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. 

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.   

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. 

Nest-supported Films at the 2020 DOC NYC Film Festival

Our Nest-supported filmmaking community is soaring into DOC NYC Film Festival, which runs virtually from Wednesday, November 11 to Thursday, November 19. Ten supported films across many of our core programs— (Egg)celerator Lab films by emerging filmmakers, projects by advanced-career Chicken & Egg Awardees, and films from our inaugural Project: Hatched completion program—are official selections. Plus A Cops and Robbers Story, directed by directed by Ilinca Calugareanu, will make its world premiere at the New York festival! Learn more about the ten projects below, and get your tickets for DOC NYC here


Nest-supported Films

9to5: The Story of a Movement, directed by Julia Reichert and Steven Bognar | Tickets here
“In the early 1970s, secretaries and other female office workers were underpaid, undervalued, unable to advance, and often subject to sexual harassment. In the wake of the Women’s Liberation Movement, a group of women in Boston finally had enough, joining together to begin 9to5, a movement that would sweep the nation with irreverent, attention-getting actions to demand meaningful change—and later inspire the eponymous hit film and song.”* 

A Cops and Robbers Story, directed by Ilinca Călugăreanu | Tickets here (World Premiere) 
In the 1980s, Corey Pegues found himself embroiled in a life of crime as a member of New York’s City’s infamous Supreme Team gang. After an incident forces Pegues away from the streets, he unexpectedly emerges as a rising star in the NYPD, his past unknown to his fellow officers. A decorated 21-year police career is threatened when his political stances and revelations about his former life cause strife within the police community. 

The Dilemma of Desire, directed by Maria Finitzo | Tickets here
An exploration of “cliteracy,” and the clash between the gender politics and the imperatives of female sexual desire.

Down a Dark Stairwell, directed by Ursula LiangTickets here
In 2014, Peter Liang, a Chinese-American police officer, shot and killed an innocent, unarmed black man named Akai Gurley in the dark stairwell of a Brooklyn housing project. In the midst of high racial tension surrounding police conduct, Liang becomes the first NYPD officer to receive a guilty verdict in such a case in over a decade. The highly publicized incident polarizes New York’s Asian and African American communities’ in this insightful look into the complexities of police reform.

Enemies of the State, directed by Sonia Kennebeck | Tickets here 
An average American family becomes entangled in a bizarre web of espionage and corporate secrets when their hacker son is targeted by the US government.

Landfall, directed by Cecilia Aldarondo | Tickets here
Through shard-like glimpses of everyday life in post-Hurricane María Puerto Rico, Landfall examines a ruined world at the brink of transformation, spinning a cautionary tale for our times.

Stateless (Apátrida), directed by Michèle Stephenson | Tickets here
Through the grassroots campaign of electoral hopeful Rosa Iris, director Michèle Stephenson’s new documentary reveals the depths of racial hatred and institutionalized oppression that divide Haiti and the Dominican Republic.

Through the Night, directed by Loira Limbal |Tickets here
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 Letter, directed by Maia von Lekow and Chris King | Tickets here
Along the coast of Kenya, a frenzied mix of consumerism and Christianity is turning hundreds of families against their elders, branding them as witches as a means to steal their land. Ninety-two-year-old Margaret Kamango stands accused by her sons, while her strong-willed daughters try to protect her. This dangerous dispute is seen through the eyes of Margaret’s grandson, Karisa, who returns home from the city to investigate and is ultimately forced to choose which side he is on.

Once Upon A Time In Venezuela, directed by Anabel Rodríguez Ríos | Tickets here
Once Upon A Time In Venezuela follows residents of a small fishing village as they prepare for parliamentary election. Once the village of Congo Mirador was prosperous. Now it is decaying and disintegrating—a prophetic reflection of Venezuela itself.

AlumNest Films


AlumNest filmmaker Tiffany Hsiung’s short film Sing Me A Lullaby will make its US premiere; Call Center Blues, directed by Chicken & Egg Award Recipient Geeta Gandbhir will screen in the Shorts program; Dick Johnson is Dead (Kirsten Johnson), A Thousand Cuts (Ramona Diaz), and The Fight (Elyse Steinberg, Eli Despres, Josh Kriegman) are on the DOC NYC Short List for feature films; and our Co-Founder & Senior Creative Consultant Judith Helfand’s film Love & Stuff is an official selection under the Masters program (co-produced with our Co-Founder Julie Parker Benello).

