Meet the newest member of our team: Filmmaker Engagement Manager Jaad Asante.
Before joining the Chicken & Egg Pictures program team, Jaad worked at Cinetic Media, where she identified and assessed strong fiction and nonfiction projects for financing, management, and sales opportunities. She is fascinated by the evolution of the documentary form and is excited to be at an organization that encourages and supports adventurous and impactful nonfiction filmmaking.
As Filmmaker Engagement Manager at Chicken & Egg Pictures, Jaad’s work focuses on fostering a strong AlumNest community and increasing their access to resources and opportunities by connecting them with potential funders, partners, and networks. She will produce the NEXT GEN EGG event and manage Docs by the Dozen, the organization’s shorts and series initiative.
We’re so egg-cited to have Jaad in our Nest. To learn more about her, visit our team page.
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.
Writing With Fire, directed by Rintu Thomas and Sushmit Ghosh
Writing With Fire received the “Audience Award: World Cinema Documentary” and “World Cinema Documentary Special Jury Award: Impact for Change.”
A special congratulations to AlumNest filmmaker Camilla Nielsson (Democrats) on her “World Cinema Documentary Special Jury Award: Vérité Filmmaking” for President!
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
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
“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.
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)
Chicken & Egg Pictures is celebrating the holiday season and saying farewell to 2020 by featuring a dozen Nest-supported women and gender nonconforming filmmakers. For more Dozen Days of Filmmakers, see here.
Alexandra Codina’s newest film Paper Children (Niños de papel), an (Egg)celerator Lab grantee and Knight Foundation funded film, explores America’s invisible refugee crisis through the eyes of one Miami family who navigate a broken system with unwavering resilience. The film is a Youtube Original and is available to stream for free. Alexandra also wrote about Paper Children and moving “beyond the politics of asylum” for our blog series Letters from the AlumNest.
Her debut film Monica & David, also a Nest-supported project which premiered in 2009, tells the love story of two adults with Down syndrome. The film won Tribeca Film Festival’s Jury Award, was nominated for an Emmy Award, premiered on HBO, and broadcast in 33 countries. Monica & David was featured in the New York Times, Washington Post, Newsweek, ABC, Harper’s Bazaar, Variety, and Latina Magazine.
In addition to Chicken & Egg Pictures, Alexandra’s work has also been supported by The Fledgling Fund, The Perspective Fund, Sundance Knight Fellowship, South Florida Arts Consortium & Tribeca All Access. She is currently producing Untitled: Chinese in Africa Project with Jialing Zhang (director/producer of (Egg)celerator Lab grantee One Child Nation). The daughter of Cuban refugees, Alexandra lives in Miami and is the mother of two young boys.
A special congratulations to the following Nest-supported filmmakers who were selected for DOC NYC’s famous Short Lists for contenders for the documentary short category and contenders for feature documentary category. DOC NYC Film Festival is the largest nonfiction film festival in the US and runs from Wednesday, November 11 to Thursday, November 19.
DOC NYC’s Short Lists are influential for their steady track record of anticipating Academy Award nominees and winners. Check out the Nest-supported films screening at the festival here; the films are available to watch across the US.
DOC NYC Short List: Features
Nowhere is the worldwide erosion of democracy, fueled by social media disinformation campaigns, more starkly evident than in the authoritarian regime of Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte. Journalist Maria Ressa places the tools of the free press—and her freedom—on the line in defense of truth and democracy.
With this inventive portrait, a cameraperson seeks a way to keep her 86-year-old father alive forever. Utilizing moviemaking magic and her family’s dark humor, she celebrates Dr. Dick Johnson’s last years by staging fantasies of death and beyond. Together, dad and daughter confront the great inevitability awaiting us all.
The Fight documents a team of scrappy ACLU lawyers battling Trump’s historic assault on civil liberties.
