United Skates Takes Flight

Diversity Fellows Initiative grantee United Skates, directed by Tina Brown and Dyana Winkler was acquired by HBO, shortlisted for the International Documentary Association’s award for top feature of 2018, and is now going on an impressive festival run and a theatrical run in two major cities.

At Chicken & Egg Pictures, we are deeply proud of this film and of Tina and Dyana’s accomplishments. See below for screenings and showtimes.

Dyana Winkler Tina Brown United Skates 2016 Diversity Fellows Initiative

United Skates, directed by Tina Brown and Dyana Winkler

When America’s last standing roller rinks are threatened with closure, a community of thousands battle in a racially charged environment to save an underground subculture—one that has remained undiscovered by the mainstream for generations, yet has given rise to some of the world’s greatest musical talent.

Showtimes and festival dates below.

Los Angeles, California
In theaters at Laemmle Playhouse in Pasadena with screenings daily from Friday, November 30  to Thursday, December 6. Tickets here.

New York, NY
In theaters at Cinema Village in Greenwich Village with screenings daily from Friday, November 30 to Thursday, December 6. Tickets here.

San Francisco, California                                                                                                 Screening at SF Film’s annual Doc Stories program on Sunday, November 4 at 4:30 PM at the San Francisco Museum of Modern Art. Co-directors Dyana Winkler and Tina Brown will be in attendance.

Dyana Winkler Tina Brown United Skates 2016 Diversity Fellows Initiative

Amsterdam, The Netherlands
Screenings on Saturday, November 3 and Sunday, November 4 at Da Bounce Urban Film Festival. Tickets here.

Denver, Colorado
Three screenings at Denver Film Festival Friday, November 2 at 4:15 PM;  Saturday, November 3 at 1:15 PM, and Tuesday, November 6 at 4:30 PM. Tickets here.
Co-producer Tiffany Fisher-Love and Associate Producer Clay Pruitt will be in attendance for the November 2 and 3 Screenings.

St. Louis, Missouri
United Skates screens at the 27th Annual St. Louis Film Festival on Saturday, November 3 at 8:00 PM, as part of the Leon & Mary Strauss Documentary Spotlight, Women in Film Spotlight, and Race in America: The Black Experience programs.

Charlottesville, Virginia
Screening at the Virginia Film Festival on Sunday, Nov 4, 2018 at
11:15 AM

United Skates Tina Brown Dyana Winkler 2016 Diversity Fellows Initiative

Guelph, Canada 
United Skates screens at the Gimme Some Truth Documentary Film Festival, as part of the Bell Media Hot Docs Showcase on Sunday, November 4 at 5pm, followed by Skype Q&A with the directors. Tickets here.

Wilmington, North Carolina
Screening at Station Main in Wilmington as part of the Cucalorus Festival. 10:00 PM on Saturday, November 10. Tickets here.

Honolulu & Kauai, Hawaii
United Skates screens at the Hawaii International Film Festival on Thursday, November 15 at 8:15 PM and Friday, November 16 at 3:15 PM  in Honolulu, as well as Saturday, November 17 at 4:00 PM in Kauai, followed by Q&A with co-director Dyana Winkler.

Key West, Florida
Screening at Key West Film Festival on Friday and Sunday, November 16 and 18. See tickets and showtimes here.

The Nest in the Inaugural DOC NYC 40 Under 40

The DOC NYC Film Festival recently released their inaugural 40 Under 40 List, sponsored by Topic Studios, honoring documentary talents under the age of 40. Of the 40 artists selected, over half are women. Congratulations to all on this honor!

Assia Boundaoui, director of The Feeling of Being Watched (2016 Accelerator Lab and recipient of The Whickers Chicken & Egg Pictures Award)

Lyric R. Cabral, director of (T)ERROR and The Rashomon Effect (2017 Accelerator Lab)

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

Jessica Devaney, co-director of Love the Sinner (2016 Impact and Innovation Initiative), and producer of the Nest-supported films Always in Season, The Feeling of Being Watched, Roll Red Roll,  and Speed Sisters.

Sabaah Folayan, director of Whose Streets? (2016 Accelerator Lab). Whose Streets? premiered on PBS on July 30.

Lana Wilson, director of The Departure and After Tiller

Farihah Zaman, co-director of Remote Area Medical

And congratulations to our other Nest friends!

Check out more DOC NYC news from the Nest.

Dark Money and United Skates Make the IDA Shortlist

Dark Money and United Skates are two of the 31 shortlisted films for the International Documentary Association’s award for top feature of 2018.

We are so proud to have supported these films and wish the filmmakers behind them the best of luck.

Dark Money Kimberly Reed Accelerator Lab 2018

Dark Money, directed by Kimberly Reed

A century ago, corrupt money swamped Montana’s legislature, but Montanans rose up to prohibit corporate campaign contributions. Today, in the wake of the Supreme Court’s Citizens United decision —which allows unlimited, anonymous money to pour into elections nationwide—Montana is once again fighting to preserve open and honest elections. Following an investigative reporter through a political thriller, Dark Money exposes one of the greatest threats to American democracy.

