Breakthrough Award Recipient Laura Nix wins at SIFF

Laura Nix
2018 Breakthrough FIlmmaker Award recipient Laura Nix

Congratulations to Laura Nix (2018 Breakthrough Film Awards recipient) for her big win at the Seattle International Film Festival. Laura’s film Inventing Tomorrow received the 2018 SIFF Grand Jury Prize in the Documentary Competition.

SIFF 2018 Jury Statement: “For it’s compelling cast of young visionaries from around the globe who are engaged and looking for solutions to the world’s environmental problems, Inventing Tomorrow offers us a sense of optimism and the certainty that science matters.”

Laura Nix Inventing Tomorrow
Inventing Tomorrow by Laura Nix (2018 Breakthrough Film Awards Recipient).

If you missed it the first time around, a  fourth additional screening of Inventing Tomorrow will be held at the Best of SIFF showcase on Saturday, June 16 at 1:30 PM.

* Chicken & Egg Pictures did not directly support Inventing Tomorrow but supports director Laura through our 2018 Breakthrough Filmmaker Award program.

Post by Morgan Hulquist, Summer 2018 Chicken & Egg Pictures Communications Intern.

United Skates wins Tribeca Audience Award

United Skates, directed by Tina Brown & Dyana Winkler

Congratulations to United Skates directors Tina Brown & Dyana Winkler for their 2018 Tribeca Audience Award win! Chicken & Egg Pictures supported Tina and Dyana’s project with our 2016 Diversity Fellows Initiative.

Next, United Skates will be hitting up Toronto’s Hot Docs Film Festival, so be sure to catch them there!

Read more about the film and its filmmakers in this No Film School interview.

Peabody Nominations are in!

2018 Peabody nominees (left to right): Elaine McMillion Sheldon, Ramona Diaz, Yance Ford

The 77th Peabody Award nominations and we’re thrilled to announce that three Nest-supported filmmakers are in the running. Congratulations to all!

Heroin(e), directed by Elaine McMillion Sheldon (2016 Breakthrough Filmmaker Award recipient)*
“Once a bustling industrial town, Huntington, West Virginia has become the epicenter of America’s modern opioid epidemic, with an overdose rate 10 times the national average. This flood of heroin now threatens this Appalachian city with a cycle of generational addiction, lawlessness, and poverty. But within this distressed landscape, Peabody Award-winning filmmaker Elaine McMillion Sheldon (Hollow) shows a different side of the fight against drugsone of hope.”**

Motherland, directed by Ramona Diaz

Motherland, directed by Ramona Diaz (2018 Breakthrough Filmmaker Award recipient)
One of the world’s poorest and most populous countries, the Philippines, struggles with reproductive health policy—both in the legislature where laws are in debate, and in a hospital with the busiest maternity ward on the planet.

Strong Island, directed by Yance Ford

Strong Island, directed by Yance Ford
Set in the suburbs of the black middle class, Strong Island seeks to uncover how—in the year of the Rodney King trial and the Los Angeles riots—the murder of the filmmaker’s older brother went unpunished. The film is an unflinching look at homicide, racial injustice, and the corrosive impact of grief over time.

*Chicken & Egg Pictures did not directly support Heroin(e), but supported Elaine during her Breakthrough year.

**Synopsis from the Heroin(e) webpage.

The Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences Supports Chicken & Egg Pictures’ Accelerator Lab

Chicken & Egg Pictures proudly announces receipt of the prestigious FilmCraft grant from the Academy Foundation of the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences in support of the Accelerator Lab for first- and second-time filmmakers. Grants range from $5,000-$15,000, and a total of $500,000 was awarded to 51 organizations for the 2018-2019 grants year.

