The Whickers Announces 2018 Award Recipient

The Whickers recently announced the recipient of the 2018 The Whickers/Chicken & Egg Pictures Award: congratulations to Ilinca Calugareanu and the A Cops and Robbers Story team!

Ilinca Calugareanu A Cops and Robbers Story Accelerator Lab 2018
A Cops and Robbers Story, directed by Ilinca Calugareanu

Named for pioneering British broadcaster Alan Whicker, The Whickers is dedicated to supporting emerging voices in the field of documentary. The award, focused on Accelerator Lab participants, was conceived to ensure that more women enter the nonfiction filmmaking pipeline. Previous recipients include The Feeling of Being Watched by Assia Boundaoui and The Surrender of Waymond Hall by Jane Greenberg.

A Cops and Robbers Story follows Corey Pegues, one of the highest ranking black executives in the NYPD, who revealed a few months after retirement that before joining the NYPD he worked the streets dealing crack cocaine for one of the most notorious drug gangs in the US, the Supreme Team. The project was recently featured as a docustory in The Guardian. Said director Ilinca Calugareanu, “It is such an honour to be this year’s recipient of The Whickers/Chicken & Egg Pictures Award. Thank you for believing in us and in the importance of Corey Pegues’s story. Your support means so much!”

Ilinca’s debut documentary feature, Chuck Norris vs. Communism, is currently available for streaming on Netflix.

Nest-Supported Projects at IFP Week

2018 IFP Week FilmsThe Independent Filmmaker Project announced its 40th annual IFP Project Forum slate highlighting films, series, digital, and audio projects from around the world. We are honored to announce that four Chicken & Egg-supported projects from our 2018 programs year were included.

An Act of Worship, directed by Nausheen Dadabhoy (2018 Diversity Fellows Initiative)

An Act of Worship follows young Muslim women activists at a time when hate crimes against Muslims have reached their highest level since 9/11. The travel ban has sent the message that Muslims are not welcome in the US. Now, a new generation has been galvanized into action to reclaim their space in the American landscape.

The In Between, directed by Robie Flores (2018 Diversity Fellows Initiative)

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.

Made in Boise, directed by Beth Aala (2018 Discretionary Grant)

A surprising—and booming—industry has emerged in Boise, Idaho. In this idyllic, all-American city, nurses, nail technicians, and stay-at-home mothers are having babies for strangers—in record numbers. Boise’s own St. Luke’s Medical Center founded and runs the first and best surrogacy program of its kind, in all the US. But everything is not as it appears, surrogacy is not without its health risks, and the practice is not without its emotional complications. Character-driven and stylized in its approach, Made In Boise introduces audiences to the unique world of surrogacy in the most unexpected of places.

People’s Hospital, directed by Siyi Chen (2018 Accelerator Lab)

As the Chinese society criticizes dysfunctional hospitals, a doctor’s daughter revisits the small-town hospital where she grew up — this time with a camera, in the middle of a chaotic ER.

And a special congratulations to filmmakers who were previously supported by Chicken & Egg Pictures.

Women in Blue, directed by Deirdre Fishel (Care, 2014) and executive produced by Gini Reticker (The Trials of Spring, 2014)

A female police chief and a determined band of women officers work to redefine “protect and serve,” when a tragic shooting upends their progress.*

Narrowsburg, directed by Martha Shane (After Tiller co-director)

Narrowsburg tells the story of a French producer and a mafioso-turned-actor who attempted to turn a small Catskills town into the “Sundance of the East.”*

*Synopses from the IFP website.

Filmmakers will attend the IFP Project Forum during the 40th anniversary of IFP Week happening September 15 – 20 in Brooklyn.

Post by Morgan Hulquist, 2018 Summer Communications Intern. 

Announcing our Newest Eggsperts

We’re thrilled to announce the two newest additions to our team of Eggsperts! Eggsperts participate informally as friends and allies, helping to conceptualize our future course and promoting our growth, visibility, and impact for the long-term.

