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Nest-supported Filmmakers Nom’d for the NAACP Image Awards!

We were honored to see five Nest-supported filmmakers on the recently announced nominations list for the 52nd annual NAACP Image Awards, which are known for “celebrating outstanding achievement in the areas of film, TV, music and literature—from an African American perspective.”*


Coded Bias — Outstanding Documentary (Film)

Coded Bias, directed by Shalini Kantayya

Coded Bias, directed by Shalini Kantayya, explores the fallout of MIT Media Lab researcher Joy Buolamwini’s startling discovery that facial recognition does not see dark-skinned faces accurately, and her subsequent journey to push for the first-ever US legislation to govern against bias in artificial intelligence. The documentary aims to shine a light on the threat artificial intelligence poses to civil rights and democracy. The film participated in Project: Hatched 2020.


Through the NightOutstanding Breakthrough Creative (Motion Picture)

Through the Night, directed by Loira Limbal

Loira Limbal and her work on Through the Night are nominated for Outstanding Breakthrough Creative (Motion Picture). 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. The film participated in the 2018 (Egg)celerator Lab.


AlumNest filmmakers nominated include Chicken & Egg Award Recipients Yoruba Richen, Dawn Porter, and Grace Lee:

The Sit-In: Harry Belafonte Hosts the Tonight Show by Yoruba Richen — Outstanding Directing in a Documentary (Television or Motion Picture) and Outstanding Writing in a Documentary (Television or Motion Picture)

And She Could Be Next by Grace Lee and Chicken & Egg Pictures Board Member Marjan Safinia — Outstanding Documentary (Television)

John Lewis: Good Trouble by Dawn Porter — Outstanding Documentary (Film)


Congratulations to all the nominees! We will be watching the awards ceremony from our Nest on Saturday, March 27th at 8 pm ET.

*Language courtesy of NAACP Image Awards.

Announcing New Docs by the Dozen, in Partnership with LUNA®!

Today we are announcing three new short films produced as part of Docs by the Dozen, in partnership with LUNA®. 

These three short films by AlumNest filmmakers explore a variety of perspectives on women’s equality and self empowerment—sharing new perspectives and lighting a fire in the industry. Watch the films as part of LUNAFEST®’s 2021 season


The Scientists Versus Dartmouth by Sharon Shattuck

A group of young women scientists at Dartmouth speak up about sexual harassment and become advocates for women in science everywhere.


Overexposed: Filmming an Arctic Odyssey by Holly Morris

A behind-the-scenes look at the film team that captured the daring story of the Women’s Euro-Arabian North Pole Expedition.


Until She is Free by Maria Finitzo

Until She is Free documents mixed-media artist Sophia Wallace as she imagines a culturally cliterate world, where all people are equal and able to live with rich possibility and purpose.


In 2001, LUNA® started LUNAFEST®—a traveling film festival celebrating, showcasing and championing women in film. Since then, LUNAFEST® has been flipping the script, creating opportunities for women in film. Learn more here

Two Chicken & Egg Pictures-supported Films Win at Sundance!

The 2021 Sundance Film Festival Awards were announced Tuesday, February 3. We were egg-static to see two Nest-supported films receive major awards from the Park City festival, which was held online from January 28 to Wednesday, February 3. 


Users, directed by Natalia Almada

Natalia Almada received the “Directing Award: U.S. Documentary” for Users.

Natalia Almada worked on Users during her 2018 Chicken & Egg Award year and the project participated in NEXT GEN EGG. Check out the film’s Sundance page here.


Writing With Fire, directed by Rintu Thomas and Sushmit Ghosh

Writing With Fire, directed by Rintu Thomas and Sushmit Ghosh 2018 Accelerator Lab

Writing With Fire received the “Audience Award: World Cinema Documentary” and “World Cinema Documentary Special Jury Award: Impact for Change.”

Writing With Fire participated in our 2018 (Egg)elerator Lab and NEXT GEN EGG. Check out the film’s Sundance page here.


A special congratulations to AlumNest filmmaker Camilla Nielsson (Democrats) on her “World Cinema Documentary Special Jury Award: Vérité Filmmaking” for President!