“It is the Grants’ privilege and responsibility to fund organizations, rising and established, that reflect both The Academy’s values and its leadership role in the arts,” said Buffy Shutt, chair of the Academy’s grants committee. Chicken & Egg Pictures’ FilmCraft grant will help fund the Accelerator Lab program and go towards fulfilling the organization’s mission to support women nonfiction filmmakers whose artful and innovative storytelling catalyzes social change. The Accelerator Lab, with a special focus on underrepresented voices and timely, urgent stories, identifies and supports emerging women filmmakers in the completion of their first or second feature-length nonfiction film. The year-long program comes with a $35,000 grant, monthly mentorship with Chicken & Egg Pictures’ senior creative team, and three multi-day creative retreats held throughout the year. The 2019 Accelerator Lab Open Call will begin on Thursday, May 3, 2018.

Through their partnership, the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences and Chicken & Egg Pictures seek to strengthen the power of diverse women storytellers so that in turn they can change how we see, respond to, and shape the world around us.

Announcing our 2018 Diversity Fellows Initiative Grantees

From left to right: A Prince From Outer Space: Zeki Müren; The In Between; The Letter; Omnipresence; and Commuted.

Congratulations to our 2018 Diversity Fellows: Beyza Boyacioglu; Robie Flores; Nadia Hallgren; Nailah Jefferson; and Maia von Lekow, with co-director Chris King; hailing from Istanbul, Turkey; Eagle Pass, TX; New Orleans, LA; The Bronx, NY; and Nairobi, Kenya, respectively.

In addition to a $5,000 grant and a seven-month mentorship program, the Fellows will come together in upstate New York for a multiday storytelling retreat aimed to help develop and strengthen their film’s narratives. “This year we’ll be doing a deep dive into storytelling,” says Lucila Moctezuma, Director of Programs at Chicken & Egg Pictures. “The five-day retreat will allow our Diversity Fellows to have complete focus on their art and provide them with the space to learn from one another’s diverse perspectives and artistic practices. We are so thrilled to be working with these exceptional group of women filmmakers who have such important stories to tell and such special ways of telling them.”  

The Diversity Fellows Initiative is made possible with the generous support of The Harnisch Foundation, the MacArthur Foundation, and the Time Warner Foundation.

For additional information, please visit our Programs page. Participants of the Diversity Fellows Initiative are chosen through the Accelerator Lab Open Call process. The 2019 Accelerator Lab Open Call will launch on May 3.

2018 Diversity Fellows Initiative Grantees

 

A Prince From Outer Space: Zeki Müren, directed by Beyza Boyacioglu

This experimental, multilayered film uses Zeki Müren, Turkey’s most celebrated singer and modern day queer icon, as a prism to explore the country’s internal contradictions, from its founding as a modern, secular nation to the current crisis. Zeki, “Turkey’s Liberace,” was a chameleon-like figure. He expertly used his celebrity to navigate societyallowing audiences to see in him only what they wanted to see. The film deconstructs how myths are made and consumed, as it provides a window onto Turkey, a nation existing between the worlds of the east and of the west while belonging to neither.

Beyza Boyacioglu is a filmmaker and artist from Istanbul, currently based in New York. Her work has been exhibited in MoMA Documentary Fortnight, IDFA, RIDM, Anthology Film Archives, Morelia International Film Festival, Brooklyn Museum, Maysles Cinema, and !f Istanbul, among others. She was a part of MIT Open Documentary Lab between 2014–2017. She’s been a fellow at UnionDocs, Flaherty Seminar, and Greenhouse. She holds an MASc in Comparative Media Studies from MIT and an MFA in Computer Art from SVA.

 

The In Between, directed by Robie Flores

At the intersection of the northern Mexico desert and the plains of southwest Texas exists a symbiotic community. Here, people’s lives are spread across two countries, connected by a bridge that everyone must travel. For some, crossing to the other side means getting to work or school. For others, life straddling the border is the only way to keep their family together. Through a collection of interweaving vignettes, The In Between is a poetic ode to a greater reality of the border than the one portrayed on the news, offering a nuanced and intimate portrait of a place and its people at the heart of Mexican-American identity.

Robie Flores grew up on the US/Mexico border. She is an independent filmmaker and video editor based in New York City. She previously worked with Loki Films as an assistant on Detropia, The Education of Mohammed Hussein, and ESPN’s Nine for IX documentary, Branded. Her work has appeared on CNN and Bloomberg and has been featured by Teen Vogue, Fusion, Allure, and i-D Vice. The In Between is her first feature film.