Sharmeen Obaid-Chinoy joins Chicken & Egg Pictures team of EggspertsSharmeen Obaid-Chinoy is the only female director to have been awarded two Academy Awards by the age of 37. Since 2001, she has made over two dozen multi-award winning films in over sixteen countries around the world. Her films include Student Athlete, A Girl in the River: The Price of Forgiveness, Song of Lahore, Saving Face, A Journey of a Thousand Miles: Peacekeepers and Transgenders: Pakistan’s Open Secret.

Zainab Salbi joins Chicken & Egg Pictures team of EggspertsZainab Salbi has frequently been named as one of the women changing the world by leading publications, from People  Magazine to Newsweek. At the age of twenty-three, Zainab founded Women for Women International, a humanitarian organization dedicated to women survivors of wars. Under her leadership (1993–2011), Women for Women International grew from helping 30 women upon its inception to helping more than 420,000 women and distributing more than $100 million in aid.

To find out more about our new Eggsperts, read Sharmeen Obaid-Chinoy’s profile in The New Yorker, “An Activist Filmmaker Tackles Patriarchy in Pakistan”, or watch Zainab Salbi’s TED Talk about the women who keep everyday life going during conflicts.

Post by Morgan Hulquist, 2018 Communications Intern. 

 

Nest Co-Founders, Filmmakers, and Friends Join the Academy

We’re proud to announce that Chicken & Egg Pictures Co-Founders and Board members Julie Parker Benello and Wendy Ettinger are now members of the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences!

The Academy  announced a record-setting 928 invited members, 49 percent of whom are women and 38 percent people of color.  Nine branches, including the Producers, Film Editors, and Documentary branches invited more women than men.  At Chicken & Egg Pictures, we applaud the Academy’s efforts to double the number of women and diverse members, a goal announced in 2016 and hoped to be completed by 2020.

This announcement marked a huge step in diversifying one of the most prestigious institutions in the field, bringing the overall Academy membership to 31% women. We couldn’t be more thrilled. You might have even caught  Wendy talk about it on live TV, on BBC News when the announcement was made public.  Julie and Wendy will join fellow Co-Founder (and Senior Creative Consultant) Judith Helfand, with all three Chicken & Egg Pictures Co-Founders now members of the Academy!

This year, Chicken & Egg-supported filmmakers invited to the Academy include Yance Ford (Oscar®-nominee Strong Island), Catherine Gund (Born to Fly), Sari Gilman (Kings Point, editor on Trapped), Lana Wilson (The Departure and After Tiller), Laura Nix (2018 Breakthrough Award Recipient), and Nanfu Wang (2018 Breakthrough Award Recipient, 2017 Accelerator Lab Grantee for Born In China).

New members also include Paco de Onís, editor of Nest-supported Granito: How to Nail a Dictator, as well as Toby Shimin, editor of Nest-supported 32 Pills: My Sister’s Suicide. Congratulations to all!

Post by Morgan Hulquist, 2018 Communications Intern. 

Honoring World Refugee Day at Chicken & Egg Pictures

Today is World Refugee Day, a day which calls for the global public to stand with refugees and stand for their safety. In 2017, the number of displaced people worldwide reached a record high of 68.5 million, as reported by The UN Refugee Agency’s annual Global Trends study. At Chicken & Egg Pictures, we are proud to support a number of filmmakers that use intimate storytelling to portray the individuals behind those numbers. Their stories have been and will continue to be an important part of Chicken & Egg Pictures.

Nest-supported film It Will Be Chaos, will be broadcast tonight on HBO in conjunction with World Refugee Day. Directed by Lorena Luciano and Filippo Piscopo, the film is an epic, yet intimate portrait of lives in transit and the human consequences of the refugee crisis spanning the Mediterranean. The story unfolds between Italy and the Balkan corridor, focusing on two unforgettable refugee stories of human strength and resilience in search of a better and safer future. It Will Be Chaos premiered on HBO on June 18, will have an encore presentation tonight at 5:55 pm ET, and is now available for streaming on HBO.

