2019 Sundance Festival Winners

A huge congratulations to Chicken & Egg Pictures-supported films and filmmakers who won big at Sundance this year:

One Child Nation
Dirs. Nanfu Wang & Jialing Zhang
Grand Jury Prize – US Documentary Competition

Always in Season
Dir. Jacqueline Olive
Special Jury Award for Moral Urgency – US Documentary Competition

American Factory
Dir. Julia Reichert & Steven Bognar
Directing – US Documentary Competition

It was a big weekend for these incredible filmmakers in more ways than one, with Amazon acquiring One Child Nation and Netflix acquiring American Factory. And a special congratulations to former Nest grantees Rachel Lears (dir. of Knock Down the House – US Documentary Competition Audience Award), Alma Har’el (dir. of Honey Boy – US Dramatic CompetitionSpecial Jury Award for Vision and Craft); and Laura Nix (executive producer of Sea of Shadows – World Cinema Documentary Audience Award).

We couldn’t be prouder of our Nest friends. Learn more about American Factory, Always in Season, and One Child Nation—and the amazing women that made them—through these reads:

‘One Child Nation’: How Nanfu Wang Defied China to Expose Its Dark Side – Indiewire

Sundance 2019 Women Directors: Meet Nanfu Wang – “One Child Nation”– Women and Hollywood

Sundance 2019 Women Directors: Meet Jacqueline Olive – “Always in Season”– Women and Hollywood

Sundance 2019: Always in Season an exceptional documentary on communities of memory, history of lynchings – The Utah Review

‘American Factory’: Sundance Review – Screen Daily

Sundance: Netflix Nabs ‘American Factory’ Doc for $3 Million – The Hollywood Reporter

Announcing our 2019 Chicken & Egg Award recipients!


Chicken & Egg Pictures is proud to announce the fourth cohort of our Chicken & Egg Award—previously known as Breakthrough Filmmaker Award—which recognizes and elevates five experienced documentary filmmakers poised to reach new heights in their careers and become strong filmmaker advocates for critical and timely issues.

This year’s Chicken & Egg Award recipients are directors of Peabody Award- and Emmy® Award-winning films; the characters in their films—like a Yazidi human rights activist and Nobel Peace Prize winner; a young woman in Gaza making a choice between love, family, and freedom; and a punk rocker-turned-Buddhist monk—have inspired hearts and minds; and their work has been featured at Tribeca, Sundance, Berlinale, and other international festivals.

The award comes with a $50,000 unrestricted grant that gives its recipient more financial freedom in planning her career, and year-long individualized mentorship geared towards working to achieve the professional goals each filmmaker sets for herself.

 

Julia Bacha

 

Julia Bacha is a Peabody Award-winning filmmaker, Guggenheim fellow, and Creative Director at Just Vision. Her directing credits include Budrus (2009), My Neighbourhood (2012), and Naila and the Uprising (2017). Her work has played at the Berlin and Tribeca Film Festivals, as well as Palestinian refugee camps and the United States Congress. Julia is a Term Member at the Council on Foreign Relations, a Young Global Leader at the World Economic Forum, and a TED speaker.

 

Alexandria Bombach

 

Alexandria Bombach is an award-winning director, cinematographer, and editor from Santa Fe, New Mexico. Her feature-length documentary, On Her Shoulders (2018), won Best Directing in the US Documentary Competition at the Sundance Film Festival, is nominated for two Spirit Awards, and was shortlisted for the Academy Award for Best Documentary Feature. Her first feature-length documentary, Frame by Frame (2015) premiered at SXSW and went on to win over 25 festival awards. Alexandria is the founder of the Santa Fe Editing & Writing Residency and a 2019 Sundance Institute Momentum Fellow.

 

Stephanie Wang-Breal

 

A first-generation Chinese American from Youngstown, Ohio, Stephanie Wang-Breal uses film as a tool to subvert the narrative. She’s directed five feature length films: the award-winning Wo Ai Ni Mommy (2010), Tough Love (2014), and Blowin’ Up (2018); and directed commercials and short form content with talents and brands such as Tan Dun, Planned Parenthood, Minwax, ESPN, Tiffany & Co., Goldman Sachs, Verifone, and Apple. Stephanie’s independent work has been supported and recognized by the Sundance Institute, the Ford Foundation, and featured in the Tribeca Film Festival.

 

Lana Wilson

 

Lana Wilson is an Emmy® Award-winning and two-time Spirit Award-nominated director. Her most recent film, The Departure (2017), premiered at Tribeca, had a critically acclaimed theatrical release, and was nominated for the Independent Spirit Award for Best Documentary. Her previous film, After Tiller (2013), premiered at Sundance and went on to win an Emmy® Award for Best Documentary. It was also nominated for an Independent Spirit Award, four Cinema Eye Honors, and the Ridenhour Prize.

