Ursula Liang: Dozen Days of Filmmakers — Day 12

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.

Ursula Liang is a print journalist-turned-filmmaker who has worked for The New York Times Op-Docs, The New York Times Style Magazine, ESPN The MagazineAsia Pacific Forum on WBAI, StirTVThe Jax ShowHyphen magazine, the New Yorker Festival and the 2050 Group publicity, while currently freelancing as a film and television producer and story consultant. She is a founding member of the Filipino American Museum and sits on the advisory board of the Dynasty Project. Liang grew up in Newton, Mass. and lives in the Bronx, New York. 

Ursula Liang 2017 Diversity Fellows Initiative
Down a Dark Stairwell, directed by Ursula Liang

Her debut feature, 9-Man: a Streetball Battle in the Heart of Chinatown, was broadcast on public television and called “an absorbing documentary” by the New York Times. Liang is currently working on Down a Dark Stairwell, a nuanced look at how two communities of color navigate an uneven criminal justice system, anchored by one polarizing New York City case.

Kristine Stolakis: Dozen Days of Filmmakers — Day 11

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.

PRAY AWAY Kristine StolakisKristine Stolakis is a BAFTA nominated documentary director whose films explore American systems of power and the people in them.

Her debut feature Pray Away chronicles the history and continuation of the “pray the gay away” movement and is a co-production of Multitude Films. Her directorial debut The Typist  (Hot Docs 2015) was released by KQED and is a Vimeo Staff Pick. Her documentary  Where We Stand (DOC NYC 2015) was released by The Atlantic and nominated for a BAFTA.

PRAY AWAY Kristine Stolakis
Pray Away, directed by Kristine Stolakis

She also produced ATTLA (Independent Lens), a co-production of ITVS and Vision Maker Media. Her films have received supported from the Catapult Film Fund, Tribeca Film Institute, SFFilm, Hartley Film Foundation, as well as the Chicken & Egg Pictures’ (Egg)celerator Lab for Pray Away.

She holds an MFA in Documentary from Stanford University, where she currently lectures, and a BA in Cultural Anthropology from New York University. She proudly hails from North Carolina and central New York.

Eunice Lau: Dozen Days of Filmmakers — Day 10

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.

The Youth The Youth Eunice Lau Accelerator Lab 2018Eunice Lau is an independent filmmaker and former journalist with a propensity toward stories concerning social justice. After years of reporting on Cambodia, she wrote and produced The Trouble with Waiting, which won the Grand Jury award at Busan Asian Short Film Festival 2008. Eunice has an MFA from the NYU Tisch School of the Arts, where her short documentary Through the Fire was nominated for the Student Academy Awards 2012. Between filming, she teaches documentary film at Baruch College.

The Youth The Youth Eunice Lau Arthur Nazaryan Accelerator Lab 2018
Accept the Call, directed by Eunice Lau

Her feature documentary Accept The Call, which participated in the 2018 (Egg)celerator Lab, is an unflinching look at the forces that drive one to adopt an extreme ideology. Through the eyes of a father who seeks to understand how his son is radicalized by the propaganda of the Islamic State Army, Accept the Call reveals how a Muslim American family is affected by the geopolitics and polemics that fuel the resurgence of reactionary and right-wing political movements. Through this intimate lens on the Somali community in Minnesota, Accept the Call explores the racism and prejudices against immigrants, the rise of radical Islam, and what it means to be Muslim in contemporary America.

The film had its world premiere at the Human Rights Watch Film Festival in New York City and then screened at Woodstock Film Festival. Read a write-up from Variety about the film’s screenings at the Singapore Film Festival here.

Jialing Zhang: Dozen Days of Filmmakers — Day 7

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.

