Congratulations to Kelly Duane de la Vega, Yvonne Welbon, and AlumNest filmmakers on their Academy Membership!
The Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences announced on Tuesday 819 new members invited to join their membership ranks, with 36% of invitees from underrepresented racial and ethnic communities and 45% women.
We are so proud to see two Chicken & Egg Pictures team members on the list: Head of Partnerships & Impact Kelly Duane de la Vega and Senior Creative Consultant Yvonne Welbon were invited to the Academy’s documentary branch! Congratulations to Yvonne, Kelly, as well as 9 AlumNest filmmakers on their Academy membership invitation status.
Find the full list of Nest members and grantees joining The Academy and learn more about them below:
Chicken & Egg Pictures Team
Kelly Duane de la Vega, Head of Partnerships & Impact at Chicken & Egg Pictures, plays an integral role in several of our programs, including Docs by the Dozen and Project: Hatched. She is also an independent director, producer, writer, and impact campaign strategist. Her feature documentaries have screened at film festivals worldwide, opened theatrically, and broadcast nationally on POV/PBS and Netflix. Kelly is a member of our AlumNest and was a Nest-supported grantee for The Return.
Yvonne Welbon, Senior Creative Consultant at Chicken & Egg Pictures, is an award-winning independent filmmaker, producer, educator, entrepreneur, and consultant. She has successfully produced and distributed over 20 films including Living With Pride: Ruth Ellis @100, winner of ten best documentary awards and Sisters in Cinema, a documentary on the history of black women feature film directors. Her films have been shown on PBS, Starz/Encore, TV-ONE, IFC, Bravo, the Sundance Channel, BET, HBO, and in over 100 film festivals around the world.
Violeta Ayala (Cocaine Prison) is a Quechua film director, producer, writer and artist. She is best known for directing the award winning documentaries Cocaine Prison (2017), The Fight (2017), The Bolivian Case (2015), and Stolen (2009). She is an alumnus of the Film Independent, IFP, Berlinale, HotDocs, and Good Pitch, and is a Tribeca and Sundance Fellow. Violeta writes about the War on Drugs for the Huffington Post and is a recipient of the 2013 Bertha Britdoc Journalism Award.
Julia Bacha (2019 Chicken & Egg Award Recipient, Budrus) is a Peabody Award-winning filmmaker, Guggenheim fellow, and Creative Director at Just Vision. Her directing credits also include My Neighbourhood (2012) and Naila and the Uprising (2017).
Sophie Deraspe (The Amina Profile) is one of the leading figures of new Quebec cinema. She directed feature documentary Le profil Amina/A Gay Girl in Damascus: The Amina Profile, which was selected as a World Cinema Documentary at Sundance and won the Special Jury Prize at Hot Docs. Her feature narrative Antigone was chosen as Best Canadian Feature at the Toronto International Film Festival and represented Canada at the Oscars in the category Best International Feature Film.*
Alma Har’el (LoveTrue) began her work as a photographer and a video jockey in dance clubs, before becoming a music video director. Her film Bombay Beach received a nomination for a 2011 Independent Spirit “Truer than Fiction” Award and has been taught in several universities, including Harvard’s Sensory Ethnography Lab and Film Center. Har’el creates narrative work that plunges deep into the heart of imagination and creates surreal, dream-like poetic meditations on life.*
Robin Hessman (My Perestroika) is a is a documentary filmmaker and independent producer whose most recent film, My Perestroika, premiered at Sundance and received a Peabody Award in 2012. In addition to My Perestroika, Robin is co-producer of the Peabody-Award winning film, Tupperware!, and the PBS biography of Julia Child.
Nishtha Jain (2020 Chicken & Egg Award Recipient) is a multi-award-winning filmmaker best known for her films Saboot (2019), Gulabi Gang (2012), Lakshmi and Me (2007) and City of Photos (2004); her films are self-reflexive and explore the political in the personal, a recurring theme in her films being work or travail. She is a 2019 Fulbright Scholar and Film Independent Global Media Make.
Yoruba Richen (2016 Chicken & Egg Award Recipient, The New Black) is a documentary filmmakers whose work explores issues of race, space, and power. Her new film The Green Book: Guide to Freedom premiered on the Smithsonian Channel in 2019, and her most recent project The Sit-In: Harry Belafonte Hosts The Tonight Show was selected for the 2020 Tribeca Film Festival.
