Nishtha Jain: Dozen Days of Filmmakers — Day 12

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.


Nishtha Jain is a multi-award-winning filmmaker based in Mumbai. She’s best known for her films Gulabi Gang (2012), Lakshmi and Me (2007), and City of Photos (2004). She’s been exploring the human condition in its myriad states. Politics of image making and self-representation, complexities of social hierarchies, women’s movements, and workers’ struggles have been some of the themes that her films have dealt with. She’s a graduate of the Film and Television Institute of India, Pune and A.J.K. Mass Communication Research Centre, New Delhi. She’s a Fulbright Scholar (2019), Global Media Maker (2019) at Film Independent, Los Angeles, and Chicken & Egg Award Recipient (2020). 

Still from Gulabi Gang, directed by Nishtha Jain

A recipient of two Indian National Film Awards and over 23 international awards, her films have been extensively shown in international film festivals and art-house cinemas and broadcast on international TV networks. She has served as a juror at several international festivals including IDFA and Zurich Film Festival. In 2020, Nishtha joined the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences.

She has given master classes and/or made artist presentations at universities including Stanford, NYU, Wellesley, Cambridge, St. Andrews, University of London, Heidelberg, Concordia, Danish Film School, and Film and Television Institute of India, Pune. When she’s not making films, she’s teaching, writing, and actively participating in social and political movements in India.

Yoruba Richen: Dozen Days of Filmmakers — Day 10

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.


The New Black Yoruba RichenYoruba Richen is a 2016 Chicken & Egg Award filmmaker whose work explores issues of race, space, and power. She has directed films in the US and abroad, including The New Black, Promised Land, The Green Book: Guide to Freedom, and most recently The Sit In: Harry Belafonte Hosts the Tonight Show. Yoruba received the Creative Promise Award at Tribeca All Access, was a Sundance Producers Fellow, is a featured TED Speaker and a Guggenheim Fellow. She is director of the documentary program at the CUNY Graduate School of Journalism. 

Her last film, The Sit In: Harry Belafonte Hosts the Tonight Show was selected for the 2020 Tribeca Film Festival and is a Peacock Original. Her previous film The Green Book: Guide to Freedom was broadcast on the Smithsonian Channel to record audiences and was awarded the Henry Hampton Award for Excellence in Documentary Filmmaking.

Yoruba is currently working on How It Feels To Be Free, a two-part documentary chronicling how black entertainers like Lena Horne and Cicely Tyson navigated the industry and took control of their own images, all while fighting for civil rights through their art and actions.

The New Black Yoruba Richen
Still from The New Black, directed by Yoruba Richen

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.

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.

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. 

And She Could Be Next Two Night Premiere on PBS on June 29 & 30

Mark your calendars for June 29 and 30! The Chicken & Egg Pictures team will be viewing And She Could Be Next this Sunday, June 29 and Monday, June 30 on our local PBS stationsAnd She Could Be Next, directed by Chicken & Egg Award recipient Grace Lee and Chicken & Egg Pictures Board Member Marjan Safinia, tells the story of a defiant movement of women of color, transforming politics from the ground up.

 

And She Could Be Next was also field directed by Chicken & Egg Award recipients Yoruba Richen and Geeta Gandbhir and AlumNest filmmakers Amber Fares (Speed Sisters), Deborah S. Esquenazi (Southwest of Salem), and Anayansi Prado (Children in No Man’s Land). 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.

Monday, June 29

Episode One: Building The Movement opens with the powerful reminder that “women of color have been the backbone of our communities forever.” An energetic montage of modern American civil rights movements–from women’s suffrage to Stonewall, Black Lives Matter to Standing Rock–brings us to the 2018 midterm elections where a new generation of women of color is ready to take the lead. The documentary goes behind-the-scenes at local rallies, war rooms and church basements, where candidates and organizers embark on the campaign trail. We also witness the unique challenges they face, from well-resourced incumbents to systemic barriers that disproportionately affect black, brown and immigrant communities. As we get to know these women, we see how they do not live “single issue lives” but are each a product of a larger movement–one that is coalition-based, intergenerational and interfaith.