Lynn Zhang 2017 Accelerator Lab Born In ChinaJialing Zhang is an independent filmmaker based in Beijing. She is co-director and editor of Complicit, which follows the intimate journey of a benzene-poisoned Chinese migrant worker who takes on the global electronic manufacturing industry. Lynn also freelances as a local producer for various media including VICE on HBO, Fusion TV, the New York Times, and independent feature documentary projects. She holds a Master’s degree from New York University in documentary filmmaking.

One Child Nation, co-directed by Nanfu Wang and Jialing Zhang

Recently, she co-directed 2017 (Egg)celerator Lab grantee One Child Nation with Nanfu Wang. One Child Nation premiered at the 2019 Sundance Film Festival, where it received the Grand Jury Prize in the US Documentary Competition. The film exposes the devastating consequences of China’s One-Child Policy through the stories of those who lived through it.

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.

Tiffany Hsiung: Dozen Days of Filmmakers — Day 1

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.

The Apology Tiffany Hsiung

Tiffany Hsiung is an international award-winning filmmaker based in Toronto who creates socially conscious work and dynamic artistry, sparking a unique energy in the stories of marginalized individuals and communities. Hsiung’s approach to storytelling is driven by the relationship that is built with the people she meets both in front and behind the lens. By shooting much of her own work, Hsiung obtains unobtrusive access to the stories she captures.

Her Nest-supported project The Apology is a film about memory, told through the relationships of three women—all former comfort women who were forced into sexual slavery during World War II—as they fight for reconciliation and justice as they struggle to make peace with the past.

The Apology Tiffany Hsiung
The Apology, directed by Tiffany Hsiung

The Apology premiered at Hot Docs in 2016, and then aired on POV on PBS in October 2018. Over the course of the last year, it has received awards like the duPont-Columbia Award and Peabody Award, among others.  

Tiffany is a graduate of Ryerson University Film Program and was awarded The Norman Jewison award. Her short film Binding Borders won the Best Toronto Focus Film Award as well as the People’s Choice Award at the 16th annual Cabbage Town Film Festival, and the Grand Jury prize for R.C.I/Canadian Broadcasting Channel, Digital Diversity.

Her work is fundamentally based on cross-cultural and intergenerational themes set to inspire younger generations and viewers to learn about their own cultures – and social responsibility in the global community.

You can keep up with Tiffany’s work on her website here, and follow The Apology on its film blog.

Nest World Premieres & More at IDFA 2019

IDFA has announced that this year’s festival features the highest percentage of women filmmakers in the event’s 31-year history: 64% of competition titles and 47% of the total program. We were egg-static to see that news, plus the world premieres of Number 387  and The Letter at IDFA this year.

IDFA is home of the second and last Chicken & Egg Award retreat of the year, where Award recipients will be taking meetings about their film projects, which are currently in development and production. Plus 2019 (Egg)celerator Lab grantees Milisuthando (working title) and Between Fire and Water and AlumNest filmmaker (A Thousand Girls Like Me) Sahra Mani’s  project Kabul Melody will be heading to the IDFA Forum from Sunday, November 24 to Wednesday, November 27.

Check out the Nest-supported films screening at IDFA below:

Number 387

2018 (Egg)celerator Lab

Chicken & Egg Pictures-supported films about Refugees/Displacement

World Premiere — IDFA Competition for Mid-Length Documentary
Directed by Madeleine Leroyer; Produced by Valérie Montmartin

Find showtimes and more information here.

The Letter

2018 Diversity Fellows Initiative (past program)

World Premiere — Frontlight
Directed and produced by Christopher King and Maia von Lekow

Find showtimes and more information here.

Buddha in Africa

 

Buddha in Africa Nicole Schafer

Dutch premiere — Best of Fests
Directed and produced by Nicole Schafer

Find showtimes and more information here.

Always in Season

2018 (Egg)celerator Lab

European Premiere — Frontlight
Directed by Jacqueline Olive; Produced by Jacqueline Olive and Jessica Devaney

Find showtimes and more information here.