Dark Money screened at the AFI Docs Film Festival last summer, had its broadcast premiere on POV on PBS, and recently received a  Doc Society / Threshold Impact Funding grant.

United Skates Tina Brown Dyana Winkler 2016 Diversity Fellows Initiative

United Skates, directed by Tina Brown and Dyana Winkler (2016 Diversity Fellows Initiative)

When America’s last standing roller rinks are threatened with closure, a community of thousands battle in a racially charged environment to save an underground subculture—one that has remained undiscovered by the mainstream for generations, yet has given rise to some of the world’s greatest musical talent.

United Skates won the 2018 Tribeca Audience Award in April, was recently acquired by HBO, and will screen at the Hot Springs Documentary Film Festival on October 26.

The 34th annual IDA Awards will take place Saturday, December 8 at the Paramount Theatre in Los Angeles.

Gender Parity at the 2018 Camden International Film Festival

The 2018 Camden International Film Festival (CIFF) will take place in Camden, Rockport, and Rockland, Maine from September 13 to 16. Founded in 2005, CIFF is a festival focused exclusively on documentary film, and this year, we were egg-static to see that half of the selections across every category are directed by women.

In a press release from CIFF, Senior Programmer Samara Chadwick stated, “Programming at parity celebrates the contributions of the many formidable women in the field, while also emphasizing the fact that, in a century of documentary filmmaking, we’ve largely known one dominant perspective. […] At CIFF we’re drawn to directorial approaches from outside the canon, and we value all the creative voices and cinematic languages that have been otherwise underrepresented.”

At Chicken & Egg Pictures, we applaud the push for gender parity from the Camden International Film Festival.

See a full itinerary for Nest-supported films, filmmakers, and friends at CIFF below.

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

Points North Pitch, Saturday Sep. 15 at 10 AM at the Camden Opera House, including a pitch from 2018 Diversity Fellows Initiative grantee Robie Flores for her project The In Between.

Skywards, directed by Eva Weber (Black Out, 2007), Saturday Sep. 15 at 10 AM at The Strand Theatre in Rockland.

Survivors Anna Fitch, Banker White, and Arthur Pratt
Survivors, directed by Arthur Pratt, Anna Fitch, Banker White, Barmmy Boy

Survivors, co-directed by Arthur Pratt, Banker White, Anna Fitch and Barmmy Boy, Saturday Sep. 15 at 12:30 PM at the Rockport Opera House.

A Cure for Fear (Series), directed by Lana Wilson (The Departure and After Tiller), Saturday Sep. 15 at 3:30 PM at the Farnsworth Art Museum in Rockland*

The Feeling of Being Watched Assia Boundaoui 2016 Accelerator Lab surveillance.jpg
The Feeling of Being Watched, directed by Assia Boundaoui

The Feeling of Being Watched, directed by Assia Boundaoui (2016 Accelerator Lab grantee and The Whickers award winner), Sunday Sep. 16 at 12:30 PM. Assia will also be speaking on the Documentary as Co-Creation panel at 3:30 PM on Saturday Sep. 15 at High Mountain Hall in Camden.

On Her Shoulders, directed by Alexandria Bombach (2018 SXSW LUNA / Chicken & Egg Pictures Award recipient), Sunday Sep. 16 at 5 PM at The Strand Theatre in Rockland.*

Stephanie Wang Breal Blowin Up Blowin-Up_Wang-Breal_JudgeSeritaBackofhead20.png
Blowin’ Up, directed by Stephanie Wang-Breal

Blowin’ Up, directed by Stephanie Wang-Breal, Sunday Sep. 16 at 5:30 PM at the Rockport Opera House.

And our very own Eggspert advisor Cara Mertes will be moderating The Public Sphere panel, Saturday Sep. 15 at 1:30 PM at High Mountain Hall.

*Chicken & Egg Pictures did not directly support SkywardsA Cure for Fear, or On Her Shoulders but did support their directors in past projects.

Post by 2018 Communications Intern Morgan Lee Hulquist. 

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 2018 Communications Intern Morgan Lee Hulquist. 

Our Newest 2018 Diversity Fellows Initiative Grantee

We are very excited to welcome director Nausheen Dadabhoy and her second feature-length documentary An Act of Worship to the 2018 Diversity Fellows Initiative.

An Act of Worship follows young Muslim women beginning their career in activism 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.

An Act of Worship Nausheen Dadabhoy Chicken & Egg Pictures
An Act of Worship, by Nausheen Dadabhoy

Nausheen Dadabhoy is a Muslim American director and DP who has always moved seamlessly between the narrative and documentary world. Her latest documentary J’adore Nawal premiered at Sundance, while her last narrative film La Femme et le TGV (The Railroad Lady) was a live action short Oscar nominee. Her directorial debut, The Ground Beneath Their Feet premiered at IDFA. Nausheen has been a Film Independent Project:Involve Fellow, a Berlin Talents participant, and is a current Firelight Fellow. 

The 2018 Diversity Fellows Initiative cohort is soon to embark on a week-long storytelling retreat in upstate New York aimed to help develop and strengthen their film’s narratives. As part of the retreat, the grantees will be participating in skill-sharing workshops where they will learn from one another’s unique perspectives and artistic practices.