 

Malika Zouhali-Worrall

 

Malika Zouhali-Worrall is an Emmy® Award-winning director and editor. Her directing credits include Call Me Kuchu, which premiered at the 2012 Berlinale and went on to win more than 20 festival awards, and Thank You For Playing (2015), which received an Emmy® for Outstanding Arts & Culture Documentary. Malika’s work has been supported by Sundance, Tribeca, Firelight Media, and the United Nations. She is a San Francisco Film/Catapult Documentary Fellow and a Chaz and Roger Ebert Directing Fellow.

For additional information on Chicken & Egg Pictures and this award, please visit our Programs page.

Penny Lane: Dozen Days of Filmmakers – Day 7

Penny Lane 2017 Breakthrough Filmmaker AwardChicken & Egg Pictures is celebrating the holiday season by featuring a dozen of our supported women nonfiction filmmakers.

Penny Lane is an award-winning nonfiction filmmaker who was named one of Filmmaker Magazine‘s “25 New Faces of Independent Film”. Penny has been making innovative nonfiction films for over a decade, including three features – The Pain of Others, NUTS! and Our Nixon – and about a dozen short films. Her most recent feature documentary, The Pain of Others, a YouTube compilation film about Morgellons, screened at BAMcinemaFest and Sheffield Doc/Fest and was featured in The New Yorker.

In September, she was honored at Open City Documentary Film Festival in London as part of their “Penny Lane: Observing Observation Itself” program, which included screenings of two of Penny’s feature films and eight of her shorts.

She received her MFA in Integrated Electronic Arts at Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute and her BA in American Culture and Media Studies at Vassar College. She is currently an Associate Professor of Art and Art History at Colgate University, where she lives in a very old house and shows movies in her barn.

Her new feature documentary, Hail Satan?, is “a look at the intersection of religion and activism, tracing the rise of The Satanic Temple: only six years old and already one of the most controversial religious movements in American history”. It was acquired by Magnolia Pictures and will have its world premiere at the 2019 Sundance Film Festival.

Penny Lane is a Chicken & Egg Pictures 2017 Breakthrough Filmmaker Award recipient. And yes, Penny Lane is her real name.

 

Post by Morgan Lee Hulquist.

Kimi Takesue: Dozen Days of Filmmakers — Day 6

Chicken & Egg Pictures is celebrating the holiday season by featuring a dozen of our supported women nonfiction filmmakers.

Kimi TakesueKimi Takesue is an award-winning filmmaker and recipient of Guggenheim and Rockefeller Fellowships in Film. Takesue’s ten films have screened at over two hundred festivals/museums internationally including the Sundance Film Festival, the Locarno Film Festival, New Directors/New Films, SXSW, and the Museum of Modern Art and have aired on PBS, IFC, Comcast, and SundanceTV.

Takesue’s critically acclaimed Ugandan feature-length documentary Where Are You Taking Me? was commissioned by the International Film Festival Rotterdam and premiered at the festival, followed by screenings at MoMA’s Doc Fortnight and the LA Film Festival. The film was theatrically released by Icarus Films, was a Critics’ Pick by Time Out New York and LA Weekly and was described by The New York Times as, “Fascinating…an unusual, visually rich visit to the nation.”

Her recent feature documentary 95 and 6 to Go was nominated for the prestigious 2017 Doc Alliance Selection Award and screened at over twenty-five international festivals including CPH:DOX, DOK Leipzig, Doclisboa, FIDMarseille and DOC NYC.

Takesue Kimi 2018 Breakthrough Filmmaker Award 95 and 6 To Go
95 and 6 To Go, directed by Kimi Takesue

In 95 and 6 To GoKimi Takesue captures the cadence of daily life for Grandpa Tom, a retired postal worker born to Japanese immigrants to Hawai’i in the 1910’s. Amidst the solitude of his home routines – coupon clipping, rigging an improvised barbecue, lighting firecrackers on the New Year – we glimpse an unexpectedly rich inner life. As his granddaughter queries his history of love and loss, a stalled film project becomes a collaborative inquiry into mortality and how one constructs a personal narrative with memories that span almost a century.

Shot over six years in Honolulu, this intimate meditation on absence and family expands the vernacular of the “home movie” to consider how history is accumulated in the everyday and how sparks of humor and creativity can animate an ordinary life.

Kimi Takesue is a 2018 Chicken & Egg Pictures Breakthrough Filmmaker Award recipient. 

