Milisuthando Bongela: Dozen Days of Filmmakers — Day 9


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

Milisuthando (Working Title) Milisuthando BongelaMilisuthando 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—Milisuthando (working title).

Milisuthando (working title), directed by Milisuthando Bongela

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’s project participated in the 2019 (Egg)celerator Lab and received the 2019 The Whickers/Chicken & Egg Pictures Award.

Jasmin Mara López: Dozen Days of Filmmakers — Day 8

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

Silent Beauty Jasmin Mara LópezJasmin Mara López is a journalist, audio producer, and filmmaker based in New Orleans, Louisiana. Born in the US with familial roots in México, her childhood was affected by issues experienced on both sides of the US-México border. This instilled in her a strong passion for immigrant rights, youth empowerment, and social change. In 2007, Jasmin founded Project Luz, which taught Mexican youth to document stories from within their communities. She was then recruited by the USC Annenberg Civic Engagement and Journalism Initiative to coordinate a program that trained immigrant youth in journalistic ethics and practice. In 2015, she received the Society of Professional Journalists’ Excellence in Journalism Award for her audio documentary Deadly Divide: Migrant Death on the Border.

Silent Beauty Jasmin Mara López
Silent Beauty, directed by Jasmin Mara López

She was awarded the 2017 New Orleans Film Society Emerging Voices Mentorship, 2018 Southern Documentary Fund Production Grant, 2019 Jacquie Jones Memorial Scholarship Fund via Black Public Media, and 2019 TFI Pond5 Grant. She participated in the 2018 UnionDocs Summer Documentary Lab, 2017 Third Coast Radio Residency at Ragdale, 2019 Ragdale Artist Residency, 2019 TFI Network, 2019 Firelight Media Documentary Lab, as well as the 2019 (Egg)celerator Lab for her feature documentary Silent Beautya personal documentary about confronting and accepting difficult truths while finding beauty in the process. Read more about Silent Beauty on the film’s webpage.

Jialing Zhang: Dozen Days of Filmmakers — Day 7

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

Lynn Zhang 2017 Accelerator Lab Born In ChinaJialing Zhang is an independent filmmaker based in Beijing. She is co-director and editor of Complicit, which follows the intimate journey of a benzene-poisoned Chinese migrant worker who takes on the global electronic manufacturing industry. Lynn also freelances as a local producer for various media including VICE on HBO, Fusion TV, the New York Times, and independent feature documentary projects. She holds a Master’s degree from New York University in documentary filmmaking.

One Child Nation, co-directed by Nanfu Wang and Jialing Zhang

Recently, she co-directed 2017 (Egg)celerator Lab grantee One Child Nation with Nanfu Wang. One Child Nation premiered at the 2019 Sundance Film Festival, where it received the Grand Jury Prize in the US Documentary Competition. The film exposes the devastating consequences of China’s One-Child Policy through the stories of those who lived through it.

Marie Hinson: Dozen Days of Filmmakers — Day 6

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

Marie Hinson is an artist and cinematographer who specializes in feature documentaries and commercials and creates site-specific performances and experimental films. As an artist, Marie’s performances, installations, and experimental films have shown in festivals and several group shows. In 2019, she debuted new site-specific performance work, “Stop on the object / move on the image” at the Philadelphia Museum of Art. She is currently working on a writing, performance, and film project about growing up in rural Appalachia as a trans and queer person.

Recently, Marie was a cinematographer and associate producer on Queer Genius which features visionary queer artists Eileen Myles, Barbara Hammer, Black Quantum Futurism and Jibz Cameron. She was also a cinematographer on Alysa Nahmias’ forthcoming documentary about artist Jesse Krimes. She also shot a two year long webseries for Comcast about a massive commissioned art project for their new headquarters which included a Steven Speilberg directed immersive cinematic installation.

Frank Bey: You’re Going to Miss Me, directed by Marie Hinson

Marie’s directorial debut participated in the 2019 Nest Knight Fellowship, with generous support from Knight Foundation. Frank Bey: You’re Going to Miss Me is about an aging blues singer’s return to the stage 17 years after music broke his heart. Frank Bey’s incredible journey reaches a climactic year as he overcomes the loss of his backing band to record his dream album in Nashville.