Michèle Stephenson (2016 Chicken & Egg Award Recipient, The Changing Same: The Untitled Racial Justice Project) pulls from her Caribbean roots and international experience as a human rights attorney to tell compelling personal stories that resonate beyond the margins. Her work has appeared on platforms like PBS, Showtime, and MTV. Her newest film Stateless (Apátrida) reveals the depths of racial hatred and institutionalized oppression that divide Haiti and the Dominican Republic and was selected for the 2020 Tribeca Film Festival.
Mila Turajlić (2020 Chicken & Egg Award Recipient) is an award-winning director and archive scholar born in Belgrade, Yugoslavia. Her films include The Other Side of Everything and Cinema Komunisto. In 2018, she was commissioned by MoMA to create archive-based video installations for their landmark exhibition on Yugoslav modernist architecture.
*Sophie Deraspe and Alma Har’el were invited to the Academy under the Directors category.
Congratulations to all!
Mark your calendars for June 29 and 30! The Chicken & Egg Pictures team will be viewing And She Could Be Next this Sunday, June 29 and Monday, June 30 on our local PBS stations. And She Could Be Next, directed by Chicken & Egg Award recipient Grace Lee and Chicken & Egg Pictures Board Member Marjan Safinia, tells the story of a defiant movement of women of color, transforming politics from the ground up.
And She Could Be Next was also field directed by Chicken & Egg Award recipients Yoruba Richen and Geeta Gandbhir and AlumNest filmmakers Amber Fares (Speed Sisters), Deborah S. Esquenazi (Southwest of Salem), and Anayansi Prado (Children in No Man’s Land). 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.
Monday, June 29
Episode One: Building The Movement opens with the powerful reminder that “women of color have been the backbone of our communities forever.” An energetic montage of modern American civil rights movements–from women’s suffrage to Stonewall, Black Lives Matter to Standing Rock–brings us to the 2018 midterm elections where a new generation of women of color is ready to take the lead. The documentary goes behind-the-scenes at local rallies, war rooms and church basements, where candidates and organizers embark on the campaign trail. We also witness the unique challenges they face, from well-resourced incumbents to systemic barriers that disproportionately affect black, brown and immigrant communities. As we get to know these women, we see how they do not live “single issue lives” but are each a product of a larger movement–one that is coalition-based, intergenerational and interfaith.
Tuesday, June 30
Episode Two: Claiming Power takes us to the weeks leading up to election day and focuses on how organizers combat voter suppression in their own communities. At the heart of the episode is a growing multi-ethnic coalition in Georgia, a state with a rich history of civil rights organizing and poised to be a “majority minority” state as early as 2025. In addition to the New Georgia Project, groups like Mijente and Asians for Abrams put boots on the ground to address language barriers, poll purges and “exact match” laws that impact thousands of voters across the state. As results roll in, there is celebration for some and disappointment for others–but for these community organizers, the work does not stop when the polls close. Through it all, these women present a collective vision of political power that is rooted in care, dignity and joy, and remind us that there is an organizer in all of us.
Learn more about And She Could Be Next here.
Nest-supported films at the Human Rights Watch Film Festival
New York Digital Edition from Thursday, June 11 to Saturday, June 20
Coded Bias, directed by Shalini Kantayya (Project: Hatched 2020), explores the fallout of MIT Media Lab researcher Joy Buolamwini’s startling discovery that facial recognition does not see dark-skinned faces accurately, and her subsequent journey to push for the first-ever US legislation to govern against bias in artificial intelligence. The documentary aims to shine a light on the threat artificial intelligence poses to civil rights and democracy.
Watch the film until Saturday, June 20 on the Human Rights Watch Film Festival website, and view the recording of the live Q&A with the filmmaker Shalini Kantayya, Safiya Noble, Deborah Raji, Coded Bias character Joy Buolamwini, Lee Rowland and moderated by Deborah Brown here.
Down a Dark Stairwell, directed by Ursula Liang (2017 Diversity Fellows Initiative), is a nuanced look at how two communities of color navigate an uneven criminal justice system, anchored by one polarizing New York City case.
Watch the film until Saturday, June 20 on the Human Rights Watch Film Festival website, and view the recording of the live Q&A with the filmmaker Ursula Liang, Brandon D. Anderson, Steven Choi, Dreisen Heath, and moderated by Gerry Johnson here.