Congratulations to AlumNest filmmakers Kirby Dick and Amy Ziering, whose new film On the Record made the DOC NYC Short List: Features and will screen at the fest. Kirby and Amy were supported by Chicken & Egg Pictures for their project The Invisible War.
DOC NYC Short List: Shorts
Congratulations to the following AlumNest filmmakers on their shortlisted short films: Chicken & Egg Award Recipient Geeta Gandbhir for Call Center Blues, Tiffany Hsiung for Sing Me A Lullaby, Alison Klayman for Flower Punk, and Sharmeen Obaid-Chinoy for A Life Too Short.
*These projects were supported by Chicken & Egg Pictures during the filmmakers’ Chicken & Egg Award year.
Our Nest-supported filmmaking community is soaring into DOC NYC Film Festival, which runs virtually from Wednesday, November 11 to Thursday, November 19. Ten supported films across many of our core programs— (Egg)celerator Lab films by emerging filmmakers, projects by advanced-career Chicken & Egg Awardees, and films from our inaugural Project: Hatched completion program—are official selections. Plus A Cops and Robbers Story, directed by directed by Ilinca Calugareanu, will make its world premiere at the New York festival! Learn more about the ten projects below, and get your tickets for DOC NYC here.
9to5: The Story of a Movement, directed by Julia Reichert and Steven Bognar | Tickets here
“In the early 1970s, secretaries and other female office workers were underpaid, undervalued, unable to advance, and often subject to sexual harassment. In the wake of the Women’s Liberation Movement, a group of women in Boston finally had enough, joining together to begin 9to5, a movement that would sweep the nation with irreverent, attention-getting actions to demand meaningful change—and later inspire the eponymous hit film and song.”*
A Cops and Robbers Story, directed by Ilinca Călugăreanu | Tickets here (World Premiere)
In the 1980s, Corey Pegues found himself embroiled in a life of crime as a member of New York’s City’s infamous Supreme Team gang. After an incident forces Pegues away from the streets, he unexpectedly emerges as a rising star in the NYPD, his past unknown to his fellow officers. A decorated 21-year police career is threatened when his political stances and revelations about his former life cause strife within the police community.
Down a Dark Stairwell, directed by Ursula Liang | Tickets here
In 2014, Peter Liang, a Chinese-American police officer, shot and killed an innocent, unarmed black man named Akai Gurley in the dark stairwell of a Brooklyn housing project. In the midst of high racial tension surrounding police conduct, Liang becomes the first NYPD officer to receive a guilty verdict in such a case in over a decade. The highly publicized incident polarizes New York’s Asian and African American communities’ in this insightful look into the complexities of police reform.
Enemies of the State, directed by Sonia Kennebeck | Tickets here
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.
Landfall, directed by Cecilia Aldarondo | Tickets here
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.
Stateless (Apátrida), directed by Michèle Stephenson | Tickets here
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 |Tickets here
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.
The Letter, directed by Maia von Lekow and Chris King | Tickets here
Along the coast of Kenya, a frenzied mix of consumerism and Christianity is turning hundreds of families against their elders, branding them as witches as a means to steal their land. Ninety-two-year-old Margaret Kamango stands accused by her sons, while her strong-willed daughters try to protect her. This dangerous dispute is seen through the eyes of Margaret’s grandson, Karisa, who returns home from the city to investigate and is ultimately forced to choose which side he is on.
Once Upon A Time In Venezuela, directed by Anabel Rodríguez Ríos | Tickets here
Once Upon A Time In Venezuela 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.
AlumNest filmmaker Tiffany Hsiung’s short film Sing Me A Lullaby will make its US premiere; Call Center Blues, directed by Chicken & Egg Award Recipient Geeta Gandbhir will screen in the Shorts program; Dick Johnson is Dead (Kirsten Johnson), A Thousand Cuts (Ramona Diaz), and The Fight (Elyse Steinberg, Eli Despres, Josh Kriegman) are on the DOC NYC Short List for feature films; and our Co-Founder & Senior Creative Consultant Judith Helfand’s film Love & Stuff is an official selection under the Masters program (co-produced with our Co-Founder Julie Parker Benello).