More powerful films to watch in honor of World Refugee Day include:

Dalya’s Other Country, directed by Julia Metzger, a story about Dalya and her mother Rudanya who arrived in Los Angeles from Aleppo as war took over (available on DVD);

Eventual Salvation, directed by Dee Rees about her 80-year-old American-born grandmother who barely escaped Liberia with her life as she returns to rebuild her community after their devastating civil war (on Netflix);

Children in No Man’s Land, directed by Anayansi Prado, which chronicles the journey of Maria de Jesus and her cousin Rene (ages 13 and 12) as they attempt to cross the US/Mexico border alone to reunite with their mothers in the Midwest (on Kanopy);

And This is Home: A Refugee Story*, directed by Chicken & Egg Board of Directors member Alexandra Shiva, an intimate portrait of four Syrian families arriving in Baltimore (premieres Friday, June 22 on Epix).

And other Nest-supported projects to watch out for in the near future are:

MUHI – Generally Temporary (2015 Accelerator Lab grantee), directed by Rina Castelnuovo and Tamir Elterman—on the festival circuit and just finished a theatrical tour in Germany; Unaccompanied Children (2017 Accelerator Lab grantee), directed by Alexandra Codina—currently in production; The Guardian of Memory (2017 Accelerator Lab Grantee), directed by Marcela Arteaga—currently in production; Number 387 (2018 Accelerator Lab Grantee), directed by Madeleine Leroyer—currently in production; Breathe (2018 Impact & Innovation Initiative Grantee), directed by Milica Zec and Winslow Porter—currently in development.

*Chicken & Egg Pictures did not support This is Home but director Alexandra Shiva is a member of the Chicken & Egg Pictures Board of Directors.

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

 

 

The Nest at 2018 Human Rights Watch Film Festival

The 2018 Human Rights Watch Film Festival (HRWFF) in New York City will feature four Chicken & Egg-supported films and filmmakers! Make sure to catch a screening of the following films if you happen to be in the New York City area between June 14-21!

You can look at the full list of the documentaries featured here.

A Thousand Girls Like Me*, directed by Sahra Mani (2016 Diversity Fellow Initiative)A Thousand Girls Like Me*, directed by Sahra Mani (2016 Diversity Fellow Initiative) Naila and the Uprising directed by Julia Bacha at 2018 Human Rights Watch Film Festival.

In Afghanistan where systematic abuses of girls rarely come to light, and seeking justice can be deadly, one young woman says “Enough.” Khatera was brutally raped by her father since the age of nine and today she raises two precious and precocious children whom he sired. Against her family’s and many Afghanis’ wishes, Khatera forces her father to stand trial. This is her incredible story of love, hope, bravery, forgiveness, and truth.

Screening(s):

June 19, 9 pm at the Film Society of Lincoln Center’s Elinor Bunin Munroe Film Center

June 20, 7 pm at the IFC Center

Get your tickets here.

*A Thousand Girls Like Me will have its US premiere at the 2018 HRWFF.

Naila and the Uprising*, directed by Julia Bacha
Naila and the Uprising directed by Julia Bacha at 2018 Human Rights Watch Film Festival.

Weaving together interviews, news footage, and expressive animation, award-winning documentarian Julia Bacha inventively chronicles the remarkable journey of Naila Ayesh, who in the late 1980s joined a clandestine movement of Palestinian women who played a pivotal role in the nonviolent uprising known as the First Intifada.

Screening(s):

June 16, 7 pm at IFC Center

Get your tickets here.

*Chicken & Egg Pictures did not support Naila and the Uprising but supported director Julia Bacha’s film, Budrus.

On Her Shoulders*, directed by Alexandria Bombach (2018 SXSW LUNA / Chicken & Egg Pictures Award recipient)On Her Shoulders*, directed by Alexandria Bombach (2018 SXSW LUNA / Chicken & Egg Pictures Award recipient)

This empowering documentary presents 23-year-old Nadia Murad, a Yazidi genocide survivor determined to tell the world her story. Determined advocate and reluctant celebrity, she becomes the voice of her people and their best hope to spur the world to action.

Screening(s):

June 14, 7 pm at the Film Society of Lincoln center’s Walter reade theatre

Get your tickets here.