Nest-supported Films at the 2021 Sundance Film Festival

We’re soaring (digitally) into the 2021 Sundance Film Festival this month, taking place from Thursday, January 28 to Wednesday, February 3. Tickets are now on sale to see the following Nest-supported filmmakers and films from anywhere in the United States: 

Users, directed by Natalia Almada

“A mother wonders, will my children love their perfect machines more than they love me, their imperfect mother? She switches on a smart-crib lulling her crying baby to sleep. This perfect mother is everywhere. She watches over us, takes care of us. We listen to her. We trust her.”
Natalia Almada worked on Users during her 2018 Chicken & Egg Award year and the project participated in NEXT GEN EGG. Check out the film’s Sundance page here.


Writing With Fire, directed by Rintu Thomas and Sushmit Ghosh

Writing With Fire, directed by Rintu Thomas and Sushmit Ghosh 2018 Accelerator Lab

In a cluttered news landscape dominated by men, emerges India’s only newspaper run by Dalit women. Armed with smartphones, Chief Reporter Meera and her journalists break traditions, be it on the frontlines of India’s biggest issues or within the confines of their homes, redefining what it means to be powerful.
Writing With Fire participated in our 2018 (Egg)elerator Lab and NEXT GEN EGG. Check out the film’s Sundance page here.


The Changing Same — Lead Artists: Michèle Stephenson, Joe Brewster, and Yasmin Elayat

Changing Same Michèle Stephenson Joe Brewster Impact Innovation Initiative 2018

“This immersive, episodic experience uses time travel and magical realism to pilgrimage through the evolution of racial violence in the U.S., making vital connections between the past and present. Episode 1 introduces the time travel portal—the Cracker House—and begins with a police altercation in a quiet suburb of modern-day New Jersey. The police altercation leads to mass incarceration and a slave warehouse, while hurtling toward a glimpse of a radiant post-racial utopia.”
The Changing Same received a 2017 Impact and Innovation Grant, a past Chicken & Egg Pictures program. You need a Desktop-tethered VR Headset to participate; learn more about the project here.


AlumNest Filmmakers

Our AlumNest is the 325+ women and gender nonconforming filmmakers we have supported in our sixteen years as an organization. Check out these projects by supported filmmakers at the upcoming Sundance Film Festival:

Bring Your Own Brigade, directed by Lucy Walker (The Lion’s Mouth Opens)

Prison X – Chapter 1 : The Devil and The Sun — Lead Artists: Violeta Ayala (Cocaine Prison), Alap Parikh, Maria Corvera Vargas, Roly Elias

Try Harder! directed by Debbie Lum (Seeking Asian Female)

President, directed by Camilla Nielsson (Democrats)

In The Same Breath, directed by Nanfu Wang (2018 Chicken & Egg Award, One Child Nation)

Nishtha Jain: Dozen Days of Filmmakers — Day 12

Chicken & Egg Pictures is celebrating the holiday season and saying farewell to 2020 by featuring a dozen Nest-supported women and gender nonconforming filmmakers. For more Dozen Days of Filmmakers, see here.


Nishtha Jain is a multi-award-winning filmmaker based in Mumbai. She’s best known for her films Gulabi Gang (2012), Lakshmi and Me (2007), and City of Photos (2004). She’s been exploring the human condition in its myriad states. Politics of image making and self-representation, complexities of social hierarchies, women’s movements, and workers’ struggles have been some of the themes that her films have dealt with. She’s a graduate of the Film and Television Institute of India, Pune and A.J.K. Mass Communication Research Centre, New Delhi. She’s a Fulbright Scholar (2019), Global Media Maker (2019) at Film Independent, Los Angeles, and Chicken & Egg Award Recipient (2020). 

Still from Gulabi Gang, directed by Nishtha Jain

A recipient of two Indian National Film Awards and over 23 international awards, her films have been extensively shown in international film festivals and art-house cinemas and broadcast on international TV networks. She has served as a juror at several international festivals including IDFA and Zurich Film Festival. In 2020, Nishtha joined the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences.

She has given master classes and/or made artist presentations at universities including Stanford, NYU, Wellesley, Cambridge, St. Andrews, University of London, Heidelberg, Concordia, Danish Film School, and Film and Television Institute of India, Pune. When she’s not making films, she’s teaching, writing, and actively participating in social and political movements in India.