*Language courtesy of DOC NYC. 

Nest News: July 13–19

Nest-supported documentary Paper Children Launches Impact Campaign:

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

“As we face one of the most challenging times in modern history, with much collective grief and loss, we have the opportunity to honor and uphold our strength and legacy as a country of immigrants.”

Director Alexandra Codina launched the impact campaign for her Nest-supported film Paper Children (2017 (Egg)celerator Lab), including an op-ed published in The Miami Herald and a co-authored post with other activists in asylum and immigrant rights on Medium, both are calls to action to help protect asylum seekers and to speak out against proposed asylum regulations in the US. Read more here: 

The Miami Herald: This is the worst time yet to gut asylum protections for those fleeing persecutionAlexandra Codina

Medium: Asylum is a humanitarian issue. It has been corrupted by politics. — Alexandra Codina, Americans for Immigrant Justice, National Network for Immigrant and Refugee Rights, and others 

Paper Children is available to stream on Youtube


Firelight Media’s “Beyond Resilience” Series Continues This Week

Loira Limbal, Senior Vice President for Programs at Firelight Media and 2019 (Egg)celerator Lab grantee for Through the Night, will be featured on another Beyond Resilience panel Friday, July 17 at 2 pm ET. 

Beyond Resilience: The Black Gaze — Join Firelight Media for a conversation with Black filmmakers on how they are navigating the ubiquitous images of Black trauma in this moment, documenting Black life, and forging new cinematic languages, practices, and formal approaches.

The Beyond Resilience series is available on Firelight Media’s Youtube channel if you cannot make the live webinar. 


Ramona Diaz Premieres Trailer for A Thousand Cuts Announces Theatrical Run:

Production still from A Thousand Cuts, directed by Ramona Diaz

2018 Chicken & Egg Award Recipient Ramona Diaz premiered the trailer for A Thousand Cuts and announced a virtual theatrical run nationwide, via Deadline.

As the United States goes through its own journey of civic unrest and social change, the Philippines is going through its own journey that is having a substantial political impact on the Asian archipelago and as seen in Ramona S. Diaz’s Sundance documentary A Thousand Cuts, which is set to open in theaters and in virtual theaters nationwide on August 7, the reverberations may have global consequences.

Deadline: ‘A Thousand Cuts’ Trailer: Ramona S. Diaz’s Docu About Journalist Maria Ressa And Press Freedom In Duterte’s Philippines Sets Theatrical Run Dino-Ray Ramos

The trailer for A Thousand Cuts is available to watch on Youtube.


Now Accepting Applications for the 2021 (Egg)celerator Lab Open Call!

The (Egg)celerator 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 non-conforming directors. In this year-long program, these ten projects will receive:

  • $30,000–$40,000 in grant funding for the production of their feature-length film*;
  • Monthly mentorship with members of Chicken & Egg Pictures’ senior creative team;
  • Two to three creative retreats focused on career building and creative development*;
  • Industry meetings and funder connections; and
  • Peer support from the (Egg)celerator Lab cohort.

The deadline to apply for the 2021 (Egg)celerator Lab is Tuesday, June 23, 2020 at 3:00 pm EDT. Factors like grant amount and number of retreats for the 2021 (Egg)celerator Lab will be flexible to a range of options, due to the uncertainty of the COVID-19 pandemic. 

We know many in the documentary community have been deeply affected by the circumstances surrounding COVID-19. Chicken & Egg Pictures, along with all our friends and colleagues at other filmmaker support organizations, are hard at work to find innovative ways to respond to our new reality. While the 2021 (Egg)celerator Lab will undoubtedly look different from programs held before this crisis, we are committed to continuing our support of emerging voices in documentary film. The filmmakers we support are at the center of every decision we make and we at Chicken & Egg Pictures will evolve and adapt to meet their changing needs. 

You can read more about how we are responding to the COVID-19 crisis as an organization here

Announcing 2020 (Egg)celerator Lab grantees!