*Chicken & Egg Pictures did not support On Her Shoulders but supported director Julia Alexandria Bombach through the SXSW LUNA / Chicken & Egg Pictures Award.

The Unafraid*, directed by Heather Courtney and Anayansi Prado (2017 Chicken & Egg Pictures mentee)The Unafraid*, directed by Heather Courtney and Anayansi Prado (2017 Chicken & Egg Pictures mentee)

High School seniors Alejandro, Silvia, and Aldo, like most of their friends, are eager to go to college and pursue their education. However, their home state of Georgia not only bans them from attending the top five public universities, but also deems them ineligible for in-state tuition at public colleges due to their immigration status as DACA (Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals) recipients. In response, these three ambitious and dream-filled students divert their passions towards the fight for education in the undocumented community. As President Donald Trump’s campaign rhetoric against immigrants gains momentum, and amid constant threat of losing their DACA status and being deported, The Unafraid follows these inspirational members of the generation of “undocumented, unapologetic and unafraid” young people who are determined to overcome and dismantle oppressive policies and mindsets.

Screening(s):

June 21, 7 pm at IFC Center

You can buy tickets to the Human Rights Watch Film Festival here.

*Chicken & Egg Pictures did not support The Unafraid but supported director Anayansi Prado’s film, Children in No Man’s Land.

Accelerator Lab Open Call: Apply Now!

Chicken & Egg Pictures is now accepting submissions for the 2019 Accelerator Lab Open Call!

The Accelerator Lab is focused on identifying and supporting women nonfiction directors working on their first or second feature-length documentary. In this year-long program, ten projects will receive:

  • a $35,000 in grant funding for the production of their feature-length film;
  • monthly mentorship with members of Chicken & Egg Pictures’ senior creative team;
  • three creative retreats focused on career sustainability and creative development;
  • industry meetings at a major documentary film festival; and
  • peer support from the Accelerator Lab cohort.

A glimpse at current and past projects that Chicken & Egg has supported through the Accelerator Lab program:

Through the Night, directed by Loira Limbal (Accelerator Lab Grantee)
Through the Night, directed by Loira Limbal

Through the Night, directed by Loira Limbal

To make ends meet, Americans are working longer hours across multiple jobs. This modern reality of nonstop work has resulted in an unexpected phenomenon: the flourishing of 24-hour daycare centers. 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.

Through the Night is a 2018 Accelerator Lab-supported film and is currently in production.

The Feeling of Being Watched, directed by Assia Boundaoui (Accelerator Lab Grantee)
The Feeling of Being Watched, directed by Assia Boundaoui

The Feeling of Being Watched, directed by Assia Boundaoui

In the Arab-American neighborhood outside of Chicago where director Assia Boundaoui grew up, most of her neighbors think they have been under surveillance for over a decade. While investigating their experiences, Assia uncovers hundreds of pages of declassified FBI documents that prove her hometown was the subject of one of the largest counterterrorism investigations ever conducted in the U.S. before 9/11—code-named “Operation Vulgar Betrayal.” With unprecedented access, The Feeling of Being Watched weaves the personal and the political as it follows the filmmaker’s examination of why her community fell under blanket government surveillance. Assia struggles to disrupt the government secrecy shrouding what happened to her neighborhood in the 90’s and probes why her community feels like they’re still being watched today. In the process, she confronts long-hidden truths about the FBI’s relationship to her community. The Feeling of Being Watched follows Assia as she pieces together this secret FBI operation, while grappling with the effects of a lifetime of surveillance on herself and her family.

The Feeling of Being Watched recently premiered at the 2018 TriBeca Film Festival and is also being featured at Hot Docs.

Muhi - Generally Temporary, directed by Rina Castelnuovo and Tamir Elterman (Accelerator Lab Grantee).
Muhi – Generally Temporary, directed by Rina Castelnuovo and Tamir Elterman

Muhi – Generally Temporary, directed by Rina Castelnuovo and Tamir Elterman

Muhi, a cherubic Palestinian toddler with a life-threatening immune disorder, was transported to an Israeli hospital as a baby for emergency treatment. He and his devoted grandfather have lived there ever since, stuck in a bizarre no man’s land, with their extended family living on the other side of a fiercely guarded checkpoint. Their unique and moving story takes place within the crucible of the current relentless Israeli-Palestinian conflict that impacts everyone in its orbit.

