Gender Parity & Nest-supported Films at at Sundance

At Chicken & Egg Pictures we are egg-static to see two (Egg)celerator grantees and feature documentary debuts on the 2022 Sundance Film Festival program: Mija and Midwives, as well as six films by the AlumNest. The festival will come back with a hybrid format, with in-person activities in Park City, Salt Lake City and the Sundance Mountain Resort in Utah and with online events from Thursday, January 20 to Sunday, January 30. We are also excited to see that nonfiction films are once again one of the strongest sections of the festival’s program. 

Last week, Director Tabitha Jackson and Director of Programming Kim Yutani, announced this edition’s details. Yutani and Jackson shared important statistics about women filmmakers in their program selection: 

“Of the submissions to Sundance this year, only 28 percent were from women. Yet among all the features selected, 52 percent were directed by women. When asked whether the programmers decided to boost women auteurs over men, they steered around the question, saying they are always looking to promote female filmmakers. Jackson added: “The slightly depressing fact is that the figure of 28 percent submissions from women has remained pretty static across the years. It is a figure that we would wish to see higher because of what it indicates about the state of the industry. It’s surprising that so few are submitting.”

Sundance Film Festival Unveils 2022 Lineup That Reflects ‘Age of Reckoning’, Nicole Sperling

Learn more about Mija, Midwives, and AlumNest films below:


Mija

dir. Isabel Castro

prod. Tabs Breese, Isabel Castro, Yesenia Tlahuel

Still from Mija

Selected as part of the Next category
Premiering on Friday, January 21 

Get your tickets

With Doris’ voice as our guide, Mija uses VHS archive, verité footage, and camcorder vlogging to tell the story of two young women’s coming-of-age journeys as they look for success and belonging. The film is an immensely emotional and intimate portrait honoring the resilience of immigrants and their children. 


Midwives

dir. & prod. Snow Hnin Ei Hlaing

prods. Bob Moore, Ulla Lehmann, Mila Aung-Thwin

Still from Midwives
Still from Midwives

Selected as part of the World Cinema Documentary Competition 
Premiering on Monday, January 24 
Get your tickets

Hla and Nyo Nyo are two midwives that work side by side in a makeshift medical clinic in western Myanmar, where the Rohingya (a Muslim minority community) are persecuted and denied basic rights. Filmed over three tumultuous years, their remarkable relationship reveals both tensions and the hope inherent in their common cause.


From the AlumNest

AlumNest filmmakers are soaring into Sundance’s program in the U.S. Documentary Competition to the World Cinema Documentary Competition:

A special shoutout to 2018 Chicken & Egg Award recipient Natalia Almada, whose 2002 short documentary film All Water Has a Perfect Memory,  will screen online as part of the “From the Collection” program, a line-up of 40 short films selected to celebrate the 40th anniversary of the Sundance Institute. Ticket sales start Friday, December, 17.

Nest-supported Filmmakers Nominated for IDA Documentary Awards!

The Annual IDA Documentary Awards, the world’s most prestigious awards event dedicated to the documentary genre, announced their nominees and honorees

Here at Chicken & Egg Pictures, we are sending egg-stra special congratulations to the Nest-supported films that received a nomination: Writing With Fire, Ascension, Simple As Water, Manzanar, Diverted: When Water Becomes Dust, and from the AlumNest: In the Same Breath and Witness. Massive congratulations to the Nest-supported filmmakers that received a 2021 Awards Honorees: Rintu Thomas & Sushmit Ghosh (Writing With Fire) and Cecilia Aldarondo (Landfall). 

The awards ceremony will take place on Saturday, February 5, 2022 at Paramount Studios, Los Angeles; tickets will be accessible to the public in January 2022. Take a look at the nominees and honorees:

Writing With Fire

dirs. & prods. Rintu Thomas, Sushmit Ghosh

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

Nominated for Best Feature

Ascension

dir. & prod. Jessica Kingdon 

prods. Kira Simon-Kennedy and Nathan Truesdell

Still from Ascension
Still from Ascension

Nominated for Best Cinematography
Cinematographers: Jessica Kingdon and Nathan Truesdell

Simple As Water

dir. & prod. Megan Mylan

prod.  Robin Hessman

Simple As Water still
Still from Simple As Water

Nominated for Best Editing
Editors: Purcell Carson and Megan Mylan

Manzanar, Diverted: When Water Becomes Dust

dir. & prod. Ann Kaneko

prod. Jin Yoo-Kim

Still from Manzanar Diverted
Still from Manzanar, Diverted: When Water Becomes Dust

Nominated for Best Music Score
Composers: Lori Goldston, Steve Fisk and Alexander Miranda


2021 Awards Honorees

Rintu Thomas & Sushmit Ghosh

2018 (Egg)celerator Lab grantee Writing With Fire directors & producers Rintu Thomas and Sushmit Ghosh will receive the Courage Under Fire Award. 

Cecilia Aldarondo
Cecilia Aldarondo

Project: Hatched 2020 grantee Landfall director Cecilia Aldarondo will receive the Emerging Documentary Filmmaker Award.