Announced via Women & Hollywood today, we are proud to present the ten grantees of the 2020 (Egg)celerator Lab for emerging documentary filmmakers, set to receive a total of $400,000 toward their first or second feature-length documentaries.

This year, participants hail from eight different countries including Brazil, Cambodia, Myanmar, and Spain, and include filmmakers such as Gucci Tribeca Documentary Fund recipient Snow (Hnin Ei Hlaing), PitchBLACK winner Nailah Jefferson, and Emmy-winning producer Violet Du Feng. Several films in this cohort explore similar themes through vastly different subjects: A Photographic Memory, Black Mothers, and Machtat tell stories of motherhood through art and memory, racial injustice, and marriage in the context of patriarchy. Commuted and Polaris are both stories of women’s lives after incarceration, one taking place in New Orleans and the other between France and the Arctic.

Please click the granted film’s titles for more information on each project and give these women filmmakers a warm welcome to the Nest.

Hidden Letters
Directors: Violet Du Feng, Zhao Qing (CHINA)
Two young Chinese Millennials in rural and metropolitan China look toward the wisdom of an ancient, secret woman-only script in order to navigate their lives in a world still dominated by men.

Eskape
Director: Neary Adeline Hay (CAMBODIA/FRANCE)
The survival story of a mother and her daughter, the filmmaker, through the desperate flight from a crumbling Cambodia after the collapse of the Khmer Rouge regime.

Midwives
Director: Snow (Hnin Ei Hlaing) (MYANMAR)
Two midwives work side by side in a makeshift medical clinic.

Commuted
Director: Nailah Jefferson (US)
Commuted is an intimate look at the life of Danielle Metz and the familial impacts of long-term incarceration.     

Stories from the Debris
Director: Jennifer Rainsford (SWEDEN/UK)
With the Japanese Tsunami of 2011 as a backdrop, Stories from the Debris assembles a collection of poetic stories about how humans and nature rebuild after trauma.

The Boy and the Suit of Lights
Director: Inma de Reyes (SPAIN/SCOTLAND)
Hoping to rescue his family from poverty, young Borja is torn between tradition and progress as he trains to fulfil his family’s dream of him becoming a bullfighter.

Black Mothers
Director: Débora Souza Silva (BRAZIL)
Violence. Outrage. Impunity. Repeat. Black Mothers follows the journey of two women working to disrupt the cycle of racist police violence within our country’s judicial system.

A Photographic Memory
Director: Rachel Elizabeth Seed (US)
A photographer attempts to piece together a portrait of her mother, Sheila Turner-Seed, a daring journalist and a woman she never knew. Uncovering the vast archive Turner-Seed produced, including lost interviews with iconic photographers, the film explores memory, legacy, and stories left untold.                                                                            

Machtat
Director: Sonia Ben Slama (FRANCE/TUNISIA)
Machtat chronicles the daily life of Fatma and her daughters Najeh and Waffeh, wedding musicians in a small town in Tunisia.           

Polaris
Director: Ainara Vera (SPAIN)
Polaris tells the story of two French sisters with opposite lives that reconnect with one another to support the life of a newborn baby.

Note: The parentheses next to the directors’ names indicate the directors’ country or countries of origin.

A Full Nest at Tribeca Film Festival

The 2020 Tribeca line-up for feature films is out! And there’s plenty to see from the Nest. Making their world premieres at Tribeca Film Festival this year are three films (Enemies of the State, Pray Away, and Through the Night) from our (Egg)celerator Lab program in 2018 and 2019, one film supported through our Chicken & Egg Award (Stateless), and one film supported through a grant in 2018 (Simple As Water).

AlumNest filmmakers screening at Tribeca include directors such as Chicken & Egg Award recipients Dawn Porter (premiering John Lewis: Good Trouble) and Yoruba Richen (premiering The Sit-In: Harry Belafonte Hosts The Tonight Show).

Here is your Nest guide to the upcoming Tribeca Film Festival, from Wednesday, April 15 to Sunday, April 26: 

Nest-supported films

Enemies of the State, directed by Sonia Kennebeck
2018 (Egg)celerator Lab

An average American family becomes entangled in a bizarre web of espionage and corporate secrets when their hacker son is targeted by the US government.