One Child Nation

2017 (Egg)celerator Lab

Dutch Premiere — Best of Fests
Directed by Nanfu Wang (2018 Chicken & Egg Award) and Jialing Zhang; Produced by Nanfu Wang, Jialing Zhang, Julie Goldman, Christoph Jörg, Christopher Clements, and Carolyn Hepburn

Find showtimes and more information here.

AlumNest Films

Flower Punk
International Premiere — Luminous
Directed and produced by AlumNest filmmaker Alison Klayman (Ai Weiwei: Never Sorry) | tickets and more information here

The Brink 
Dutch Premiere — Best of Fests, Focus: The Villain
Directed by AlumNest filmmaker Alison Klayman (Ai Weiwei: Never Sorry); Produced by Alison Klayman and Marie Therese Guirgis | tickets and more information here

Desert One
Dutch Premiere — Masters
Directed by AlumNest filmmaker Barbara Kopple (2011 Chicken & Egg Pictures Celebration Award); Produced by Barbara Kopple, David Cassidy, and Eric Forman | tickets and more information here

Shoofting the Mafia
Dutch Premiere — Masters
Directed by AlumNest filmmaker Kim Longinotto (Dreamcatcher); Produced by Niamh Fagan | tickets and more information here

Celebrating Pride Month at Chicken & Egg Pictures

June marks the 50th anniversary of the Stonewall Uprising, the beginning of the modern LGBTQ liberation movement and Pride month in the US and other participating countries. At Chicken & Egg Pictures, we are proud to support  filmmakers who use intimate storytelling to showcase diverse queer stories and characters and support filmmakers who identify as members of the lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, and queer community.

Their films are powerful tools for catalyzing social change and helping to end discrimination; their stories have been and will continue to be an important part of Chicken & Egg Pictures. And this June, we encourage you to revisit these Nest-supported films that have premiered over the past fourteen years—films that increased visibility for queer issues (The F Word: A Foster-to-Adoption Story, From This Day Forward), changed hearts and minds about important human rights topics (Southwest of Salem, Love the Sinner), and helped to build momentum in LGBTQ movements around the world (Freeheld, Call Me Kuchu). 

The F Word: A Foster-to-Adopt Story, directed by Nico Opper

Season two of The F Word: A Foster-to-Adopt Story, directed by Nico Opper is supported by the Chicken & Egg Pictures Impact & Innovation Initiative.  Season 1 of The F Word revealed the story of one queer couple adopting from foster care in Oakland, CA. Season 2 continues their story while amplifying other voices in the foster care world: birth families, foster youth, adoptees, adoptive parents of color, and social entrepreneurs working to repair a broken system. Stream both seasons for free here.

From This Day Forward, directed by Sharon Shattuck

From This Day Forward, directed by Sharon Shattuck, is a moving portrayal of an American family coping with one of the most intimate of transformations. When the director’s father came out as transgender and changed her name to Trisha, Sharon was in the awkward throes of middle school. Her father’s transition to female was difficult for her straight-identified mother, Marcia, to accept, but her parents stayed together. As the Shattucks reunite to plan Sharon’s wedding, she seeks a deeper understanding of how her parents’ marriage survived the radical changes that threatened to tear them apart.

Deborah S. Esquenazi Southwest of Salem:The Story of the San Antonio Four
Southwest of Salem:The Story of the San Antonio Four, directed by Deborah S. Esquenazi

Southwest of Salem: The Story of the San Antonio Four, directed by Deborah S. Esquenazi  excavates the nightmarish persecution of Elizabeth Ramirez, Cassandra Rivera, Kristie Mayhugh, and Anna Vasquez — four Latina lesbians wrongfully convicted of allegedly gang raping two little girls. This bizarre case is the first to be adjudicated under momentous new legislation: for the first time in US history, wrongfully convicted innocents can challenge convictions based on debunked scientific evidence. The film also unravels the sinister interplay of mythology, homophobia, and prosecutorial fervor which led to this modern day witch hunt. In October 2016, Southwest of Salem had its US television premiere on Investigation Discovery to an audience of one million people, breaking viewership records. In November 2016, the San Antonio Four were exonerated by the Court of Criminal Appeals, and Southwest of Salem was cited in their report. Listen to a podcast about the film’s successful impact campaign here.