 

Post by Morgan Lee Hulquist.

Kristi Jacobson: Dozen Days of Filmmakers — Day 4

Chicken & Egg Pictures is celebrating the holiday season by featuring a dozen of our supported women nonfiction filmmakers.

“Central to my approach is to not have an agenda, and to not think I know the story and not try and only film the pieces that will tell that story, but to just be really open and curious.” – Kristi Jacobson, No Film School

Kristin JacobsonKristi Jacobson is a New York based filmmaker whose films capture nuanced, intimate, and provocative portrayals of individuals and communities. Her feature documentary, A Place at the Table, called “one of the most important…and gripping non-fiction films to debut in some time” by Indiewire, premiered at the 2012 Sundance Film Festival before its theatrical release in over 35 US cities. Previous films include the critically acclaimed Toots, winner of the National Board of Review’s 2007 Top Documentary Award, and HBO documentary American Standoff, produced by two-time Oscar winner Barbara Kopple. Jacobson is a member of the Director’s Guild of America, NYWIFT, and a two-time Sundance Creative Producing Fellow.

Her latest feature film, Chicken & Egg Pictures grantee Solitary, provides an immersive and unprecedented look inside the world of solitary confinement in the US. It premiered at the 2016 Tribeca Film Festival and received the Outstanding Investigative Documentary award at the 39th Annual News and Documentary Emmy® Awards.

Solitary Kristi Jacobson
Solitary, directed by Kristi Jacobson

Her new short film Take Back the Harbor, co-directed with Roger Ross Williams, premiered at the 2018 DOC NYC Film Festival and was featured in their Short List for Short Films. It tells the story of an ambitious program working to restore once-bountiful oysters and the environmental benefits they bring to New York Harbor.

Take Back the Harbor will have its broadcast debut Tuesday, December 18 at 8pm ET/PT on Discovery Channel.

Kristi Jacobson is a Chicken & Egg Pictures 2016 Breakthrough Filmmaker Award recipient.

 

Post by Morgan Lee Hulquist.

Julia Reichert: Dozen Days of Filmmakers — Day 1

Chicken & Egg Pictures is celebrating the holiday season by featuring a dozen of our supported women nonfiction filmmakers.

Julia Reichert is a three-time Academy Award® nominated documentary filmmaker based in Ohio whose work focuses on class, gender, and race in the lives of Americans.

In 1971, frustrated with the lack of distribution options for films by and about women, she co-founded New Day Films, the democratically run documentary film distribution cooperative. Forty-seven years later, New Day Films is going strong, and now has over 150 active members.

Julia’s first film, Growing Up Female, was the first feature documentary of the modern Women’s Movement. It was recently selected for the National Film Registry of the Library of Congress. Her films Union Maids and Seeing Red were nominated for an Academy Award® for Best Feature Documentary, as was The Last Truck, a short (co-directed with Steven Bognar) which premiered at the Telluride Film Festival and on HBO.  Her film A Lion in the House (an ITVS co-production, made with Bognar) premiered at Sundance, screened nationally on PBS, and won the Primetime Emmy for Exceptional Merit in Nonfiction Filmmaking. She co-wrote and directed the feature film Emma and Elvis. Julia is also the author of Doing It Yourself, the first book on self-distribution in independent film, and was an Advisory Board member of Independent Filmmaker Project (IFP).

The Last Truck: Closing of a GM Plant
The Last Truck: Closing of a GM Plant, directed by Julia Reichert and Steve Bognar

Her most recent feature film with Steven BognarAmerican Factorywill have its world premiere at the 2019 Sundance Film Festival. American Factory tells the story of a Chinese billionaire who opens a new factory in the husk of an abandoned General Motors plant in post-industrial Ohio, hiring two thousand blue-collar Americans. Early days of hope and optimism give way to setbacks as high-tech China clashes with working-class America.*

Julia was recently awarded the Career Achievement Award at the 2018 International Documentary Awards (alongside the Chicken & Egg Pictures team for the Amicus Award) for her incredible contributions to documentary filmmaking. 

In 2019, the Museum of Modern Art and the Wexner Center for the Arts will team up to present a traveling retrospective of Julia Reichert’s films.

Julia is a 2016 Breakthrough Filmmaker Award recipient.

*Synopsis courtesy of Sundance Film Festival. 

Post by Morgan Lee Hulquist.

The Nest at the 2019 Sundance Film Festival

Chicken & Egg Pictures is coming to the 2019 Sundance Film Festival! In addition to seeing our filmmakers soar, we are delighted that they are contributing to a festival where 40% of selected films are directed by one or more women, and 53% percent of the directors eligible for the festival’s top prize are women. 