Zofia Pregowska: Dozen Days of Filmmakers — Day 11

Chicken & Egg Pictures is celebrating the holiday season and saying farewell to 2020 by featuring a dozen Nest-supported women and gender nonconforming filmmakers. For more Dozen Days of Filmmakers, see here.


“What compels me is the everyday quest of my characters to live a meaningful life.” — Zofia Pregowska

Zofia Pregowska People I Know 2017 Accelerator Lab

Zofia Pregowska is a documentary filmmaker from Warsaw, Poland. Her directing debut was the short film Invisible, about Mrs. Krystyna—a blind poet who lives in a small flat in Warsaw. Invisible premiered at IDFA and went on to win 19 awards including the Short Documentary Jury Award at the New Orleans International Film Festival in 2014. You can watch the short here

Zofia graduated from Warsaw Film School for film directing and in 2015, she made her production debut with A Brave Bunch: Uprising Through Children’s Eyes. She operates her own production company, Prego Media, where she works as a director and producer.

Zofia Pregowska People We Know 2017 Accelerator Lab
Still from People I Know, directed by Zofia Pregowska

People I Know, which participated in the 2017 (Egg)celerator Lab, is a tragicomedy vérité film about a young married couple living in an old trailer. Prone to nervous breakdowns, Michael is unable to stand consumer society and becomes a street musician. His wife Nathalie is an oncology nurse. One day, Nathalie discovers that she wants to own a house so much that she’s ready to take on a lifelong loan. 

Yoruba Richen: Dozen Days of Filmmakers — Day 10

Chicken & Egg Pictures is celebrating the holiday season and saying farewell to 2020 by featuring a dozen Nest-supported women and gender nonconforming filmmakers. For more Dozen Days of Filmmakers, see here.


The New Black Yoruba RichenYoruba Richen is a 2016 Chicken & Egg Award filmmaker whose work explores issues of race, space, and power. She has directed films in the US and abroad, including The New Black, Promised Land, The Green Book: Guide to Freedom, and most recently The Sit In: Harry Belafonte Hosts the Tonight Show. Yoruba received the Creative Promise Award at Tribeca All Access, was a Sundance Producers Fellow, is a featured TED Speaker and a Guggenheim Fellow. She is director of the documentary program at the CUNY Graduate School of Journalism. 

Her last film, The Sit In: Harry Belafonte Hosts the Tonight Show was selected for the 2020 Tribeca Film Festival and is a Peacock Original. Her previous film The Green Book: Guide to Freedom was broadcast on the Smithsonian Channel to record audiences and was awarded the Henry Hampton Award for Excellence in Documentary Filmmaking.

Yoruba is currently working on How It Feels To Be Free, a two-part documentary chronicling how black entertainers like Lena Horne and Cicely Tyson navigated the industry and took control of their own images, all while fighting for civil rights through their art and actions.

The New Black Yoruba Richen
Still from The New Black, directed by Yoruba Richen

Shalini Kantayya: Dozen Days of Filmmakers — Day 9

Chicken & Egg Pictures is celebrating the holiday season and saying farewell to 2020 by featuring a dozen Nest-supported women and gender nonconforming filmmakers. For more Dozen Days of Filmmakers, see here.


“This moment is asking us to drop into a deeper place in our humanity to lead. I’m so grateful to the people in my film who have shown me how to do this. There has never been more clarity that the people who have been systematically missing from the conversation have the most to share with us about the way forward.” — Shalini Kantayya, Letters from the AlumNest

Shalini Kantayya’s newest film, Coded Bias, explores the fallout of MIT Media Lab researcher Joy Buolamwini’s startling discovery that facial recognition does not see dark-skinned faces accurately, and her subsequent journey to push for the first-ever US legislation to govern against bias in artificial intelligence. The documentary aims to shine a light on the threat artificial intelligence poses to civil rights and democracy. Coded Bias participated in our 2020 Project: Hatched program; was an Official Selection at the 2020 Sundance Film Festival; and was featured in The New York Times, Democracy Now!, and Hollywood Reporter. The film is now playing at 70+ virtual cinemas across the US. Support a local movie theater and stream from home: codedbias.com/virtualcinema

Still from Coded Bias, directed by Shalini Kantayya

Shalini’s other credits include directing the season finale episode for the National Geographic television series Breakthrough, a series profiling trailblazing scientists transforming the future, executive produced by Ron Howard, broadcast globally in June 2017. Her debut feature film Catching the Sun, about the race for a clean energy future, premiered at the Los Angeles Film Festival and was named a New York Times Critics’ Pick. Catching the Sun released globally on Netflix on Earth Day 2016 with Executive Producer Leonardo DiCaprio and was nominated for the Environmental Media Association Award for Best Documentary.