Love the Sinner, co-directed by Jessica Devaney and Geeta Gandbhir

Love the Sinner, co-directed by Jessica Devaney and Geeta Gandbhir (also a 2017 Chicken & Egg Award recipient), is a personal documentary in which queer filmmaker Jessica Devaney has a dialogue with evangelical Christians, exploring the connection between Christianity and homophobia in the wake of the shooting at Pulse nightclub in Orlando. Love the Sinner has a corresponding curriculum and discussion guide, created with the support of Bertha Foundation, helping to frame conversations in church youth groups, classrooms, student organizations, and more.

Freeheld Cynthia Wade
Freeheld, directed by Cynthia Wade

Freeheld, directed by Cynthia Wade follows detective Lieutenant Laurel Hester, who spent 25 years investigating tough cases in Ocean County, New Jersey, as she fights against the that same county’s Board of Chosen Freeholders to give her earned pension benefits to her partner, Stacie in the face of terminal lung cancer. Freeheld won the Academy Award® for Best Documentary Short Subject. The film’s ten-city theatrical release included 35 individual theatrical screenings spanning nine states, and provided a natural outreach platform for panels, press, and public dialogue concerning LGBTQ equality around the 2008 national election (when marriage rights were pending on many state ballots).

Call Me Kuchu Malika Zouhali-Worrall Katherine Fairfax Wright
Call Me Kuchu, co-directed by Malika Zouhali-Worrall and Katherine Fairfax Wright

Call Me Kuchu, co-directed by Malika Zouhali-Worrall (also a 2019 Chicken & Egg Award recipient)  and Katherine Fairfax Wright, follows David Kato, Uganda’s first openly gay man, and retired Anglican Bishop Christopher Senyonjo, as they work against the clock to defeat state-sanctioned homophobia while combatting vicious persecution in their daily lives. But no one is prepared for the brutal murder that shakes their movement to its core and sends shock waves around the world. Since the premiere of Call Me Kuchu, Ugandan activists have participated in 29 Q&As in conjunction with screenings across the world. The film was screened by the US State Department at the International AIDS Conference, and shown to the British Parliament and the High Commissioners of Commonwealth Countries. Call Me Kuchu has screened across Africa, and was featured as the opening event for the first ever Uganda Pride in 2012.

In addition to this roster of queer films previously supported by Chicken & Egg Pictures—three out of ten films participating in the current cohort of the  (Egg)celerator Lab tell queer stories: Pray Away, of the history and continuation of the “pray the gay away” or ex-gay movement; Mama Bears, about LGBTQ people who grew up in conservative, christian homes with ferociously loving and accepting mothers, who call themselves “mama bears”; and #Mickey, about someone exploring her sexual identity and dealing with the deep homophobia of her environment through the internet.

You can find out more about them and other queer films we’ve supported at this link: http://bit.ly/CHICKENEGGLGBTQ.

Nest-supported Films at AFI Docs

AFI Docs, the all-documentary film festival from American Film Institute, is just around the corner, taking place Wednesday, June 19 to Sunday, June 23 in Washington, DC and Silver Spring, Maryland.

68% of their slate of films are produced by women and almost half have a woman director or co-director. The lineup features 72 documentaries from 17 countries, including six world premieres—one of them being Nest-supported film Made In Boise.

Made in Boise directed by Beth Aala

Made In Boise, directed by Beth Aala (2018 Discretionary Grant) unveils a surprising—and booming—industry which 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.

The film will have its world premiere with director, producer Beth Aala and producer Beth Levison in attendance, as part of the Spectrum selection of AFI Docs for “filmmakers pushing the boundaries of storytelling and exploring more unconventional subject matter.”