Stephanie Wang-Breal: Dozen Days of Filmmakers — Day 5

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

A first-generation Chinese American from Youngstown, Ohio, Stephanie Wang-Breal uses film as a tool to subvert the narrative. She is an award-winning filmmaker, commercial director and co-founder of the independent production company, Once in a Blue Films. Wang-Breal has directed three feature length films: Tough Love (2014) and the Nest-supported Wo Ai Ni Mommy (2010) and Blowin’ Up (2018).

Blowin’ Up, directed by Stephanie Wang-Breal

She has also directed commercials and short form content with talents and brands such as Tan Dun, Planned Parenthood, Minwax, ESPN, Tiffany & Co, Verifone, and Apple. Wang-Breal’s independent work has been supported and recognized by the Sundance Institute, Ford Foundation, and featured at the Tribeca Film Festival.

Wang-Breal was also awarded a 2019 Chicken & Egg Award, and she resides in Brooklyn, New York with her son and daughter.

Nico Opper: Dozen Days of Filmmakers — Day 4

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

Visitor's Day Nico OpperNico Opper is an Emmy®-nominated filmmaker who directed and produced the feature documentary Off and Running, an Audience Favorite at Tribeca and winner of ten international awards including Best Documentary at Outfest and Best Documentary Screenplay at Silverdocs. The film was broadcast nationally on POV, and they received a Fulbright Fellowship to direct Visitor’s Day, which was supported by New York State Council on the Arts, Chicken & Egg Pictures, and The Independent Television Service. Visitor’s Day nationally broadcast on PBS and WORLD Channel. 

The F Word Nico Opper 2018 Impact and Innovation Initiative
The F Word, directed by Nico Opper

Recently, they directed and produced the short form docuseries The F Word: A Foster-to-Adopt Story, funded by ITVS for IndieLens Storycast and currently streaming on Soul Pancake in partnership with Participant Media. Season one of The F Word revealed the story of one queer couple adopting from foster care in Oakland, CA and was nominated for a Gotham Award for Breakthrough Series. The second season of The F Word 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 and is supported by Chicken & Egg Pictures’ Impact & Innovation Initiative (past program).

Nico has produced films and television for The Discovery Channel and Here TV, and have been featured in Filmmaker Magazine’s annual “25 New Faces of Independent Film”,  Indiewire’s 25 LGBT Filmmakers on the Rise, and most recently DOC NYC’s “40 Under 40”. They have taught filmmaking at Stanford University and San Francisco State University, and is currently an assistant professor at Santa Clara University. In addition to teaching and making films, Nico is the Creative Director of the BAVC MediaMaker Fellowship.

Daresha Kyi: Dozen Days of Filmmakers — Day 3

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

MAMA BEARS DARESHA KYI 2019 Eggcelerator LabDaresha Kyi writes, produces, and directs documentary and narrative film and all kinds of television in Spanish and English. A natural born storyteller, she made her first short, experimental film, Schism, at the age of 16. Currently, she is in post production on the Nest-supported feature documentary Mama Bears about how conservative, Christian mothers are transformed when they decide to accept their LGBTQ children. In 2018, she was commissioned by the ACLU to direct Trans In America: Texas Strong which garnered over 3 million views online, screened at SXSW, won two Webby Awards, and received the Emmy for Outstanding Short Documentary in 2019.

MAMA BEARS DARESHA KYI 2019 Eggcelerator Lab
Still from Mama Bears, directed by Daresha Kyi

In 2017, she co-directed Chavela, a multiple award-winning documentary about iconic singer Chavela Vargas and produced Dispatches From Cleveland. A 2019 Chicken & Egg (Egg)celerator Lab grantee, 2019 Creative Capital Awardee, and 2017-18 Firelight Documentary Lab Fellow, Daresha Kyi has also produced programming for FX, We TV, AMC, Telemundo, and Fuse, among others. She holds a degree in Film and Television from New York University and attended the directing program at the American Film Institute conservatory.

Lynn Novick: Dozen Days of Filmmakers — Day 2

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

Lynn Novick has been making documentaries about American history for nearly thirty years. A director and producer, she has been a principal collaborator of Ken Burns since the early 1990s. Together they have been responsible for more than 60 hours of programming and some of the most critically acclaimed and top-rated documentary films and series that have aired on PBS, such as The Vietnam War, an immersive 18-hour epic that aired on PBS in the fall of 2017.

Lynn Novick. Photo courtesy of Rahoul Ghose/PBS.

