Nest-supported Films at the 2021 Sundance Film Festival

We’re soaring (digitally) into the 2021 Sundance Film Festival this month, taking place from Thursday, January 28 to Wednesday, February 3. Tickets are now on sale to see the following Nest-supported filmmakers and films from anywhere in the United States: 

Users, directed by Natalia Almada

“A mother wonders, will my children love their perfect machines more than they love me, their imperfect mother? She switches on a smart-crib lulling her crying baby to sleep. This perfect mother is everywhere. She watches over us, takes care of us. We listen to her. We trust her.”
Natalia Almada worked on Users during her 2018 Chicken & Egg Award year and the project participated in NEXT GEN EGG. Check out the film’s Sundance page here.


Writing With Fire, directed by Rintu Thomas and Sushmit Ghosh

Writing With Fire, directed by Rintu Thomas and Sushmit Ghosh 2018 Accelerator Lab

In a cluttered news landscape dominated by men, emerges India’s only newspaper run by Dalit women. Armed with smartphones, Chief Reporter Meera and her journalists break traditions, be it on the frontlines of India’s biggest issues or within the confines of their homes, redefining what it means to be powerful.
Writing With Fire participated in our 2018 (Egg)elerator Lab and NEXT GEN EGG. Check out the film’s Sundance page here.


The Changing Same — Lead Artists: Michèle Stephenson, Joe Brewster, and Yasmin Elayat

Changing Same Michèle Stephenson Joe Brewster Impact Innovation Initiative 2018

“This immersive, episodic experience uses time travel and magical realism to pilgrimage through the evolution of racial violence in the U.S., making vital connections between the past and present. Episode 1 introduces the time travel portal—the Cracker House—and begins with a police altercation in a quiet suburb of modern-day New Jersey. The police altercation leads to mass incarceration and a slave warehouse, while hurtling toward a glimpse of a radiant post-racial utopia.”
The Changing Same received a 2017 Impact and Innovation Grant, a past Chicken & Egg Pictures program. You need a Desktop-tethered VR Headset to participate; learn more about the project here.


AlumNest Filmmakers

Our AlumNest is the 325+ women and gender nonconforming filmmakers we have supported in our sixteen years as an organization. Check out these projects by supported filmmakers at the upcoming Sundance Film Festival:

Bring Your Own Brigade, directed by Lucy Walker (The Lion’s Mouth Opens)

Prison X – Chapter 1 : The Devil and The Sun — Lead Artists: Violeta Ayala (Cocaine Prison), Alap Parikh, Maria Corvera Vargas, Roly Elias

Try Harder! directed by Debbie Lum (Seeking Asian Female)

President, directed by Camilla Nielsson (Democrats)

In The Same Breath, directed by Nanfu Wang (2018 Chicken & Egg Award, One Child Nation)

Documenting Democracy at Chicken & Egg Pictures

As a nonprofit based in the United States, the Chicken & Egg Pictures team and many of the artist-activists we support have been closely following the recent election, watching as our country voted for a new leader in a time of global crisis. 

Films about democracy and elections have long added to conversations about the democratic process on the national and international level and told the stories of our nations. As the US election cycle comes to a close, the following documentaries by women filmmakers from the past fifteen years of our organization are on our mind. Here are a few films by Nest-supported filmmakers that have used intimate storytelling to convey the power of democracy:


Still from Councilwoman

Councilwoman, directed by Margo Guernsey, follows a hotel housekeeper from the Dominican Republic who wins a City Council seat in Providence, Rhode Island. Carmen balances cleaning hotel rooms with navigating a political establishment that does not easily acquiesce to the needs of working people.
Watch on Vimeo

Democrats Camilla Nielsson
Still from Democrats

In Democrats, directed by Camilla Nielsson, two politicians from rival parties in Zimbabwe oversee the creation of a new constitution following the election of Robert Mugabe as president in 2008.
Watch on Apple TV.

Still from And She Could Be Next

And She Could Be Next, co-directed by Grace Lee (Chicken & Egg Award Recipient) and Marjan Safinia (Chicken & Egg Pictures Board), tells the story of a defiant movement of women of color, transforming politics from the ground up. The series follows candidates and organizers across the country, asking whether democracy itself can be preserved—and made stronger—by those most marginalized, featuring history-makers including Rashida Tlaib, Stacey Abrams, Lucy McBath, Bushra Amiwala, Maria Elena Durazo, Veronica Escobar, Nse Ufot and more. Watch on PBS

Still from Once Upon a Time in Venezuela

Once Upon a Time in Venezuela, directed by Anabel Rodríguez Ríos
On Lake Maracaibo, beneath the mysterious silent Catatumbo lightning, the village of Congo Mirador is preparing for parliamentary elections. For streetwise local businesswoman and Chavist party representative Tamara, every vote counts, fought by all means. While for opposition-supporting teacher Natalie, politics is a weapon that is unsuccessfully attempting to force her from her job. And with her sharp eyes, little Yohanny sees her community sinking from sedimentation, her childhood and innocence with it. How can a small fishing village survive against corruption, pollution and political decay—a reflection of all the flaws of contemporary Venezuela? If you are in the US, tune into DOC NYC to watch from November 11 – 19. Tickets here

Still from “I Am Not Going to Change 400 Years in Four.”

I Am Not Going to Change 400 Years in Four,” directed by Angela Tucker and 2016 Chicken & Egg Award Recipient Kristi Jacobson, follows Satana Deberry as she takes the oath of office as district attorney of Durham County, North Carolina. Satana is a Black woman elected to an office historically held by white men whose “tough on crime” policies have devastated communities of color for decades. Now, she faces the complicated realities of seeking to reform a deeply flawed criminal justice system, and a community ravaged by gun violence. Her story is at once inspiring and empowering—and also a call to action, for voters across the US. “I Am Not Going to Change 400 Years in Four” was produced by Chicken & Egg Pictures in partnership with Mother Jones. Watch on Mother Jones

The Supreme Price Joanna Lipper
Still from The Supreme Price

The Supreme Price, directed by Joanna Lipper, traces the evolution of the Pro-Democracy Movement in Nigeria and efforts to increase the participation of women in leadership roles. Following the annulment of her father’s victory in Nigeria’s Presidential Election and her mother’s assassination by agents of the military dictatorship, Hafsat Abiola faces the challenge of transforming a corrupt culture of governance into a democracy capable of serving Nigeria’s most marginalized population: women.
Watch at Women Make Movies.


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.