From the AlumNest

In the Same Breath, directed & produced by 2018 Chicken & Egg Award recipient Nanfu Wang, produced by 2021 Chicken & Egg Award recipient Jialing Zhang, Carolyn Hepburn, Sara Rodriguez, Julie Goldman, and Christopher Clements, was nominated for Best Feature. Witness, produced by Nest-supported filmmaker Amber Fares, Lisa Camillo, Saad Zuberi, Emile Guertin and Reem Haddad, was nominated for Best Short Series. 

Post by Communications Intern Mariana Sanson

Meet Our Seven New Project: Hatched Grantees! 🐣

Project: Hatched 2021 grantees

Chicken & Egg Pictures proudly announced via Women & Hollywood seven new grantees of our 2021 Project: Hatched program. Both short- and feature-length projects will participate. Each project receives $20,000 toward film completion and impact campaigns and filmmaking teams participate in a six-month program with tailored mentorship and goal-setting.

“From water rights to reproductive health, the subjects of Chicken & Egg Pictures’ newest grantees are ones that come up constantly in our cultural and political conversations. These seven films push past the headlines to reveal intimate character studies that investigate how social issues impact everyday lives,” said Program Director Lucila Moctezuma. “For the first time in our Project: Hatched program, two short films were selected alongside features. Not only can shorts act as critical stepping stones to help emerging filmmakers build careers, but they also have strong potential to create impact and engage broader audiences.” 

Please click the granted films titles for more information on each project, and give these passionate and committed women and gender nonconforming directors a warm welcome to the Nest!

And So I Stayed

Directors & producers: Natalie Pattillo, Daniel A. Nelson (SINGAPORE/UNITED STATES)

And So I Stayed is a documentary about survivors of domestic violence who are unjustly incarcerated for killing their abusers in self-defense.

Daughter of a Lost Bird

Director & producer: Brooke Pepion Swaney (UNITED STATES) 
Producers: Jeri Rafter, Kendra Mylnechuk Potter

A Native adoptee reconnects with her birth family and her Lummi heritage—confronting her identity. Her singular story represents many affected by the Indian Child Welfare Act and Indian Adoption Project in the US.

Manzanar, Diverted: When Water Becomes Dust

Director & producer: Ann Kaneko (UNITED STATES)
Producer: Jin Yoo-Kim 

This film poetically weaves together memories of Payahuunadü, “the land of flowing water,” where Native Americans, Japanese-Americans, and environmentalists defend land and water from Los Angeles.

I’m Free Now, You Are Free 

Director: Ash Goh Hua (SINGAPORE) 
Producer: Arielle Knight

I’m Free Now, You Are Free is a short documentary about the reunion and repair between Mike Africa Jr. and his mother Debbie Africa—a formerly incarcerated political prisoner of the MOVE 9.

On The Divide

Directors: Maya Cueva, Leah Galant (UNITED STATES) 
Producers: Melanie Miller, Diane Becker, Amanda Spain, Elizabeth Woodward

On The Divide follows the story of three Latinx people living in McAllen, Texas who, despite their views, are connected by the most unexpected of places: the last abortion clinic on the US/Mexico border. As threats to the clinic and their personal safety mount, these three are forced to make decisions they never could have imagined.

Change The Name

Director & producer: Cai Thomas (UNITED STATES) 
Producer: Donald Conley

Student activists and educators from Village Leadership Academy campaign to change the name of a park from a slaveholder to abolitionists Anna Murray and Frederick Douglass in Chicago’s North Lawndale neighborhood.

Storm Lake 

Directors: Beth Levison, Jerry Risius (UNITED STATES) 
Producer: Beth Levison

Pulitzer Prize-winner Art Cullen and his family fight to protect their Iowan farming community through their biweekly newspaper, The Storm Lake Times—come hell or pandemic.

Read more about Project: Hatched.

Post by 2021 Communications Intern Mariana Sanson. 

Celebrating Kirsten Johnson’s Primetime Emmy® Award!

The ceremony for the 73rd Primetime Emmy® Awards was held on Sunday, September 12. 

Here at Chicken & Egg Pictures, we are egg-cited to send massive congratulations to 2017 Chicken & Egg Award recipient Kirsten Johnson on her Outstanding Directing For A Documentary/Nonfiction Program win for Dick Johnson Is Dead, prods. Katy Chevigny & Marilyn Ness. 

Congratulations Kirsten! 🥳 

Kirsten Jacobson 2017 Breakthrough Filmmaker Award
Kirsten Johnson

Read the full award winners list here, and check out the list of Nest-supported nominees here.

Post by 2021 Communications Intern Mariana Sanson. 

Congratulations to Jessica Kingdon on her two Tribeca Film Festival Awards!

The 2021 Tribeca Film Festival awards were announced last Thursday, June 17, and Chicken & Egg Pictures is proud to celebrate 2019 (Egg)celerator Lab grantee Jessica Kingdon’s two Awards! Her film Ascension received the Award for Best Documentary Feature, and Jessica received the 2021 Albert Maysles Award for Best New Documentary Director. Congratulations Jessica! 


