcast premiere on Independent Lens PBS last April, where it also was available for streaming; and the film’s impact campaign and engagement strategy #NationalVisitingDays worked to “strengthen bonds of family, and prompt a national reflection about the the rippling effects of mass incarceration in America.”
From the 2017 (Egg)celerator Lab: One Child Nation, co-directed by Nanfu Wang and Jialing Zhang, follows a filmmaker as she uncovers the untold history of China’s one-child policy and the generations of parents and children forever shaped by this social experiment.
One Child Nation premiered at the 2019 Sundance Film Festival, where it received the Grand Jury Prize for Documentary and was acquired by Amazon for global rights.
From the 2018 (Egg)celerator Lab: Always in Season, directed by Jacqueline Olive, follows the mother of Lennon Lacy, a 17-year-old who was found hanging from a swing set in rural North Carolina in 2014, as her search for justice and reconciliation begins and the trauma of more than a century of lynching African Americans bleeds into the present.
Always in Season premiered at the 2019 Sundance Film Festival, where it received the Special Jury Award for Moral Urgency; Indie Grits, where it received Top Grit; RiverRun International Film Festival, where it received the Human Rights Award; as well as others. Filmmaker Magazine called the film “haunting, difficult and necessary, a depiction of an America that we think of as relegated to the past but that continues to encroach on the present.”
From the 2019 (Egg)celerator Lab: Silent Beauty, directed by Jasmin López, is a personal documentary that follows the director as she works to heal from child sexual abuse she endured at the hands of her grandfather, Gilberto, a Baptist minister, almost thirty years ago. In the process of sharing her own trauma with her large family, she learns that generations of children in her family were victims of the same abuse.
Silent Beauty is currently in production. During the 2019 (Egg)celerator Lab program year, Jasmin is also one of four recipients of the Jacqui Jones Memorial Scholarship by Black Public Media, and she recently participated in Tribeca Film Institute (TFI) Networks, where the project received a grant from TFI and DocsMX.
The deadline to apply to the 2020 (Egg)celerator Lab open call is Tuesday, June 25 at 3:00 pm EDT. Apply now! And sign up for our newsletter to receive updates on the (Egg)celerator Lab Open Call timeline and other news from the Nest.