Kantayya is a TED Fellow, a William J. Fulbright Scholar, and a finalist for the ABC Disney DGA Directing Program. She is an Associate of the UC Berkeley Graduate School of Journalism.

Elizabeth D. Costa: Dozen Days of Filmmakers — Day 8

Chicken & Egg Pictures is celebrating the holiday season and saying farewell to 2020 by featuring a dozen Nest-supported women and gender nonconforming filmmakers. For more Dozen Days of Filmmakers, see here.


“Keep bringing out unique and beautiful stories. Believe in your story. My mentor always tells me that when someone doubts your abilities because you are a female director, do not waste your energy answering back.” — Elizabeth D. Costa, Women & Hollywood

Bangla Surf Girls Elizabeth D Costa 2017 Accelerator LabElizabeth D. Costa is a Bangladeshi documentary filmmaker who has over eight years of experience working on international and domestic media projects as producer, director, assistant producer, editor, and cameraperson. She started her career as an intern script supervisor for Tareque and Catherine Masud; and has worked for BBC Media Action, NOS Television, VICE News UK, Spanish TV, and Bloomberg TV. She also worked as Assistant Producer with Chicken & Egg Pictures Eggspert Sharmeen Obaid-Chinoy on A Journey of Thousand Miles: Peacekeepers

Her feature length debut Bangla Surf Girls is an immersive documentary that takes us into the heart of a slum near Cox’s Bazar, Bangladesh where we witness a local social experiment.  Young girls who sell trinkets to tourists are pulled into a surf program started by a local youth. What follows is a transformation as the girls gain confidence and dare to dream of freedom and escape from a life of drudgery and abuse. Balancing the freedom of the waves with the restrictive realities of their circumstances, we experience the thrill and struggle of coming-of-age in a developing country. The documentary captures the raw emotions, the family dynamics, and the complex pressures of poverty.

Bangla Surf Girls Elizabeth D Costa 2017 Accelerator Lab
Still from Bangla Surf Girls, directed by Elizabeth D. Costa

Elizabeth has a unique skill to document and capture intimate images, and her work has been supported by our 2017 (Egg)celerator Lab, IDFA Academy, and the 2020 Film Independent Doc Lab. Bangla Surf Girls was an official selection for the 2020 Hot Docs International Film Festival and was featured in the Bangladeshi newspaper Dhaka Tribune, Women & Hollywood, and more. You can watch the trailer on Vimeo.   

Laura Nix: Dozen Days of Filmmakers — Day 7

Chicken & Egg Pictures is celebrating the holiday season and saying farewell to 2020 by featuring a dozen Nest-supported women and gender nonconforming filmmakers. For more Dozen Days of Filmmakers, see here.

Laura Nix is a director, writer, and producer working in nonfiction and fiction. Her short film, Walk Run Cha-Cha, was nominated for a 2020 Academy Award for Best Documentary Short Subject; and the New York Times series, From Here to Home, in which the film appears, was nominated for a 2020 News and Documentary Emmy. 

Her feature documentary Inventing Tomorrow, which follows passionate teenage innovators from around the world as they create cutting-edge solutions to confront environmental threats, won a 2019 Peabody Award. Laura also directed the feature documentaries The Yes Men Are Revolting, The Light in Her Eyes, and Whether You Like It or Not: The Story of Hedwig, as well as the award-winning fiction feature, The Politics of Fur

Laura Nix Inventing Tomorrow 2018 Breakthrough Filmmaker Award
Still from Inventing Tomorrow, directed by Laura Nix

Laura was named a 2018 Chicken & Egg Award Recipient and was awarded the Sundance Institute/Discovery Impact Fellowship in 2017. Raised in New York state and based in Los Angeles, Laura is a film expert for the US State Department’s American Film Showcase and a member of the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences.