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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.

Jos Duncan: Dozen Days of Filmmakers — Day 6

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.

Jos Duncan is a multimedia producer, professional storyteller, and social entrepreneur with over fifteen years experience collaboratively creating and documenting community-centered narratives. She is the founder of Love Now Media, an empathy-centered media company that uses storytelling to advocate for social justice and wellness.

Her documentary film Falaka Fattah and The House of Umoja, co-directed with Jason Pollard, participated in the 2019 Nest Knight Fellowship, a pilot initiative generously supported by Knight Foundation which supports stories in Philadelphia, PA. 

Still from Falaka Fattah and The House of Umoja, co-directed by Jos Duncan and Jason Pollard 

In 1969, when gangs were forming throughout the United States as an act of resistance and protection from police brutality, Queen Mother Falaka Fattah and her husband David Fattah opened up their home to warring gangs in the Philadelphia area out of concern for the safety of their son. In the ensuing years, the Fattahs worked with over 105 gangs, convincing them to a sign a pledge of peace, and eradicating almost all of the gangs violence in Philadelphia. As gun violence spurs in Philadelphia, Queen Mother Falakah Fattah urges today’s leaders to uphold the House of Umoja movement.

Anabel Rodríguez Ríos: Dozen Days of Filmmakers — Day 5

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.


A painfully beautiful and urgent film. Made with the commitment and determination of warrior-filmmakers, fighting for dignity and freedom with their best weapon: their camera.” — Ricardo Acosta on Once Upon a Time in Venezuela 

Anabel Rodriguez Once Upon a Time in VenezuelaVenezuelan filmmaker Anabel Rodríguez Ríos’ first feature and Project: Hatched grantee Once Upon a Time in Venezuela premiered at Sundance Film Festival in 2020. The film follows residents of a small fishing village as they prepare for the parliamentary election. Once the village of Congo Mirador was prosperous; now it is decaying and disintegrating—a prophetic reflection of Venezuela itself. Since its premiere, Once Upon a Time in Venezuela has been featured in The Hollywood Reporter, RogerEbert.com, and more and screened at DOC NYC, Hot Docs, and DocMX. The filmmaking team has launched a robust impact campaign to engage the Venezuelan diaspora and fight for the future of their country. Once Upon a Time in Venezuela was selected to be Venezuela’s official submission to the 93rd Academy Awards® for Best International Film.

Anabel Rodriguez Once Upon a Time in Venezuela Project: Hatched 2020
Still from Once Upon a Time in Venezuela, directed by Anabel Rodríguez Ríos

Anabel Rodríguez Ríos, based in Vienna, Austria, gained a master’s in filmmaking at the London Film School, which was sponsored by The British Council and the Venezuelan Foundation ‘El Gran Mariscal de Ayacucho’. Her short film The Barrel, part ofthe Why Poverty? series, went to over 50 international film festivals, including Hot Docs and IDFA and was awarded with a TFI Latin America Grant. 

Marcela Arteaga: Dozen Days of Filmmakers — Day 4

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 film is about the kindness and hope that still exists in people who have gone through hell, and about Carlos Spector’s tireless efforts to help them not to lose their voices.” — Marcela Arteaga, Women & Hollywood 

2017 Accelerator Lab Marcela Arteaga Guardian of MemoryMarcela Arteaga’s newest film The Guardian of Memory follows immigration lawyer Carlos Spector as he fights to obtain political asylum for Mexicans fleeing from violence. The film is the story of Mexican men, women, and children seeking a respite from their tragedies by heading to their neighboring country, the US. It is also a story about the kindness and hope that still exists in people who have gone through hell, and about Carlos Spector’s tireless efforts to keep memory alive.

The Guardian of Memory participated in our 2017 (Egg)celerator Lab. The film premiered at Hot Docs in 2019, and went on to screen at Margaret Mead, DocsMx, and Morelia film festivals. The film has received multiple awards, including, most recently, the Best Documentary Award from the Mexican Academy of Film Arts and Sciences, also known as The Ariel.

Trailer for The Guardian of Memory

Remembrance, Marcela’s first feature documentary film in 2003, received support from the Rockefeller Foundation. It was the recipient of the FIPRESCI Prize for Best Mexican Film at the Guadalajara IFF, México; and the Jury’s Special Award at the Guanajuato IFF and the Festival of Málaga. Marcela Arteaga graduated from Centro de Capacitación Cinematográfica. 

Maia Lekow: Dozen Days of Filmmakers — Day 3

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.

Maia von Lekow is an acclaimed Kenyan filmmaker, musician, and co-director of The Letter with Chris King. Filmed with a gentle pace and incredible closeness, The Letter is a gripping family drama about a 95 year-old Grandmother with a fearless spirit who must overcome dangerous accusations of witchcraft that are coming from within her own family. 

The Letter made its world premiere at IDFA in 2019 and screened at DOC NYC, DocsBarcelona, and AFI DOCS festivals. The film is Kenya’s official submission to the 93rd Academy Awards® for Best International Film and is currently streaming in Kenyan cinemas nationwide. In addition to being co-director, Maia composed a poignant original score for the film along with Emmy-winning Toronto-based composer Ken Myhr. 

Maia has also worked as director, producer, and sound recordist for several film and music projects since founding Circle and Square Productions in 2009. She has performed on stages across the world and continues to compose music for films. She received an African Movie Academy Award for her song Uko Wapi, and was named a goodwill ambassador for UNHCR on World Refugee Day 2013.

Kimberly Reed: Dozen Days of Filmmakers — Day 2

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.

2020 Chicken & Egg Award Recipient Kimberly Reed’s most recent film, Dark Money, tells the story of a Montana fighting to preserve open and honest elections. The film was an award-winning selection at the 2018 Sundance Film Festival and promptly named one of Vogue’s “66 Best Documentaries of All Time,” nominated for Best Feature at the IDA Awards, and nominated for four Critics’ Choice Awards. The Nest-supported film was also on the 2019 Oscar shortlist. Dark Money is available to stream on Amazon Prime Video with PBS Documentaries. 

Dark Money Kimberly Reed Chicken & Egg Pictures
Still from Dark Money, directed by Kimberly Reed

Kim also directed and produced the Cinema Eye Honors-winning Prodigal Sons, the the first documentary by a transgender filmmaker to be theatrically released; produced, edited, and wrote Paul Goodman Changed My Life; and produced The Death and Life of Marsha P. Johnson (Netflix). She was one of Filmmaker Magazine’s “25 New Faces of Independent Film,” and her work in broader artistic fields has also been acclaimed: she was published in The New York Times for “The Moth: 50 True Stories,” and has co-authored four operas, including As One, the most frequently produced American opera in the 21st century. Her film projections for opera have been called “worthy of Fellini or Bergman” (SF Classical Voice).

During the 2020 Chicken & Egg Award, Kimberly is working on The Gender Project, which uses bold cinematic language to confront the dichotomy of gender, exploding binary myths with scientific, historical, and cultural revelations.

Alexandra Codina: Dozen Days of Filmmakers — Day 1

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.

Alexandra Codina Unaccompanied Children 2017 Accelerator LabAlexandra Codina’s newest film Paper Children (Niños de papel), an (Egg)celerator Lab grantee and Knight Foundation funded film, explores America’s invisible refugee crisis through the eyes of one Miami family who navigate a broken system with unwavering resilience. The film is a Youtube Original and is available to stream for free. Alexandra also wrote about Paper Children and moving “beyond the politics of asylum” for our blog series Letters from the AlumNest

Alexandra Codina Unaccompanied Children 2017 Accelerator Lab
Still from Paper Children, directed by Alexandra Codina

Her debut film Monica & David, also a Nest-supported project which premiered in 2009, tells the love story of two adults with Down syndrome. The film won Tribeca Film Festival’s Jury Award, was nominated for an Emmy Award, premiered on HBO, and broadcast in 33 countries. Monica & David was featured in the New York Times, Washington Post, Newsweek, ABC, Harper’s Bazaar, Variety, and Latina Magazine.

Monica and David Alexandra Codina
Still from Monica & David, directed by Alexandra Codina

In addition to Chicken & Egg Pictures, Alexandra’s work has also been supported by The Fledgling Fund, The Perspective Fund, Sundance Knight Fellowship, South Florida Arts Consortium & Tribeca All Access. She is currently producing Untitled: Chinese in Africa Project with Jialing Zhang (director/producer of (Egg)celerator Lab grantee One Child Nation). The daughter of Cuban refugees, Alexandra lives in Miami and is the mother of two young boys.

The Nest on the DOC NYC Short List

A special congratulations to the following Nest-supported filmmakers who were selected for DOC NYC’s famous Short Lists for contenders for the documentary short category and contenders for feature documentary category. DOC NYC Film Festival is the largest nonfiction film festival in the US and runs from Wednesday, November 11 to Thursday, November 19.

DOC NYC’s Short Lists are influential for their steady track record of anticipating Academy Award nominees and winners. Check out the Nest-supported films screening at the festival here; the films are available to watch across the US.


DOC NYC Short List: Features

Production still from A Thousand Cuts, directed by Ramona Diaz.

A Thousand Cuts
Directed by Ramona Diaz (2018 Chicken & Egg Award recipient)*

Nowhere is the worldwide erosion of democracy, fueled by social media disinformation campaigns, more starkly evident than in the authoritarian regime of Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte. Journalist Maria Ressa places the tools of the free press—and her freedom—on the line in defense of truth and democracy.

Dick Johnson Is Dead
Directed by Recipient Kirsten Johnson (2017 Chicken & Egg Award recipient)*

With this inventive portrait, a cameraperson seeks a way to keep her 86-year-old father alive forever. Utilizing moviemaking magic and her family’s dark humor, she celebrates Dr. Dick Johnson’s last years by staging fantasies of death and beyond. Together, dad and daughter confront the great inevitability awaiting us all.

Still from The Fight, co-directed by Elyse Steinberg, Josh Kriegman, and
Eli Despres.

The Fight, co-directed by Elyse SteinbergJosh Kriegman, and
Eli Despres (Project: Hatched 2020)

The Fight documents a team of scrappy ACLU lawyers battling Trump’s historic assault on civil liberties.

Congratulations to AlumNest filmmakers Kirby Dick and Amy Ziering, whose new film On the Record made the DOC NYC Short List: Features and will screen at the fest. Kirby and Amy were supported by Chicken & Egg Pictures for their project The Invisible War


DOC NYC Short List: Shorts

Congratulations to the following AlumNest filmmakers on their shortlisted short films: Chicken & Egg Award Recipient Geeta Gandbhir for Call Center Blues, Tiffany Hsiung for Sing Me A Lullaby, Alison Klayman for Flower Punk, and Sharmeen Obaid-Chinoy for A Life Too Short.


In the Winner’s Circle section of DOC NYC, catch The Mole Agent directed by 2020 Chicken & Egg Award Recipient Maite Alberdi.

*These projects were supported by Chicken & Egg Pictures during the filmmakers’ Chicken & Egg Award year.

Documenting Democracy at Chicken & Egg Pictures

As a nonprofit based in the United States, the Chicken & Egg Pictures team and many of the artist-activists we support have been closely following the recent election, watching as our country voted for a new leader in a time of global crisis. 

Films about democracy and elections have long added to conversations about the democratic process on the national and international level and told the stories of our nations. As the US election cycle comes to a close, the following documentaries by women filmmakers from the past fifteen years of our organization are on our mind. Here are a few films by Nest-supported filmmakers that have used intimate storytelling to convey the power of democracy:


Still from Councilwoman

Councilwoman, directed by Margo Guernsey, follows a hotel housekeeper from the Dominican Republic who wins a City Council seat in Providence, Rhode Island. Carmen balances cleaning hotel rooms with navigating a political establishment that does not easily acquiesce to the needs of working people.
Watch on Vimeo

Democrats Camilla Nielsson
Still from Democrats

In Democrats, directed by Camilla Nielsson, two politicians from rival parties in Zimbabwe oversee the creation of a new constitution following the election of Robert Mugabe as president in 2008.
Watch on Apple TV.

Still from And She Could Be Next

And She Could Be Next, co-directed by Grace Lee (Chicken & Egg Award Recipient) and Marjan Safinia (Chicken & Egg Pictures Board), tells the story of a defiant movement of women of color, transforming politics from the ground up. The series follows candidates and organizers across the country, asking whether democracy itself can be preserved—and made stronger—by those most marginalized, featuring history-makers including Rashida Tlaib, Stacey Abrams, Lucy McBath, Bushra Amiwala, Maria Elena Durazo, Veronica Escobar, Nse Ufot and more. Watch on PBS

Still from Once Upon a Time in Venezuela

Once Upon a Time in Venezuela, directed by Anabel Rodríguez Ríos
On Lake Maracaibo, beneath the mysterious silent Catatumbo lightning, the village of Congo Mirador is preparing for parliamentary elections. For streetwise local businesswoman and Chavist party representative Tamara, every vote counts, fought by all means. While for opposition-supporting teacher Natalie, politics is a weapon that is unsuccessfully attempting to force her from her job. And with her sharp eyes, little Yohanny sees her community sinking from sedimentation, her childhood and innocence with it. How can a small fishing village survive against corruption, pollution and political decay—a reflection of all the flaws of contemporary Venezuela? If you are in the US, tune into DOC NYC to watch from November 11 – 19. Tickets here

Still from “I Am Not Going to Change 400 Years in Four.”

I Am Not Going to Change 400 Years in Four,” directed by Angela Tucker and 2016 Chicken & Egg Award Recipient Kristi Jacobson, follows Satana Deberry as she takes the oath of office as district attorney of Durham County, North Carolina. Satana is a Black woman elected to an office historically held by white men whose “tough on crime” policies have devastated communities of color for decades. Now, she faces the complicated realities of seeking to reform a deeply flawed criminal justice system, and a community ravaged by gun violence. Her story is at once inspiring and empowering—and also a call to action, for voters across the US. “I Am Not Going to Change 400 Years in Four” was produced by Chicken & Egg Pictures in partnership with Mother Jones. Watch on Mother Jones

The Supreme Price Joanna Lipper
Still from The Supreme Price

The Supreme Price, directed by Joanna Lipper, traces the evolution of the Pro-Democracy Movement in Nigeria and efforts to increase the participation of women in leadership roles. Following the annulment of her father’s victory in Nigeria’s Presidential Election and her mother’s assassination by agents of the military dictatorship, Hafsat Abiola faces the challenge of transforming a corrupt culture of governance into a democracy capable of serving Nigeria’s most marginalized population: women.
Watch at Women Make Movies.