Three other Nest-supported films are also on the list:

American Factory, directed by Julia Reichert (2016 Chicken & Egg Award recipient) and Steve Bognar will screen as the AFI Docs Centerpiece screening, with a conversation with co-directors Steven and Julia and NBC Meet The Press’s Chuck Todd to follow.

Jacqueline Olive Always in Season

Always In Season (2018 (Egg)celerator Lab), directed by Jacqueline Olive will screen as part of the Truth and Justice selection, with director Jacqueline Olive in attendance for both screenings.

One Child Nation (2017 (Egg)celerator Lab grantee), directed by Nanfu Wang  (also a 2018 Chicken & Egg Award recipient) and Jialing Zhang will also screen as part of the Truth and Justice selection, with co-director Jialing Zhang in attendance.

And don’t miss these films by former Nest grantees: Picture Character, directed by Ian Cheney and Martha Shane (co-director of Nest-supported After Tiller) and The Great Hack, directed by  Karim Amer and Jehane Noujaim (Nest-supported The Square). 

Announcing our 2019 Nest Knight Fellows!

Chicken & Egg Pictures is proud to present the first ever slate of grantees for their Nest Knight Fellowship, a pilot initiative generously supported by Knight Foundation, which is focused on identifying and supporting women or gender non-conforming nonfiction directors from cities where Knight Foundation invests who are working on their first or second feature-length documentary.

In its pilot year, the Nest Knight Fellowship supports three projects from filmmakers based in Philadelphia, PA, with each project receiving a $15,000 grant for the production of their feature-length film and benefiting from the mentorship of Chicken & Egg Pictures’ senior creative team. 

“As a New York and San Francisco based organization that has supported many projects across the US and internationally, our team knows the importance of supporting geographically diverse filmmakers and film projects,” said Lucila Moctezuma, Program Director at Chicken & Egg Pictures. “With the Nest Knight Fellowship, we are putting an emphasis on learning from the perspectives of filmmakers not based in major film hubs, so we can better understand how to support them in their filmmaking goals and increase career sustainability in the documentary industry.”

Synopses of the 2019 Nest Knight Fellows’ projects are below. Click on project titles to get to know these projects and the Philadelphia-based filmmakers behind them.

Falaka Fattah and The House of Umoja, co-directed by Jos Duncan and Jason Pollard

In 1969, when gangs were forming throughout the United States as an act of resistance and protection from police brutality, Queen Mother Falaka Fattah and her husband David Fattah opened up their home to warring gangs in the Philadelphia area out of concern for the safety of her son. In the ensuing years the Fattahs worked with over 105 gangs convincing them to a sign a pledge of peace eradicating almost all of the gang violence in Philadelphia. As gun violence spurs in Philadelphia, Queen Mother Falakah Fattah urges today’s leaders to uphold the House of Umoja movement.

Frank Bey: When You Ask Me, directed by Marie Hinson

Frank Bey: When You Ask Me is a feature documentary about an aging blues singer’s return to the stage 17 years after music broke his heart. Frank Bey’s incredible journey reaches a climactic year as he overcomes the loss of his backing band to record his dream album in Nashville.

Storming, directed by Katrina Sorrentino

An intimate portrait of resolute parenthood pushed toward the brink in the face of tragedy and injustice, Storming follows the daily lives and challenges of Ken and Sue Diviney, nine years following a violent attack which left their son Ryan in a vegetative state with a severe traumatic brain injury. Dictated by their decision to continue full-time care for Ryan, Ken struggles emotionally with the idea of legacy and fatherhood lost on his son as he navigates life as a primary caretaker while Sue battles insurance and finances, holding out hope for Ryan’s unlikely recovery.

The Nest Knight Fellowship for first- and second-time filmmakers based in Philadelphia, PA is generously supported by Knight Foundation.