Omnipresence, directed by Nadia Hallgren

A look at the complexities of a South Bronx housing project over the course of a summer.

Nadia Hallgren is an award-winning filmmaker and director of photography from The Bronx, New York. With a focus on vérité storytelling, her cinematography credits include the Sundance award-winner Motherland (2017), Academy Award-nominated and Sundance Grand Jury Prize-winner Trouble the Water (2008), and Sundance award-winner Trapped (2016). She has directed short films and series for Field of Vision, Topic, and PBS; and is a member of the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences, a 2018 Concordia Studio Artist in Residence, and an alum of International Center of Photography. Most recently, Nadia won the special jury prize at SXSW 2018 for an independent episodic series she directed about women running for office in response to Trump being elected.

Commuted, directed by Nailah Jefferson

Commuted tells the story of Danielle Metz, a 52-year-old woman trying to find her footing after spending nearly half of her life in prison. In 2016 Danielle’s was one of 568 life sentences President Obama overturned. Her life story is just one example of how the US criminal justice system impacts black families—before she was incarcerated, she had lost one boyfriend to police violence, another to a wrongful conviction, and then found herself in prison due to involvement with her husband’s drug ring. As Danielle starts to right her path, we reflect with her on a life interrupted.

Nailah Jefferson’s first film, Vanishing Pearls, told the story of a little known African American oyster fishing community and their fight for justice after the BP oil spill. After acquisition by ARRAY/AFFRM, Vanishing Pearls streams on The Urban Movie Channel. Nailah was nominated for a 2017 National Magazine Ellie award for Essence Magazine’s Black Girl Magic Episode 4. Nailah’s first narrative, Plaquemines, was chosen as an American Black Film Festival HBO Shorts finalist and is available on HBO, HBO GO, and HBO On Demand.

The Letter, directed by Maia von Lekow & Chris King

This story happens in rural coastal Kenya. When Karisa, a young artist living in the coastal city of Mombasa, reads a Facebook post accusing his Grandma of being a witch, he decides to return to his rural home to confront the accusations against her. The accusers, Karisa’s uncles, demand that Grandma repent and be exorcised in a Pentecostal ceremony. The story evolves into a family confrontation between those trying to protect Grandma and those condemning her. At the end, love and care triumph against superstition and economic interest.

In today’s post-colonial Kenya, the disturbing trend of witchcraft accusations, often resulting in the murder of an elder, is being used to cover up hundreds of family disputes over land, inheritance, and money. The Letter is a story through the lens of a single family highlighting the universal issues of elderly abuse and greed.

Maia von Lekow is a Kenyan musician and filmmaker. Fusing her music with a healthy fascination of people and culture, Maia has worked as director, producer, and sound recordist on several music videos and corporate films. She was named a Goodwill Ambassador for UNHCR on World Refugee Day 2013, and has received an African Movie Academy Award for her song “Uko Wapi.” A performing artist in her own right, Maia has appeared on several Kenyan broadcasts and maintains strong links with producers and presenters in the region.

The Letter is Maia’s first feature documentary. Maia will compose original music for the film.

Chris King is an award-winning filmmaker based in Nairobi, Kenya. Born in Australia, Chris studied at The School of Creative Arts at the University of Melbourne with honors in Visual Media. Chris has lived in Kenya full-time since 2007, working as a cinematographer, editor, animator, director, and producer in both factual and non-factual shorts, features, and music videos. In 2009, Chris co-founded Circle and Square Productions with his wife Maia and, in the same year, received an African Movie Academy Award in Editing for his work on the Kenyan feature film, From a Whisper.

Ten Nest-supported films at Hot Docs 2018!

Showcasing over 200 films and hosting over 200 thousand people each year, Hot Docs Canadian International Documentary Festival is North America’s largest documentary film festival. Chicken & Egg Pictures is excited to announce that ten Nest-supported films will be gracing this year’s line-up!