The following Nest-supported projects and filmmakers from our Accelerator Lab and Breakthrough Filmmaker Award programs, along with several directors from our AlumNest, will be celebrating their world premieres.

Jacqueline Olive Always in Season
Always in Season, directed by Jacqueline Olive

Always in Season, directed by Jacqueline Olive (2018 Accelerator Lab)

As the trauma of a century of lynching African Americans bleeds into the present, Always in Season follows relatives of the perpetrators and victims in communities across the country who are seeking justice and reconciliation in the midst of racial profiling and police shootings. In Bladenboro, NC, the film connects historic racial terrorism to racial violence today with the story of Claudia Lacy who grieves as she fights to get an FBI investigation opened into the death of her seventeen-year-old son, Lennon Lacy, found hanging from a swing set on August 29, 2014. Claudia, like many others, believes Lennon was lynched.

One Child Nation, directed by Nanfu Wang and Jialing Zhang (2017 Accelerator Lab)

How much control does a person have over their own life? In China, state control begins before a child is even born.

Director Nanfu Wang is also a recipient of the 2018 Breakthrough Filmmaker Award.

American Factory*, directed by Steven Bognar and Julia Reichert (2016 Breakthrough Filmmaker Award)

In post-industrial Ohio, a Chinese billionaire opens a new factory in the husk of an abandoned General Motors plant, hiring two thousand blue-collar Americans. Early days of hope and optimism give way to setbacks as high-tech China clashes with working-class America.**

Hail Satan*, directed by Penny Lane (2017 Breakthrough Filmmaker Award)

A look at the intersection of religion and activism, tracing the rise of The Satanic Temple: only six years old and already one of the most controversial religious movements in American history. The Temple is calling for a Satanic revolution to save the nation’s soul. But are they for real?**

In addition, the following films directed by Nest-supported filmmakers will be featured at the festival:

Knock Down the House, directed by Rachel Lears (director of Nest-supported film The Hand That Feeds with Robin Blotnick)

Shooting the Mafia, directed by Kim Longinotto (director of Nest-supported film Dreamcatcher)

The Great Hack, directed by Karim Amer and Jehane Noujaim (Jehane is the director of the Nest-supported film The Square)

The Sundance Film Festival will run from January 24 to February 3, 2019. Congratulations to all, and we will see you in Park City! 

 

*Chicken & Egg Pictures did not directly support American Factory and Hail Satan but supported director Julia Reichert and director Penny Lane during their Breakthrough years.

**Synopses courtesy of Sundance Film Festival.

Breakthrough Filmmaker Award Recipient Natalia Almada is a Sundance Art of Nonfiction Fellow

Breakthrough Filmmaker Award recipient Natalia Almada was recently announced as one of four Sundance Institute Art of Nonfiction Fellows.

The Art of Nonfiction Fellowship supports artists by providing them with an unrestricted grant and a year-long fellowship focused on their creative goals and challenges.

Natalia Almada 2018 Breakthrough Award Recipient

Chicken & Egg Pictures supported Natalia through our 2018 Breakthrough Filmmaker Award program, as well as previously supported her feature documentary El Velador (The Night Watchman).

Recipient of the 2012 MacArthur “Genius” Grant, Natalia Almada combines artistic expression with social inquiry to make films that are both personal reflections and critical social commentaries. Her work straddles the boundaries of documentary, fiction, and experimental film.

Her most recent film Todo lo demás (Everything Else) is a narrative feature starring Academy Award®-nominated Adriana Barraza; it premiered at the New York Film Festival and was nominated for an Ariel Award. El Velador (The Night Watchman) premiered at the 2011 Cannes Directors’ Fortnight and broadcast on the award-winning PBS program POV, along with her other two feature documentaries Al otro lado (To The Other Side) and El General (The General). Almada’s short film All Water Has a Perfect Memory premiered at the 2002 Sundance Film Festival and received the Best Short Documentary award at the Tribeca Film Festival.

El Velador Natalia Almada
El Velador (The Night Watchman), directed by Natalia Almada

Almada was also the recipient of the 2009 Documentary Directing Award at the Sundance Film Festival and has received fellowships from the Guggenheim Foundation, United States Artists, the Herb Alpert Foundation, and The MacDowell Colony. Almada graduated with a Masters of Fine Arts in photography from the Rhode Island School of Design and currently lives between Mexico City and San Francisco.

Other 2018 Art of Nonfiction fellows are Deborah Stratman,​​ Sam Green, and Sky Hopinka. Read more about the fellows, grantees and the programs on the Sundance Institute website.