Tre Maison Dasan on WORLD Channel
Tre Maison Dasan (2016 (Egg)celerator Lab), directed by Denali Tiller, is a story that explores parental incarceration through the eyes of three boys—Tre, Maison, and Dasan. Following their interweaving trajectories through boyhood marked by the criminal justice system, and told directly through the child’s perspective, the film unveils the challenges of growing up and what it means to become a man in America.
Re-broadcasting on WORLD Channel on Sunday, June 21 at 10 pm ET and Monday, June 22 at 2 am ET and 10am ET.
Nest-supported films at AFI DOCS
Digital Edition from Wednesday, June 17 to Sunday, June 21
AlumNest screenings at AFI DOCS include 9to5: The Story of a Movement, directed by Julia Reichert (Chicken & Egg Award recipient) and Steve Bognar; And She Could Be Next, co-directed by Grace Lee (Chicken & Egg Award recipient) and Marjan Safinia (Chicken & Egg Pictures Board Member); Flower Punk, directed by Alison Klayman; Memoirs of Vegetation, directed by Jessica Oreck; and Women in Blue, directed by Deirdre Fishel.
As an organization and as the individuals who make up our team, we mourn the deaths of George Floyd, Breonna Taylor, Nina Pop, Tony McDade, David McAtee, Dreasjon “Sean” Reed, Ahmaud Arbery, and the immeasurable loss of all Black lives at the hands of state-sanctioned police violence and white supremacy.
At Chicken & Egg Pictures, we unequivocally support and stand in solidarity with the protestors who are risking their own lives as they demand justice and fight against the anti-Black violence and racism that is endemic to all parts of our society. We cannot fulfill our mission without actively working to advance this movement and build a more just world.
Announced via Women & Hollywood today, we are proud to present the ten grantees of the 2020 (Egg)celerator Lab for emerging documentary filmmakers, set to receive a total of $400,000 toward their first or second feature-length documentaries.
This year, participants hail from eight different countries including Brazil, Cambodia, Myanmar, and Spain, and include filmmakers such as Gucci Tribeca Documentary Fund recipient Snow (Hnin Ei Hlaing), PitchBLACK winner Nailah Jefferson, and Emmy-winning producer Violet Du Feng. Several films in this cohort explore similar themes through vastly different subjects: A Photographic Memory, Black Mothers, and Machtat tell stories of motherhood through art and memory, racial injustice, and marriage in the context of patriarchy. Commuted and Polaris are both stories of women’s lives after incarceration, one taking place in New Orleans and the other between France and the Arctic.
Please click the granted film’s titles for more information on each project and give these women filmmakers a warm welcome to the Nest.
Directors: Violet Du Feng, Zhao Qing (CHINA)
Two young Chinese Millennials in rural and metropolitan China look toward the wisdom of an ancient, secret woman-only script in order to navigate their lives in a world still dominated by men.
Director: Neary Adeline Hay (CAMBODIA/FRANCE)
The survival story of a mother and her daughter, the filmmaker, through the desperate flight from a crumbling Cambodia after the collapse of the Khmer Rouge regime.
Director: Snow (Hnin Ei Hlaing) (MYANMAR)
Two midwives work side by side in a makeshift medical clinic.
Director: Nailah Jefferson (US)
Commuted is an intimate look at the life of Danielle Metz and the familial impacts of long-term incarceration.
Stories from the Debris
Director: Jennifer Rainsford (SWEDEN/UK)
With the Japanese Tsunami of 2011 as a backdrop, Stories from the Debris assembles a collection of poetic stories about how humans and nature rebuild after trauma.
The Boy and the Suit of Lights
Director: Inma de Reyes (SPAIN/SCOTLAND)
Hoping to rescue his family from poverty, young Borja is torn between tradition and progress as he trains to fulfil his family’s dream of him becoming a bullfighter.
Director: Débora Souza Silva (BRAZIL)
Violence. Outrage. Impunity. Repeat. Black Mothers follows the journey of two women working to disrupt the cycle of racist police violence within our country’s judicial system.
A Photographic Memory
Director: Rachel Elizabeth Seed (US)
A photographer attempts to piece together a portrait of her mother, Sheila Turner-Seed, a daring journalist and a woman she never knew. Uncovering the vast archive Turner-Seed produced, including lost interviews with iconic photographers, the film explores memory, legacy, and stories left untold.
