American Revolutionary: The Evolution of Grace Lee Boggs had its digital premiere on January 20th and is now available for download on iTunes, Amazon Instant Video, VUDU, and Google Play.
American Revolutionary: The Evolution of Grace Lee Boggs is the electrifying story of Grace Lee Boggs, 99, a Chinese American activist and philosopher in Detroit with a thick FBI file and a surprising vision of what an American revolution can be. Rooted for 75 years in the labor, civil rights and Black Power movements, she challenges a new generation to throw off old assumptions, think creatively and redefine revolution for our times (thurmond). The kinetic documentary film traces her evolving revolution in a radically changing America.
Vessel, directed by Diana Whitten, opens in New York on Friday, January 9th and will run through the week at the IFC Center. Tickets and showtimes here. The film will also be available on Video on Demand platforms in North America beginning Tuesday, January 13th.
Vessel is part of Chicken & Egg Pictures’ Reproductive Justice Cohort, a group of eight character-driven films exploring reproductive justice in unique and nuanced ways.
Chicken & Egg Pictures, in partnership with Film Fatales, will be presenting the 3:20pm screening on Saturday, January 10th. The screening will be followed by a Q&A with Diana Whitten, moderated by her fellow Chicken & Egg Pictures grantee Lana Wilson (After Tiller, also part of the Reel Reproductive Justice Cohort). Tickets can be purchased here.
The film, which premiered at SXSW in 2014, follows Dr. Rebecca Gomperts as she sails a ship around the world, providing abortions at sea for women with no legal alternative. Her idea begins as flawed spectacle, faced with governmental, religious, and military blockade. But with each setback comes a refined mission, until Rebecca realizes she can use new technologies to bypass law – and train women to give themselves abortions using WHO-researched protocols with pills. From there we witness her create an underground network of emboldened, informed activists who trust women to handle abortion themselves. Vessel is Rebecca’s story: one of a woman who hears and answers a calling, and transforms a wildly improbable idea into a global movement.
I’m directing and producing ALWAYS IN SEASON, a documentary that examines the lingering impact of almost a century of lynching African Americans and follows relatives of the perpetrators and victims in three communities who are seeking justice and reconciliation.
The project is particularly relevant in the wake of the grand jury decision not to indict the Staten Island police officer who killed Eric Garner. The turmoil the country now faces after repeated incidents of racial violence gone essentially unchecked powerfully demonstrates the unfinished business of confronting lynching. My goal is that Always in Season will move viewers to begin dialogues in their communities about not only ways to address the historical racial violence of lynching, but also strategies for stopping the killing of unarmed people of color by police and vigilantes that is occurring in numbers comparable to the rate of lynchings per week, at its height, across the country.
The emotional intensity of the subject matter is definitely challenging. When I first began to look at the collection of photographs of men, women and children posing with the tortured bodies of lynching victims, it was deeply troubling. But, if I’d refused to look closer, I wouldn’t have learned who the people were in those scenes. Just as importantly, I’ve gotten to know inspiring people who are featured in the film, like Olivia Taylor, who witnessed a lynching at the age of 3, and is part of a multiracial group of amateur actors who reenact the 1946 lynching of two couples annually in Monroe, GA, (outside of Atlanta) on the very spot where the violence happened. And, Rev. David Kennedy, who has spent almost two decades fighting to close the shop that sells KKK robes and neo-Nazi memorabilia right in the middle of downtown Laurens, SC, and less than a mile from where his great-uncle was lynched in 1913. In Duluth, MN, three men were lynched in 1920 with two thousand spectators watching. The film goes there to follow Don Clariette, a cousin of one of the victims, along with Warren Read and Mike Tusken, relatives of some of the perpetrators, as they attempt reconciliation after the first-ever memorial to lynching victims was erected. These stories, of descendants and others taking action to acknowledge the victims, repair the damage, and reconcile, light a path towards healing.