Congratulations Natalia!

Chicken & Egg Pictures-supported Filmmakers are DOC NYC Pros

DOC NYC, the largest nonfiction film festival in the US, is just around the corner, and they released the line-up for their eight-day DOC NYC PRO conference  which will take place in conjunction with film screenings and from November 8-15.  Each day includes a keynote address, followed by panels with filmmakers and industry professionals on a selection of themes . Here’s a line-up of Chicken & Egg Pictures-supported filmmakers and Nest-friends to hear from at DOC NYC PRO.

Thursday, November 8 

Morning Manifesto: Dawn Porter (2017 Breakthrough Filmmaker Award Recipient) gives the opening speech of the DOC NYC PRO conference, discussing her “thoughts on the current state of documentary filmmaking.”

Nanfu Wang Born In China 2017 Accelerator LabWho Owns The Story: Nanfu Wang (2018 Breakthrough Filmmaker Award recipient) speaks on a panel exploring “the issues of complicated filmmaker/subject relationships and storytelling ownership”.

 

Dig Deep: Doc Storytelling: Nancy  Schwartzman (Roll Red Roll) speaks on “providing specific, in-depth and enlightening studies for emerging documentary filmmakers”.

 

Friday, November 9 

Alexandria BombachGetting Personal: Alexandria Bombach, 2018 SXSW LUNA / Chicken & Egg Pictures Award recipient and director of DOC NYC Short Listed film On Her Shoulders,  discusses films “that rely on a strong bond between director and subject with filmmakers”.

Dawn Porter 2017 Breakthrough Filmmaker Award

 

Case Study: Bobby Kennedy For PresidentNest-supported Dawn Porter speaks on her acclaimed Netflix doc series.

 

Saturday, November 10

Morning Manifesto: Our Nest-friend and President and CEO of Fork Films  Abigail Disney speaks on “what stories are the most important to tell”.

Storytelling in a Post-Truth World: Rabab Haj Yahya, editor of 2018 Accelerator Lab grantee The Feeling of Being Watched shares her thoughts about ensuring a story is truthful.

Grab Your Audience’s Attention: Editor of 2016 Diversity Fellows Initiative grantee United Skates, Katharine Garrison speaks on a panel about ” bringing an audience into your film’s world”.

Sunday, November 11

Tight Spots, Dynamic Shots: Erik Shirai, cinematographer of Nest-supported Blowin’ Up speaks on a panel about cinematography in docs.

Monday, November 12

Case Study With Michèle Stephenson and Joe Brewster: Directors of the Impact & Innovation Initiative project Changing Same: The Untitled Racial Justice Project Joe Brewster and Michèle Stephenson (also a 2016 Breakthrough Filmmaker Award recipient) discuss crafting exemplary short films.

Tuesday, November 13

 

Access is Everything: Kimberly Reed (Dark Money) and others discuss building trust with documentary subjects.

 

Wednesday, November 14

Dissecting Development With Impact Partners: Our friends at Impact Partners present a panel about establishing development funding for documentaries.

Penny Lane 2017 Breakthrough Filmmaker Award

Way More Than B-Roll: 2017 Breakthrough Filmmaker Award recipient Penny Lane discusses how archival footage creates a deeper meaning in documentaries.

 

Thursday, November 15

The New Black Yoruba Richen

Morning Manifesto: Yoruba Richen (2016 Breakthrough Filmmaker Award recipient) and director of The New Black shares her thoughts on getting films made.

Synopses of panels courtesy of the DOC NYC website.

See you at the DOC NYC PRO conference!

Nest-supported Filmmakers on the DOC NYC Short List

DOC NYC, the largest nonfiction film festival in the US, announced their Short Lists for contenders for the documentary short category and contenders for feature documentary category. Their Short Lists are influential for their steady track record of anticipating Academy Award nominees and winners.

DOC NYC also noted that this year seven of the Short List feature selections are directed or co-directed by women, marking a new high. At Chicken & Egg Pictures, we were proud to see two of our supported filmmakers make the cut.

Alexandria Bombach

On Her Shoulders , directed by Alexandria  Bombach (2018 SXSW LUNA / Chicken & Egg Pictures Award recipient), was listed as a top award contender for the documentary feature category.

 

Kristin Jacobson

Take Back The Harbor, directed by Kristi Jacobson (2016 Breakthrough Filmmaker Award recipient) and Roger Ross Williams, was listed as a top award contender for the documentary short category.

 

Both filmmakers will have their films screened during the DOC NYC festival in programs to be announced in mid-October. Congratulations to Alexandria and Kristi and good luck!