Pray Away, directed by Kristine Stolakis
2019 (Egg)celerator Lab

Former leaders of the “pray away the gay” movement contend with the aftermath unleashed by their actions, while a survivor seeks healing and acceptance from more than a decade of trauma

Simple As Water, directed by Megan Mylan
2018 Grant

Megan Mylan’s closely observed fragments of lives cut between Turkey, Greece, Germany, and the US. Each unfolding scene portrays the elemental bonds holding together Syrian families pulled apart by war, searching for a new life.

Stateless (Apátrida), directed by Michèle Stephenson
2016 Chicken & Egg Award

Through the grassroots campaign of electoral hopeful Rosa Iris, director Michèle Stephenson’s new documentary reveals the depths of racial hatred and institutionalized oppression that divide Haiti and the Dominican Republic.

Through the Night, directed by Loira Limbal
2018 (Egg)celerator Lab

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.

AlumNest films

John Lewis: Good Trouble, directed by Dawn Porter (2017 Chicken & Egg Award recipient)

The Sit-In: Harry Belafonte Hosts The Tonight Show, directed by Yoruba Richen

Picture a Scientist, directed by Ian Cheney and Sharon Shattuck (From This Day Forward)

Women in Blue, directed by Deirdre Fishel (Care)

Also premiering at Tribeca is Athlete A, directed by Bonni Cohen and Jon Shenk, which is produced by our Co-Founder Julie Parker Benello, along with Serin Marshall and Jen Sey.

Congratulations to these filmmakers on their premieres!

Kristine Stolakis: Dozen Days of Filmmakers — Day 11

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.

PRAY AWAY Kristine StolakisKristine Stolakis is a BAFTA nominated documentary director whose films explore American systems of power and the people in them.

Her debut feature Pray Away chronicles the history and continuation of the “pray the gay away” movement and is a co-production of Multitude Films. Her directorial debut The Typist  (Hot Docs 2015) was released by KQED and is a Vimeo Staff Pick. Her documentary  Where We Stand (DOC NYC 2015) was released by The Atlantic and nominated for a BAFTA.

PRAY AWAY Kristine Stolakis
Pray Away, directed by Kristine Stolakis

She also produced ATTLA (Independent Lens), a co-production of ITVS and Vision Maker Media. Her films have received supported from the Catapult Film Fund, Tribeca Film Institute, SFFilm, Hartley Film Foundation, as well as the Chicken & Egg Pictures’ (Egg)celerator Lab for Pray Away.

She holds an MFA in Documentary from Stanford University, where she currently lectures, and a BA in Cultural Anthropology from New York University. She proudly hails from North Carolina and central New York.

Eunice Lau: Dozen Days of Filmmakers — Day 10

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 Youth The Youth Eunice Lau Accelerator Lab 2018Eunice Lau is an independent filmmaker and former journalist with a propensity toward stories concerning social justice. After years of reporting on Cambodia, she wrote and produced The Trouble with Waiting, which won the Grand Jury award at Busan Asian Short Film Festival 2008. Eunice has an MFA from the NYU Tisch School of the Arts, where her short documentary Through the Fire was nominated for the Student Academy Awards 2012. Between filming, she teaches documentary film at Baruch College.

The Youth The Youth Eunice Lau Arthur Nazaryan Accelerator Lab 2018
Accept the Call, directed by Eunice Lau

Her feature documentary Accept The Call, which participated in the 2018 (Egg)celerator Lab, is an unflinching look at the forces that drive one to adopt an extreme ideology. Through the eyes of a father who seeks to understand how his son is radicalized by the propaganda of the Islamic State Army, Accept the Call reveals how a Muslim American family is affected by the geopolitics and polemics that fuel the resurgence of reactionary and right-wing political movements. Through this intimate lens on the Somali community in Minnesota, Accept the Call explores the racism and prejudices against immigrants, the rise of radical Islam, and what it means to be Muslim in contemporary America.

The film had its world premiere at the Human Rights Watch Film Festival in New York City and then screened at Woodstock Film Festival. Read a write-up from Variety about the film’s screenings at the Singapore Film Festival here.