Other participants of the 2018 Diversity Fellows Initiative include:

The In Between, directed by Robie Flores; Commuted, directed by Nailah Jefferson; A Prince From Outer Space: Zeki Müren, directed by Beyza Boyacioglu; and The Letter, directed by Maia von Lekow & Chris King.

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

Post by 2018 Communications Intern Morgan Lee Hulquist. 

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.

Look Out For the Nest at the 2018 Seattle International Film Festival!

Chicken & Egg-supported filmmakers Julia Bacha, Alexandria Bombach, Christina King and Elizabeth Castle, Amy Ziering, Lorena Luciano, Laura Nix, and Chicken & Egg Pictures Board of Directors member, Alexandra Shiva, will all have documentary features at the 2018 Seattle International Film Festival!

The 44th annual event will take place May 17th-June 10th. Tickets are on sale now.

Warrior Women,  by Christina D. King and Elizabeth Castle (2017 Diversity Fellows Initiative) at the Seattle International Film Festival.

Warrior Women,  by Christina D. King and Elizabeth Castle (2017 Diversity Fellows Initiative)

The women of the American Indian Movement fight from a vulnerable place only matriarchs can understand—it is a battle for their children and the culture they hope to preserve for them. Warrior Women chronicles the struggle of Madonna Thunder Hawk and Marcy Gilbert, a Lakota mother and daughter whose fight for indigenous rights started in the 1970s and continues today at Standing Rock.

Through archival footage, verité, and video art, we experience Thunder Hawk’s dedication to Red Power and come to understand that activism is necessary for the very survival and success of Native culture and values for the next generation.

Warrior Women will have its US premiere at the Seattle International Film Festival.

Showtimes:
Monday, May 21 at 7:00 PM
Saturday, May 26 at 6:30 PM
Sunday, May 27 at 1:00 PM

Buy tickets here.

It Will Be Chaos, directed by Lorena Luciano and Filippo Piscopo at Seattle International Film Festival.

 

It Will Be Chaos, directed by Lorena Luciano and Filippo Piscopo

Life in Southern Italy is thrown into a tailspin when refugees arrive by the thousands and the locals are left to fend for themselves. Eritrean survivor Aregai, trapped in the Italian faltering immigration system, goes underground to reach Northern Europe. Through his journey, intercut with the road trip to Germany of a Syrian family, the clash between the newcomers and the locals escalates in real time.

It Will Be Chaos will have its US premiere at the Seattle International Film Festival.

Showtimes:
Saturday, May 26 at 8:30 PM
Monday, May 28 at 12:30 PM
Buy tickets here.

Note: Chicken & Egg Pictures has not directly supported the following films but has supported the filmmakers and directors in the past.

Naila and the Uprising, by Julia Bacha*

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.

Showtimes:
Thursday, June 7 at 6:30 PM
Sunday, June 10 at 12:00 PM

Buy tickets here.

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

On Her Shoulders, 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.

Showtimes:
Tuesday, May 22 at 6:00 PM
Wednesday, May 23 at 3:30 PM

Buy tickets here.

The Bleeding Edge, directed by Kirby Dick and produced by Amy Ziering*

Investigative filmmakers Kirby Dick and Amy Ziering present a searing exposé of modern medical devices, a billion dollar industry whose technological advancements have lead to unparalleled innovations, yet is rife with lax regulations, corporate cover-ups, and profit driven incentives that have lead to deadly risks for unsuspecting patients.

Showtimes:
Monday, May 28 at 1:00 PM
Wednesday, May 30 at 9:15 PM

Buy tickets here.

* Chicken & Egg Pictures did not supportThe Bleeding Edge but supported co-director Amy Ziering’s film, The Invisible War

Inventing Tomorrow, by Laura Nix (2018 Breakthrough Film Awards recipient)* at Seattle International Film Festival.

Inventing Tomorrow, by Laura Nix (2018 Breakthrough Filmmaker Award recipient)*

Meet the passionate teen innovators from around the globe who dedicate their blood, sweat, and Bunsen burners to craft cutting-edge solutions to the world’s environmental threats and present their findings at the world’s largest high school science competition, the Intel International Science and Engineering Fair.

Showtimes:
Friday, May 18 at 4:30 PM
Friday, June 1 at 6:30 PM
Saturday, June 2 at 11:30 AM

Buy tickets here.

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

This Is Home, by Alexandra Shiva (Chicken & Egg Pictures Board of Directors)*

Alexandra Shiva’s stirring, empathetic documentary chronicles the travails of four Syrian refugee families as they arrive in Baltimore with just eight months’ time allowed to find jobs, learn English, and adapt to life in the U.S. when the sudden 2017 travel ban imposed by the Trump administration further complicates their situation.

Showtimes:
Wednesday, May 30 at 6:00 PM
Thursday, May 31 at 3:30 PM

Buy tickets here.

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

For a list of all films, screening dates and times, check out the Seattle International Film Festival Guide here.

Post by 2018 Spring Programs Intern Dinayuri Rodriguez.

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.

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.