Tuesday, June 30

Episode Two: Claiming Power takes us to the weeks leading up to election day and focuses on how organizers combat voter suppression in their own communities. At the heart of the episode is a growing multi-ethnic coalition in Georgia, a state with a rich history of civil rights organizing and poised to be a “majority minority” state as early as 2025. In addition to the New Georgia Project, groups like Mijente and Asians for Abrams put boots on the ground to address language barriers, poll purges and “exact match” laws that impact thousands of voters across the state. As results roll in, there is celebration for some and disappointment for others–but for these community organizers, the work does not stop when the polls close. Through it all, these women present a collective vision of political power that is rooted in care, dignity and joy, and remind us that there is an organizer in all of us.


Learn more about And She Could Be Next here.

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!

Announcing our 2020 Chicken & Egg Award Recipients!

Chicken & Egg Pictures is proud to announce the fifth cohort of our Chicken & Egg Award, which recognizes and elevates five experienced documentary makers. This is the first year the Award has been opened to internationally-based filmmakers, and the six recipients hail from Canada, Chile, India, Serbia, Norway, and the US and have explored such diverse subjects as aging, artificial intelligence, and Indigenous rights.

In addition to a $50,000 unrestricted cash award and a year-long mentorship program, recipients also receive dedicated support from the Chicken & Egg Pictures creative team geared toward the development of new documentary projects.

Maite Alberdi is a Chilean director whose particular style is characterized by an intimate portrait of small worlds. She is one of the most important voices in Latin American documentaries. Her films include The Lifeguard (2011), Tea Time (2014), I Am Not From Here (2016), The Grown-Ups (2016), and The Mole Agent (2020).   

Tonje Hessen Schei is an award-winning Norwegian filmmaker and director of iHuman (2019), Drone (2014), Play Again (2010), and Independent Intervention (2005)—films that have received awards like The Golden Nymph Award and Norway’s national film awards, the Amanda and Gullruten awards for best documentary. 

Nishtha Jain is a multi-award-winning filmmaker best known for her films Saboot (2019), Gulabi Gang (2012), Lakshmi and Me (2007) and City of Photos (2004); her films are self-reflexive and explore the political in the personal, a recurring theme in her films being work or travail. She is a 2019 Fulbright Scholar and Film Independent Global Media Make. 

Michelle Latimer is a Métis/Algonquin filmmaker, actor, and producer; her goal is to use film and new media as a tool for social change. Her recent projects include Rise (Viceland, Sundance 2017) and Nuuca (TIFF, Berlinale, Sundance 2017). Her Indigenous heritage informs her filmmaking perspective.

Kimberly Reed is the director of Dark Money and Prodigal Sons, the first documentary by a transgender filmmaker to be theatrically released, which won 14 international awards. She is one of Filmmaker’s “25 New Faces of Independent Film” and a member of the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences.

Mila Turajlić is an award-winning director and archive scholar born in Belgrade, Yugoslavia. Her films include The Other Side of Everything and Cinema KomunistoIn 2018, she was commissioned by MoMA to create archive-based video installations for their landmark exhibition on Yugoslav modernist architecture.

Laura Nix and Julia Reichert Nominated for 92nd Academy Awards

Egg-citing news! Announced today, filmmakers Laura Nix and Julia Reichert received Oscar nominations for their nonfiction films Walk Run Cha-Cha and American Factory, respectively.

Walk Run Cha-Cha
Directed by Laura Nix (2018 Chicken & Egg Award);
Produced by Colette Sandstedt
Nominated for Documentary Short

American Factory
Directed by Julia Reichert (2016 Chicken & Egg Award) and Steve Bognar; Produced by Julia Reichert, Steve Bognar, Jeff Reichert, and Chicken & Egg Pictures Co-Founder Julie Parker Benello
Nominated for Documentary Feature

We are so proud to have supported Laura and Julia through our Chicken & Egg Award program and wish them the best of luck! You can stream American Factory on Netflix and Walk Run Cha-Cha on New York Times Op-Docs.

The 92nd Academy Awards will take place on Sunday, February 9, 2020. A full list the full list of nominees can be seen here.

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.