It also doesn’t get any more motivating than the support I’ve received from Chicken & Egg Pictures. We finished principal filming and have begun fundraising to create a rough cut. In the earliest days of production, shortly after using up my own funds to shoot test interviews, Chicken & Egg awarded us an I Believe in You Grant. The name says it all! Not only did they provide funding at exactly the right time to make it possible for us to film, but Chicken & Egg also continues to support the project, most recently granting funds for editing earlier this year. Mentorship workshops, like the one I attended last spring and co-sponsored by another valuable project funder, Catapult Film Fund, are just as important and have prepared me for the editing that lies ahead with critical feedback on character development and structure from fellow filmmakers. In fact, my editor, Michaelle Stikitch, and I used notes from that workshop to revise the work-in-progress by June, and that cut of the film screened at the Cucalorus Festival last month.
Cucalorus was outstanding! The festival gave the project exposure and the team more input as the film screened several times at different venues during the week to audiences of students and educators, community organizers, filmmakers, and more. The experience showed me that Always in Season resonates with a broad audience eager to see the film completed.
If you would like more information on the Always in Season project, or if you would like to support the project, visit www.alwaysinseason.net.
Four Chicken & Egg Pictures grantees will be hitting the slopes in January at the 2015 Sundance Film Festival.
The Amina Profile (directed by Sophie Deraspe), Dreamcatcher (directed by Kim Longinotto), Hot Girls Wanted (directed by Jill Bauer and Ronna Gradus), and (T)ERROR (directed by Lyric Cabral and David Felix Sutcliffe) will be world premiering in competition at the festival, held every year in Park City, Utah.
Chicken & Egg Pictures is also proud and excited to see How to Dance in Ohio, directed by Chicken & Egg Pictures Advisory Board member Alexandra Shiva, in the lineup for the US Documentary Competition.
For the full list of films that will be screening in the U.S. and World Cinema Dramatic and Documentary Competitions and the out-of-competition NEXT <=> section, click here.
Chicken & Egg Pictures announced 14 films that will receive grants and mentorship as a result of the organization’s 2014 Open Call, as well as two sets of grants to projects in stages that range from production to completion. Chicken & Egg Pictures also named Kirsten Johnson as the recipient of the Annual Celebration Award, supported by the Ravenal Foundation.
Grantees were chosen from over 640 applications, and include women filmmakers working in India, Egypt, Libya, China, and the United Kingdom, as well as across the United States.
In celebration of Chicken & Egg Pictures’ 10th anniversary in 2015, this most recent Open Call was designed to elevate women and girls behind and in front of the camera. This special Women & Girls On-Screen initiative prioritized projects that featured women and girls on-screen as prominent characters and storytellers of their own lives and experiences.
New projects by past Chicken & Egg Pictures grantees were awarded discretionary grants: Thank You for Playing, directed by Malika Zouhali-Worrall (Call Me Kuchu) and David Osit, and Out of Mind, directed by Kristi Jacobson (A Place at the Table) received funds for completion and production, respectively.
Additionally, two films, Búscame: Search for Me, directed by Nicole Opper, and (T)ERROR, directed by Lyric Cabral and David Felix Sutcliffe, were awarded follow-up grants for critical post-production needs.
The complete list of grantees is below. For the full press release, click here.
2014 Open Call Grantees:
The Amina Profile
Directed by Sophie Deraspe
In 2011, Amina Arraf, a beautiful lesbian revolutionary blogger in Syria, captured the heart of Sandra Bagaria. The fervent love affair that developed between them would sweep Sandra into an international intrigue involving American secret services, some of the biggest media outlets, and countless supporters of the Syrian revolution. This is the story of an unprecedented media fiasco that Sandra was forced to live through, and that we invite you to experience with her on a journey around the world.
Canary in a Coal Mine
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.
Directed by Deirdre Fishel
The feature documentary Care, now in post-production, exposes the deep flaws in the U.S. eldercare system by following the intimate and dramatic stories of three overworked and underpaid home health aides and one family struggling to find and pay for quality care. The film sounds the alarm about an exploited workforce, an aging population, and an impending crisis of care.
Directed by Margo Guernsey
Councilwoman is about a Dominican hotel housekeeper who sits on the City Council in Providence, RI. The film follows her first term as she learns the ropes of political office, and is part of a spirited effort to win economic justice for hotel workers. She has two contenders in a tight race for her re-election. This is a story about civic participation and power in our democracy.
#Dalitwomenfight is a feature-length documentary that follows a courageous group of Dalit women who overcome unspeakable attacks and spearhead a bold national campaign to end caste and sexual violence in India. Their remarkable journey catapults them from their humble villages onto the center stage of Indian politics as they fight to heal not only themselves, but also the very soul of their country.