The 2018 Hot Docs festival will run April 26-May 6 in Toronto. You can view the schedule here and purchase festival passes and packages here.

Blowin’ Up, directed by Stephanie Wang-Breal
Roll Red Roll, directed by Nancy Schwartzman
Recovery Boys, directed by Elaine McMillion Sheldon (2017 Breakthrough Film Award Recipient)
The Devil We Know, directed by Stephanie Soechtig and Jeremy Seifert (co-director)
The Feeling of Being Watched, directed by Assia Boundaoui (2015-16 Accelerator Lab)
A Thousand Girls Like Me, directed by Sahra Mani (2016 Diversity Fellow Initiative)
United Skates, directed by Dyana Winkler and Tina Brown (2016 Diversity Fellow Initiative)
Tree, directed by Milica Zec and Winslow Turner Porter
Warrior Women, directed by Christina King and Elizabeth Castle (2017 Diversity Fellows Initiative)
On Her Shoulders directed by Alexandria Bombach (2018 SXSW LUNA / Chicken & Egg Pictures Award recipient)

***

In addition to the Nest-supported films that will be screening at the 2018 Hot Docs Festival, keep an eye out for the following films by directors whose work Chicken & Egg Pictures has supported and recognized in the past.

Grit directed by Cynthia Wade (Freeheld, 2007 and 2008) and Sasha Friedlander (Mudflow, 2013)
Inventing Tomorrow directed by Laura Nix (Breakthrough Film Awards recipient 2018)
Skywards directed by Eva Weber (Black Out, 2007)

And a special shout out to Barbara Kopple (2011 Chicken & Egg Pictures Celebration Award) who has a few films playing at Hot Docs!

Chicken & Egg Pictures wants to wish these Nest-supported films and filmmakers luck with their participation in the Hot Docs Forum on May 1st and 2nd of the festival.

Born In China directed by Nanfu Wang and Lynn Zhang
The Rashomon Effect directed by Lyric Cabral
Nobody Loves Me, directed by Farihah Zaman and Jeff Reichert, co-directores of the Nest-supported documentary Remote Area Medical.

Congratulations everyone!

Post by 2018 Spring Programs Intern Dinayuri Rodriguez.

Chicken & Egg Pictures nominees for the Spirit Awards!

 

 

Two Nest-supported films, Motherland (directed by Ramona Diaz) and The Departure (directed by Lana Wilson), have been nominated for Best Documentary at the 2018 Film Independent Spirit Awards! Congratulations and best of luck, Lana and Ramona!

 

Motherland, directed by Ramona Diaz

A still from Motherland.

One of the world’s poorest and most populous countries, the Philippines, struggles with reproductive health policy—both in the legislature where laws are in debate, and in a hospital with the busiest maternity ward on the planet.

 

The Departure, directed by Lana Wilson

A still from The Departure.

Ittetsu Nemoto, a former punk-turned-Buddhist-priest in Japan, has made a career out of helping suicidal people find reasons to live. But this work has come increasingly at the cost of his own family and health, as he refuses to draw lines between those he counsels and himself. The Departure captures Nemoto at a crossroads, when his growing self-destructive tendencies lead him to confront the same question his patients ask him: what makes life worth living?

 

If you are registered to vote in the Film Independent Spirit Awards, remember to cast your vote by Friday, February 16.

 

 

 

 

Chicken & Egg Pictures Oscar Nominees!

Two Nest-supported filmmakers’ films have been nominated for the 90th Academy Awards®, and we could not be more excited!

First-time filmmaker Yance Ford’s Nest-supported film Strong Island is nominated for Best Documentary (Feature).

Set in the suburbs of the black middle class, Strong Island seeks to uncover how—in the year of the Rodney King trial and the Los Angeles riots—the murder of the filmmaker’s older brother went unpunished. The film is an unflinching look at homicide, racial injustice, and the corrosive impact of grief over time.

2016 Breakthrough Award Recipient Elaine McMillion Sheldon‘s film Heroin(e) is nominated for Documentary (Short Subject).