Muhi – Generally Temporary premiered at the 2017 San Francisco International Film Festival and was featured in the Human Rights Watch Film Festival of the same year.

To check out the full list of films supported through the Accelerator Lab program, click here.

The deadline to apply is Monday, June 25th at 3:00 pm EDT. Apply now!

And sign up for our newsletter to receive updates on the Accelerator Lab and other News from the Nest!

United Skates wins Tribeca Audience Award

United Skates, directed by Tina Brown and Dyana Winkler at Tribeca Film Festival.
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.

Accelerator Lab Open Call starts May 3!

Mark your calendars! The Accelerator Lab Open Call will open on May 3, 2018, 12 pm EST.

The Accelerator Lab is focused on identifying and supporting women nonfiction directors working on their first or second feature-length documentary. Each project receives a $35,000 grant in three parts for the production of a film, to be developed over the course of the 12-month program. All directors of the ten projects come together at various points over the course of a year for an intensive period of professional development, tailored mentorship and workshops with industry experts, creatively fusing the art and craft of filmmaking with best practices and peer-to-peer support.

Sign up for our newsletter to receive updates on the Accelerator Lab Open Call and other News from the Nest!

Past grantee projects have included:

32 Pills_Hope Litoff
32 Pills: My Sister’s Suicide, directed by Hope Litoff (Accelerator Lab Grantee)

32 Pills: My Sister’s Suicide, directed by Hope Litoff
Premiered at the 2017 Hot Docs Canadian International Film Festival
Now available on HBO, HBO NOW, and HBO GO.

A reflection on the life and suicide of Ruth Litoff, a successful artist, a pathological liar, and the filmmaker’s sister. By looking back on Ruth’s incredible highs and lows, bursts of creative genius, depression, secrets, and lies, a vivid portrait will emerge of the brilliant woman the filmmaker is not sure she ever really knew. This is her attempt to understand what happened.

The Feeling of Being Watched, directed by Assia Boundaoui (Accelerator Lab Grantee)
The Feeling of Being Watched, directed by Assia Boundaoui

The Feeling of Being Watched, directed by Assia Boundaoui
Premiered at the 2018 Tribeca Film Festival

In the Arab-American neighborhood outside of Chicago where director Assia Boundaoui grew up, most of her neighbors think they have been under surveillance for over a decade. While investigating their experiences, Assia uncovers hundreds of pages of declassified FBI documents that prove her hometown was the subject of one of the largest counterterrorism investigations ever conducted in the U.S. before 9/11—code-named “Operation Vulgar Betrayal.” With unprecedented access, The Feeling of Being Watched weaves the personal and the political as it follows the filmmaker’s examination of why her community fell under blanket government surveillance. Assia struggles to disrupt the government secrecy shrouding what happened to her neighborhood in the 90’s and probes why her community feels like they’re still being watched today. In the process, she confronts long-hidden truths about the FBI’s relationship to her community. The Feeling of Being Watched follows Assia as she pieces together this secret FBI operation, while grappling with the effects of a lifetime of surveillance on herself and her family.

Whose Streets?, directed by Sabaah Folayan, co-directed by Damon Davis (Accelerator Lab Grantee)
Whose Streets?, directed by Sabaah Folayan, co-directed by Damon Davis

Whose Streets?, directed by Sabaah Folayan, co-directed by Damon Davis
Premiered at the 2017 Sundance Film Festival
Now available on DVD and streaming

A firsthand look at how the murder of one teenage boy became the last straw for a community under siege, Whose Streets? is a story of love, loss, conflict, and ambition. Set in Ferguson, MO, the film follows the journey of everyday people whose lives are intertwined with a burgeoning national movement for black liberation.

Peabody Nominations are in!

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