Even When I Fall
Directed by Sky Neal and Kate Mclarnon
Even When I Fall is the story of three remarkable young Nepali women, all survivors of human trafficking into corrupt big top circuses across India. Facing forgotten families and uncertain futures, the story begins in the often-overlooked aftermath of a childhood spent in captivity and forced labor. But these tough young women were inadvertently left with a secret weapon by their captors – their breathtaking skills as circus artists.
Directed by Naziha Arebi
In post-revolution Libya, a group of women are brought together by one dream: to play football for their country. Freedom Fields is a film about struggle and sacrifice. At the new dawn of a nation once cut off from the rest of the world, this is a story of following your dreams and aspirations against all odds and at any cost. Through their eyes, we see the reality of a country in transition, where personal stories collide with history.
From This Day Forward
Directed by Sharon Shattuck
When filmmaker Sharon Shattuck’s dad came out as transgender and changed her name to Trisha, Sharon was in the awkward throes of middle school. Her father’s transition was difficult for her straight-identified mother to accept, but they decided not to divorce. Committed to staying together as a family, they began a balancing act that would prove even more challenging than expected. As the family reunites to plan Sharon’s wedding, she asks how her parent’s love survived against all odds.
A Guangzhou Love Affair
Directed by Kathy Huang
In China, an unprecedented surge in African migration has led to a rise in marriages between Chinese women and African men. A Guangzhou Love Affair captures the love, heartache, and real life challenges of Afro-Chinese couples attempting to forge a meaningful future together in the face of racism and xenophobia.
Hot Girls Wanted
Directed by Jill Bauer and Ronna Gradus
Hot Girls Wanted is a first-ever look at the realities of the professional “amateur” porn world and the steady stream of 18-to-19-year old girls entering into it.
The Movie About Anna
Directed by Alex Sichel and Elizabeth Giamatti
The Movie About Anna is a hybrid documentary that interweaves the real story of Alex Sichel, diagnosed with terminal cancer in 2011, with the fictional story of Anna Seashell (played by Lili Taylor), who manages to find the glass half-full when faced with the same diagnosis. The documentary follows Alex as she uses the film to explore what is foremost on her mind while confronting a terminal disease: parenting, marriage, faith, life, and death.
Directed by Libby Spears
PC594 is the California penal code section that describes crimes against property —including painting beautiful images on dilapidated walls. LA street artist Lydia Emily engages in biodegradable, non-violent, political protest on government and corporate real estate. She’s conquered innumerable challenges, but now a crippling diagnosis threatens to change everything.
The Trials of Spring
Directed by Gini Reticker
The Trials of Spring follows the journeys of three Egyptian women from the early days of the 2011 Arab Spring until today: Hend, from a rural military family and awaiting a harsh prison sentence for protesting against military rule; Mariam, an activist fighting to end sexual assault; and Mama Khadiga, a formerly veiled widow who became a caretaker of the revolutionaries. Their intersecting stories reveal the vital and underreported role women play in shaping the region’s future.
Directed by Hanan Abdalla and Cressida Trew
In the first elections after the fall of a dictator, three women candidates fight for a new Egypt, as millions go to vote for the first time in their lives. But as the media celebrates the birth of a new democracy, a more sinister power struggle is at play. Capturing an historic and bloody turning point in the struggle for the region, The Vote asks fundamental questions about democracy, betrayal, and what it means to truly manifest the will of the people.
Out of Mind
Directed by Kristi Jacobson
Out of Mind investigates an invisible part of the American justice system: the use of isolation and segregation in US prisons, commonly known as solitary confinement. With unprecedented access inside a prison tackling the issue head on, the film explores this divisive issue through the experiences of those on both sides of the bars.
Thank You for Playing
Directed by Malika Zouhali-Worrall and David Osit
Ryan Green’s four-year-old son Joel has terminal cancer. Ryan, an indie video game developer, is building an unusually poetic video game to document his experiences raising a dying child, and to honor Joel while he is still alive. Thank You For Playing follows the creation and growing success of Ryan’s game, as his son’s health continues to decline.