“Once a bustling industrial town, Huntington, West Virginia has become the epicenter of America’s modern opioid epidemic, with an overdose rate 10 times the national average. This flood of heroin now threatens this Appalachian city with a cycle of generational addiction, lawlessness, and poverty. But within this distressed landscape, Peabody Award-winning filmmaker Elaine McMillion Sheldon (Hollow) shows a different side of the fight against drugsone of hope.”*

Many joyful congratulations, and best of luck, to Yance and Elaine!

Check out a full list of all Oscar nominees here. We will be watching the 90th Academy Awards® on Sunday, March 4, 2018, at 8pm EST. Join us as we tune in!

*Synopsis from the Heroin(e) webpage.

 

Chicken & Egg Pictures at the Emmys®!

Row 1 (left to right): Among the Believers, The Hand That Feeds, Meet the Patels; Row 2 (left to right): No Más Bebés, The Return, Southwest of Salem; Row 3 (left to right):Thank You For Playing, (T)ERROR, What Tomorrow Brings

What a week for wonderful news at Chicken & Egg Pictures!

Nominees for the 38th Annual News & Documentary Emmy Awards® were announced yesterday and we were overloaded with joy to see so many Nest-supported films and filmmakers included. Congratulations to all and good luck!

Among the Believers, directed by Hemal Trivedi and Mohammed Naqvi (World ‘Doc World’) Nominated for Outstanding Politics and Government Documentary

The Hand That Feeds, directed by Rachel Lears and Robin Blotnick (World ‘America ReFramed’) Nominated for Outstanding Business and Economic Documentary

Meet the Patelsdirected by Geeta Patel and Ravi Patel (PBS ‘Independent Lens’) Nominated for Outstanding Arts & Culture Documentary

No Más Bebés, directed by Renee Tajima-Peña (PBS ‘Independent Lens’) Nominated for Outstanding Historical Documentary

The Return, directed by Kelly Duane de la Vega and Katie Galloway (PBS ‘POV’) Nominated for Outstanding Current Affairs Documentary

Southwest of Salem: The Story of the San Antonio Four, directed by Deborah S. Esquenazi (Investigation Discovery) Nominated for Outstanding Social Issue Documentary

Thank You For Playing, directed by Malika Zouhali-Worrall and David Osit (PBS ‘POV’) Nominated for Best Documentary, Outstanding Arts & Culture Documentary, and Outstanding Editing: Documentary

(T)ERROR, directed by Lyric R. Cabral and David Felix Sutcliffe (PBS ‘Independent Lens’) Nominated for Outstanding Investigative Documentary

What Tomorrow Brings, directed by Beth Murphy (PBS ‘POV’) Nominated for Outstanding Current Affairs Documentary

And a special congratulations to 2017 Accelerator Lab grantee Nanfu Wang for Hooligan Sparrow, (PBS ‘POV’), which was nominated for Outstanding Politics and Government Documentary and Outstanding Editing: Documentary; and our Nest-friend and supporter Abigail Disney for The Armor of Light, (PBS ‘Independent Lens’), nominated for Outstanding Social Issue Documentary.

 

We’re Semifinalists for the 2017 Nonprofit Excellence Awards!

Chicken & Egg Pictures is proud to announce that we are semifinalists for this year’s New York Community Trust Nonprofit Excellence Awards Program. Ten nonprofit groups from across the city have been chosen as semifinalists and will be competing for up to $60,000 in cash prizes and scholarships to Columbia Business School programs.

“As an organization that thrives on learning, innovation and high standards of management, making it to the semi-final round of the Nonprofit Excellence Awards means so much to us. We are committed to building leadership across all staff and are looking forward to gaining valuable feedback on our management practices from going through this rigorous awards application process. We believe that it will better equip us to fulfill our mission of supporting women nonfiction filmmakers and advancing gender equity in the film industry,” said Jenni Wolfson, Executive Director, Chicken & Egg Pictures.

The winning organizations will be announced during the Best Practices Workshop & Awards Presentation on Friday, December 1, 2017.

Learn more about the prestigious award and the other semifinalists here.