Director: Sonia Ben Slama (FRANCE/TUNISIA)
Machtat chronicles the daily life of Fatma and her daughters Najeh and Waffeh, wedding musicians in a small town in Tunisia.
Director: Ainara Vera (SPAIN)
Polaris tells the story of two French sisters with opposite lives that reconnect with one another to support the life of a newborn baby.
Note: The parentheses next to the directors’ names indicate the directors’ country or countries of origin.
The 2020 Tribeca line-up for feature films is out! And there’s plenty to see from the Nest. Making their world premieres at Tribeca Film Festival this year are three films (Enemies of the State, Pray Away, and Through the Night) from our (Egg)celerator Lab program in 2018 and 2019, one film supported through our Chicken & Egg Award (Stateless), and one film supported through a grant in 2018 (Simple As Water).
AlumNest filmmakers screening at Tribeca include directors such as Chicken & Egg Award recipients Dawn Porter (premiering John Lewis: Good Trouble) and Yoruba Richen (premiering The Sit-In: Harry Belafonte Hosts The Tonight Show).
Here is your Nest guide to the upcoming Tribeca Film Festival, from Wednesday, April 15 to Sunday, April 26:
Enemies of the State, directed by Sonia Kennebeck
2018 (Egg)celerator Lab
An average American family becomes entangled in a bizarre web of espionage and corporate secrets when their hacker son is targeted by the US government.
Pray Away, directed by Kristine Stolakis
2019 (Egg)celerator Lab
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
Simple As Water, directed by Megan Mylan
Megan Mylan’s closely observed fragments of lives cut between Turkey, Greece, Germany, and the US. Each unfolding scene portrays the elemental bonds holding together Syrian families pulled apart by war, searching for a new life.
Stateless (Apátrida), directed by Michèle Stephenson
2016 Chicken & Egg Award
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.
Through the Night, directed by Loira Limbal
2018 (Egg)celerator Lab
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.
John Lewis: Good Trouble, directed by Dawn Porter (2017 Chicken & Egg Award recipient)
The Sit-In: Harry Belafonte Hosts The Tonight Show, directed by Yoruba Richen
Picture a Scientist, directed by Ian Cheney and Sharon Shattuck (From This Day Forward)
Women in Blue, directed by Deirdre Fishel (Care)
Also premiering at Tribeca is Athlete A, directed by Bonni Cohen and Jon Shenk, which is produced by our Co-Founder Julie Parker Benello, along with Serin Marshall and Jen Sey.
Congratulations to these filmmakers on their premieres!
Congratulations to Chicken & Egg Pictures team member Sabine Fayoux Cantillo on her new role of Program Manager. As Program Manager, Sabine plays a key role in the planning and implementation of several programs including the Chicken & Egg Award for advanced-career filmmakers; Next Gen Egg, a one-day event that brings together supported filmmakers, funders, and industry representatives; and AlumNest, which includes over 300 filmmakers to date. Prior to 2020, she coordinated and led all logistics for Chicken & Egg Pictures’ flagship programs including open calls, creative retreats, and direct support to filmmakers; launched an online platform for the AlumNest program; and oversaw the Nest Knight Fellowship, a pilot initiative for Philadelphia-based filmmakers supported by Knight Foundation. She has also been instrumental in the (Egg)celerator Lab program for first- and second-time filmmakers.
Before joining Chicken & Egg Pictures, Sabine gained diverse experience in the nonfiction field: from Production Assistant and Field Researcher at Loki Films to Box Office Manager at the Margaret Mead Film Festival to working with the programming staff at America ReFramed. She has been a screener for the Margaret Mead Film Festival, America ReFramed and POV. In 2019, Sabine was selected to be a participant in Film at Lincoln Center’s 4th annual Industry Academy and participated in Creative Capital’s Taller, a career development program for Spanish-speaking Latinx artists in New York City. Sabine is an emerging filmmaker currently working on a film about emotional inheritance and is passionate about analog photography. She is Colombian and French, and holds a BA in Sociology from the Université Paris-Diderot, as well as a MA in Visual Anthropology from the University of Barcelona.
Thanks for all you do for the Nest, Sabine!
Chicken & Egg Pictures is proud to announce the first-ever participants of our newest program Project: Hatched, a completion fund which provides a $20,000 grant to selected directors in the lead up to their film premiere. $15,000 of the grant is for finishing funds and $5,000 is earmarked for impact strategy development. Participants also receive ten hours of mentorship focusing on festival premiere support, impact and distribution strategy, and professional development.