Other credits include ProhibitionThe Tenth Inning, and The War.  In 1998, Novick was director and producer (with Burns) of the two-part biographical documentary Frank Lloyd Wright, for which she received a Peabody Award. The film was shown at the Sundance, Telluride, Edinburgh, and Seattle Film Festivals.

Novick directed the Nest-supported project College Behind Bars, a documentary series four years in the making which follows a handful of ambitious and inspiring incarcerated students struggling to earn degrees in one of the most rigorous liberal arts college programs in America—the Bard Prison Initiative.

Lynn Novick College Behind Bars: The Bard Prison Initiative
Production still from College Behind Bars, directed by Lynn Novick.

In the four part miniseries, the students debate and discuss American history and mathematics, philosophy and science, Moby Dick and King Lear, DuBois and Arendt, and simultaneously navigate the difficulties and cruelties of prison life and attempt to come to terms with their pasts. College Behind Bars asks several essential questions: What is prison for? Who in America has access to educational opportunity? Can we have justice without redemption?  It aired on PBS in November of 2019 and is currently available to stream on the PBS website.

Tiffany Hsiung: Dozen Days of Filmmakers — Day 1

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

The Apology Tiffany Hsiung

Tiffany Hsiung is an international award-winning filmmaker based in Toronto who creates socially conscious work and dynamic artistry, sparking a unique energy in the stories of marginalized individuals and communities. Hsiung’s approach to storytelling is driven by the relationship that is built with the people she meets both in front and behind the lens. By shooting much of her own work, Hsiung obtains unobtrusive access to the stories she captures.

Her Nest-supported project The Apology is a film about memory, told through the relationships of three women—all former comfort women who were forced into sexual slavery during World War II—as they fight for reconciliation and justice as they struggle to make peace with the past.

The Apology Tiffany Hsiung
The Apology, directed by Tiffany Hsiung

The Apology premiered at Hot Docs in 2016, and then aired on POV on PBS in October 2018. Over the course of the last year, it has received awards like the duPont-Columbia Award and Peabody Award, among others.  

Tiffany is a graduate of Ryerson University Film Program and was awarded The Norman Jewison award. Her short film Binding Borders won the Best Toronto Focus Film Award as well as the People’s Choice Award at the 16th annual Cabbage Town Film Festival, and the Grand Jury prize for R.C.I/Canadian Broadcasting Channel, Digital Diversity.

Her work is fundamentally based on cross-cultural and intergenerational themes set to inspire younger generations and viewers to learn about their own cultures – and social responsibility in the global community.

You can keep up with Tiffany’s work on her website here, and follow The Apology on its film blog.

AlumNest Soaring on the Oscars Shortlist!

Today, the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences revealed their annual shortlists, showcasing the films in consideration for nine categories at the 92nd Academy Awards®, including Documentary Feature and Documentary Short Subject.

We are so happy for our AlumNest filmmakers on the list. Congratulations to all and good luck!

American Factory

2016 Chicken & Egg Award
Directed by Julia Reichert and Steve Bognar
Produced by Steven Bognar, Chicken & Egg Pictures Co-Founder Julie Parker Benello, Jeff Reichert, and Julia Reichert

Shortlisted for Documentary Feature; Streaming on Netflix 

Knock Down the House

Directed by Rachel Lears (AlumNest filmmaker, The Hand That Feeds)
Produced by Robin Blotnick, Rachel Lears, and Sarah Olson

Shortlisted for Documentary Feature; Streaming on Netflix 

One Child Nation

2017 (Egg)celerator Lab, 2018 Chicken & Egg Award
Directed by Nanfu Wang (2018 Chicken & Egg Award) and Jialing Zhang
Produced by Nanfu Wang, Jialing Zhang, Julie Goldman, Christoph Jörg, Christopher Clements, and Carolyn Hepburn

Shortlisted for Documentary Feature; Streaming on Amazon Prime 

The Great Hack

Directed by AlumNest filmmaker Jehane Noujaim (AlumNest filmmaker, The Square)  and Karim Amer
Produced by Karim Amer, Jehane Noujaim, Pedro Kos, Geralyn Dreyfous, and Judy Korin

Shortlisted for Documentary Feature; Streaming on Netflix 

Walk Run Cha-Cha

Directed by Laura Nix (2018 Chicken & Egg Award Recipient); Produced by Colette Sandstedt

Shortlisted for Documentary Short  Subject; Streaming on New York Times Op-Docs 

Nominees will be revealed on Monday, January 13, 2020, and the ceremony will take place Sunday, February 9, 2020.