Ascension

Ascension, dir. Jessica Kingdon

Dir. Jessica Kingdon
Prod. Kira Simon-Kennedy, Jessica Kingdon, Nathan Truesdell

Ascension examines the contemporary “Chinese Dream” through staggering observations of labor, consumerism and wealth. In cinematically exploring the aspiration that drives today’s People’s Republic of China, the film plunges into universal paradoxes of economic progress.

Post by 2021 Summer Communications Intern Mariana Sanson. 

We’re Back to the Cinemas at the 2021 Tribeca Film Festival!

The Tribeca Film Festival is celebrating its 20th anniversary with a return to the cinemas in 2021. The festival runs from Wednesday, June 9 to Sunday, June 20 with programming that can be accessed in person and virtually.

At Chicken & Egg Pictures, we are looking forward to the shared experience of film, as New Yorkers head back to the movies again. Viewers within the US can access Tribeca’s virtual programming through $15 online stream tickets.

We are also thrilled to let you know that films slated to premiere at the 2020 Tribeca Film Festival, but postponed due to COVID-19, will also screen at this year’s edition. Granted films featured in the festival include four (Egg)celerator Lab grantees from 2018 and 2019, one Project: Hatched grantee, one Chicken & Egg Award recipient film, three films from the AlumNest, and one VR project. Learn more about the films below, and get your tickets here

Ascension, dir. Jessica Kingdon


Ascension examines the contemporary “Chinese Dream” through staggering observations of labor, consumerism and wealth. In cinematically exploring the aspiration that drives today’s People’s Republic of China, the film plunges into universal paradoxes of economic progress.

World Premiere │ Tribeca Documentary Competition │ 2019 (Egg)celerator Lab

Enemies of the State, dir. Sonia Kennebeck


Enemies of the State Sonia Kennebeck 2018 Accelerator Lab

An American family becomes entangled in a bizarre web of secrets and lies when their hacker son is targeted by the U.S. government, making them all Enemies of the State.

US Premiere │ 2018 (Egg)celerator Lab

Pray Away, dir. Kristine Stolakis


Former leaders of the “pray away the gay” movement contend with the aftermath unleashed by their actions, while a survivor seeks healing and acceptance from more than a decade of trauma.

World Premiere │ 2019 (Egg)celerator Lab

Through the Night, dir. 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.

New York Premiere │ 2018 (Egg)celerator Lab

Landfall, dir. Cecilia Aldarondo


Through shard-like glimpses of everyday life in post-Hurricane María Puerto Rico, Landfall examines a ruined world at the brink of transformation, spinning a cautionary tale for our times.

Project: Hatched 2020

Stateless, dir. Michèle Stephenson


Through the grassroots campaign of electoral hopeful Rosa Iris, director Michèle Stephenson’s new documentary reveals the depths of racial hatred and institutionalized oppression that divide Haiti and the Dominican Republic.

2016 Chicken & Egg Award

Simple as Water, dir. Megan Mylan


A look at war and displacement through the lens of parenthood from Megan Mylan, Academy-Award winning director of Lost Boys of Sudan and Smile Pinki. This feature documentary unfolds as a sequence of cinematic short stories revolving around Syrian families living in Turkey, Greece, the US, Germany, and Syria. Each chapter is an intimate portrait of parents—often mothers alone—as they work to rebuild their children’s lost sense of security and possibility. It is a story that is both urgent and timeless.

World Premiere │ 2018 Grant


VR Experience

The Changing Same: Episode 1, dirs. Michèle Stephenson, Joe Brewster & Yasmin Elayat


AlumNest Films

The Sit-In: Harry Belafonte Hosts The Tonight Show, dir. Yoruba Richen (2016 Chicken & Egg Award recipient)
Selected for the 2020 Tribeca Film Festival

Women In Blue, dir. Deirdre Fishel (AlumNest for Care)
Selected for the 2020 Tribeca Film Festival

Untitled Dave Chappelle Documentary, dirs. Julia Reichert (2016 Chicken & Egg Award recipient) and Steve Bognar
Egg-citing news! This world premiere will be Tribeca’s closing night film.

See you at the cinema! Post by 2021 Summer Communications Intern Mariana Sanson. 

Two Chicken & Egg Pictures-supported Films Win at Sundance!

The 2021 Sundance Film Festival Awards were announced Tuesday, February 3. We were egg-static to see two Nest-supported films receive major awards from the Park City festival, which was held online from January 28 to Wednesday, February 3. 


Users, directed by Natalia Almada

Natalia Almada received the “Directing Award: U.S. Documentary” for Users.

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

Writing With Fire received the “Audience Award: World Cinema Documentary” and “World Cinema Documentary Special Jury Award: Impact for Change.”

Writing With Fire participated in our 2018 (Egg)elerator Lab and NEXT GEN EGG. Check out the film’s Sundance page here.


A special congratulations to AlumNest filmmaker Camilla Nielsson (Democrats) on her “World Cinema Documentary Special Jury Award: Vérité Filmmaking” for President!

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.