We also partnered with our friends at The Fledgling Fund for the
Chicken & Egg Pictures/Fledgling Fund Impact Grant, which provides an additional $20,000 to a Project: Hatched film whose campaign strategy has the ability to shape national and international conversations around the world’s most pressing issues. Congratulations to Coded Bias, directed by Shalini Kantayya, for being the first recipient of the Chicken & Egg Pictures/Fledgling Fund Impact Grant!
Coded Bias (Chicken & Egg Pictures/Fledgling Fund Impact Grant recipient), directed by Shalini Kantayya, explores the fallout of MIT Media Lab researcher Joy Buolamwini’s startling discovery that facial recognition does not see dark-skinned faces accurately, and her subsequent journey to push for the first-ever US legislation to govern against bias in artificial intelligence.*
The Fight, co-directed by Elyse Steinberg, Josh Kriegman, and
Eli Despres, documents a team of scrappy ACLU lawyers battling Trump’s historic assault on civil liberties.*
Once Upon a Time in Venezuela, directed by Anabel Rodríguez, follows residents of a small fishing village as they prepare for parliamentary election. Once the village of Congo Mirador was prosperous. Now it is decaying and disintegrating—a prophetic reflection of Venezuela itself.*
*Premiering at the 2020 Sundance Film Festival.
Chicken & Egg Pictures is proud to announce the fifth cohort of our Chicken & Egg Award, which recognizes and elevates five experienced documentary makers. This is the first year the Award has been opened to internationally-based filmmakers, and the six recipients hail from Canada, Chile, India, Serbia, Norway, and the US and have explored such diverse subjects as aging, artificial intelligence, and Indigenous rights.
In addition to a $50,000 unrestricted cash award and a year-long mentorship program, recipients also receive dedicated support from the Chicken & Egg Pictures creative team geared toward the development of new documentary projects.
Maite Alberdi is a Chilean director whose particular style is characterized by an intimate portrait of small worlds. She is one of the most important voices in Latin American documentaries. Her films include The Lifeguard (2011), Tea Time (2014), I Am Not From Here (2016), The Grown-Ups (2016), and The Mole Agent (2020).
Tonje Hessen Schei is an award-winning Norwegian filmmaker and director of iHuman (2019), Drone (2014), Play Again (2010), and Independent Intervention (2005)—films that have received awards like The Golden Nymph Award and Norway’s national film awards, the Amanda and Gullruten awards for best documentary.
Nishtha Jain is a multi-award-winning filmmaker best known for her films Saboot (2019), Gulabi Gang (2012), Lakshmi and Me (2007) and City of Photos (2004); her films are self-reflexive and explore the political in the personal, a recurring theme in her films being work or travail. She is a 2019 Fulbright Scholar and Film Independent Global Media Make.
Michelle Latimer is a Métis/Algonquin filmmaker, actor, and producer; her goal is to use film and new media as a tool for social change. Her recent projects include Rise (Viceland, Sundance 2017) and Nuuca (TIFF, Berlinale, Sundance 2017). Her Indigenous heritage informs her filmmaking perspective.
Kimberly Reed is the director of Dark Money and Prodigal Sons, the first documentary by a transgender filmmaker to be theatrically released, which won 14 international awards. She is one of Filmmaker’s “25 New Faces of Independent Film” and a member of the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences.
Mila Turajlić is an award-winning director and archive scholar born in Belgrade, Yugoslavia. Her films include The Other Side of Everything and Cinema Komunisto. In 2018, she was commissioned by MoMA to create archive-based video installations for their landmark exhibition on Yugoslav modernist architecture.
Egg-citing news! Announced today, filmmakers Laura Nix and Julia Reichert received Oscar nominations for their nonfiction films Walk Run Cha-Cha and American Factory, respectively.
Directed by Julia Reichert (2016 Chicken & Egg Award) and Steve Bognar; Produced by Julia Reichert, Steve Bognar, Jeff Reichert, and Chicken & Egg Pictures Co-Founder Julie Parker Benello
Nominated for Documentary Feature
We are so proud to have supported Laura and Julia through our Chicken & Egg Award program and wish them the best of luck! You can stream American Factory on Netflix and Walk Run Cha-Cha on New York Times Op-Docs.
The 92nd Academy Awards will take place on Sunday, February 9, 2020. A full list the full list of nominees can be seen here.