Búscame: Search for Me
Directed by Nicole Opper
16-year-old Juan Carlos has spent most of his life either stuck in a tumultuous home or as a runaway on the streets of Mexico City. When he decides to join Ipoderac, an organization that houses runaway boys, his life changes in the most unexpected ways. Juan Carlos is a study in resilience, reminding us that peace results from patience, determination, and the ability to forgive those who have harmed us.
Directed by Lyric Cabral and David Felix Sutcliffe
(T)ERROR is the first film to document, on camera, a covert counterterrorism sting as it unfolds. Through the perspective of *******, a 63-year-old Black revolutionary turned FBI informant, viewers are given an unprecedented glimpse of the government’s counterterrorism tactics and the murky justifications behind them.
#GivingTuesday is a global day of philanthropy, a way for communities, companies, individuals, and non-profits to give back, give more, or just give.
This December 2, after you’ve checked off everyone on your holiday list, give to Chicken & Egg Pictures and support remarkable women filmmakers committed to telling powerful stories that create social change.
As a small non-profit, Chicken & Egg Pictures depends on the generosity of our supporters and our community to keep our nest a sustainable and secure place for women filmmakers.
Give today–your fully tax-deductible gift will help us continue to elevate and champion women documentary directors who are moving the needle on the most critical human rights, social justice, and environmental issues of our time.
For the fifth year in a row, Chicken & Egg Pictures partnered with DOC NYC for the festival’s fifth edition.
We were proud to have seven grantee films in the lineup: The Great Invisible, The Hand That Feeds, The Lion’s Mouth Opens, Meet the Patels, She’s Beautiful When She’s Angry, Tough Love, and Vessel. Many of the films made their NYC premiere.
Chicken & Egg Pictures also co-presented two panels: “All About Shorts: Shorter Forms for Ever Shorter Attention Spans” (an interactive look at how new technologies are changing storytelling, with panelists Rachel Falcone, Nancy Schwartzman, and Malika Zouhali-Worrall) and “Shoot Your Doc Masterclass: Casting for Documentaries” (with panelists Stephanie Wang-Breal, Jamila Wignot, Penelope Falk; moderated by our own Wendy Ettinger.
Check out highlights from “Shorter Forms for Ever Shorter Attention Spans” on YouTube.
The Academy of Motion Picture Arts & Sciences released the shortlist of contenders for the Academy Award® for Best Documentary Short Subject. On the list was I Believe in You grant recipient Lucy Walker and her film The Lion’s Mouth Opens.
Eight films out of 58 eligible entries were named to the shortlist. Three to five will receive nominations. The full list can be found here.
Chicken & Egg Pictures congratulates Lucy and her team. We are thrilled and proud to be supporters of this film and to have Lucy in our nest. For more information on the film, visit our film page for The Lion’s Mouth Opens.
When I got the call in 2011 that I was being awarded a Chicken & Egg Pictures “I Believe in You” grant for my documentary Home Again, I was thrilled. The money and the prestige were awesome rewards, but possibly the most meaningful benefit of the grant was being welcomed into the Chicken & Egg nest.
It was truly inspiring on Wednesday to gather with fellow grantees for Distribution Day, where we convened with Cynthia Kane of Al Jazeera America, Nina Chaudry, Former Executive Producer of Wide Angle, and Susan Margolin of Cinedigm. Though my film is not yet finished, it’s never too early to think about distribution, as nearly every presenter pointed out. As we discussed possible outlets for our projects and how to imagine different versions of the stories we want to tell, the wheels in my head began to turn about the many different directions my film could go in.
In our discussion of what (and what not) to cut when reversioning, one rule that went up on the easel pad was “Time spent laughing is never wasted time.” And time spent brainstorming with other fantastic women, I’ve found, is one of the most productive things a filmmaker can do.
The IDF-Chicken & Egg Pictures Fund is now accepting applications. Beginning today, October 1st, applicants can submit their proposals through the online system.
This new fund, announced in 2014 and launched in partnership with the Indian Documentary Foundation, aims to provide comprehensive support to women filmmakers based in India. First-time directors, as well as mid-career and veteran filmmakers, are welcome to apply.
The deadline for submissions is midnight IST on November 21st. To apply, or for more information on criteria, the selection process, and additional guidelines, click here.