*Language courtesy of DOC NYC.
The Fight in Digital Theaters July 31!
Project: Hatched grantee The Fight, co-directed by Elyse Steinberg, Eli Despres, and Josh Kriegman, released in virtual cinemas on Friday, July 31. The Fight premiered at the 2020 Sundance Film Festival and documents a team of scrappy ACLU lawyers battling Trump’s historic assault on civil liberties.
Get tickets here, and watch the trailer below.
Nest-supported Emmy® Nominations
Congratulations to the following Nest-supported filmmakers and projects on their nominations for the 72nd annual Primetime Emmy® Awards, announced July 28.
American Factory is directed by Steven Bognar and 2016 Chicken & Egg Award recipient Julia Reichert and produced by Steve Bognar, Julia Reichert, Jeff Reichert and Chicken & Egg Pictures Co-Founder Julie Parker Benello.
Nominated for: Outstanding Directing For A Documentary/Nonfiction Program (Julia Reichert and Steven Bognar), Outstanding Cinematography for a Nonfiction Program (Erick Stoll, Aubrey Keith), and Outstanding Picture Editing for a Nonfiction Program (Lindsay Utz).
One Child Nation
One Child Nation is directed by 2018 Chicken & Egg Award Recipient Nanfu Wang and Jialing Zhang and produced by Nanfu Wang, Jialing Zhang, Christoph Jorg, Julie Goldman, Carolyn Hepburn, and Christopher Clements.
Nominated for: Exceptional Merit In Documentary Filmmaking.
A special congratulations to AlumNest filmmaker Jehane Noujaim (The Square) on her nomination for Outstanding Documentary Or Nonfiction Special for The Great Hack! The 72nd annual Emmy® Awards ceremony date will be September 20, 2020 at 8:00 pm EDT.
“I kicked the hornet nest,” [Geeta] Gandbhir told IndieWire. “Yeah, but the hornet nest has definitely been growing on sort of the front porch of the white establishment for an extremely long time. … They have been working around this system, which is ultimately a white supremacist, anti-black system, forever. You have folks who have been managing to make incredible work despite the lack of access, which speaks to the resilience, bravery, and strength of the community. But we’re at a point where we can no longer tolerate this sort of white-dominant culture constantly appropriating our stories. That’s what this outcry is about.” — HBO’s Tiger Woods Series by Two White Directors Is a Flashpoint for ‘Decolonizing’ Docs from Indiewire
This Friday, July 22, Chicken & Egg Award Recipient Geeta Ghandbir and Chicken & Egg Pictures Board Member Marjan Safinia, along with other women documentary filmmakers of color, were featured in an Indiewire article by Tambay Obenson, where they addressed their questions for the filmmakers behind the new Tiger Woods documentary for HBO and their vision for a more equitable nonfiction film industry.
Supported Filmmakers Flock to BlackStar Film Festival
BlackStar Film Festival is “a celebration of the visual and storytelling traditions of the African diaspora and of global communities of color, showcasing films by Black, Brown and Indigenous people from around the world.” Announced this week, screening at the digital fest this August are Nest grantees: Landfall, directed by Cecilia Aldarondo; Coded Bias, directed by Shalini Kantayya; Through The Night, directed by Loira Limbal; Down a Dark Stairwell, directed by Ursula Liang; and Stateless, directed by Michèle Stephenson.
In addition, BlackStar has a comprehensive slate of panels, special events, and other feature and short documentaries. View the whole schedule, beginning Wednesday, August 19 here.
Nest-supported documentary Paper Children Launches Impact Campaign:
“As we face one of the most challenging times in modern history, with much collective grief and loss, we have the opportunity to honor and uphold our strength and legacy as a country of immigrants.”
Director Alexandra Codina launched the impact campaign for her Nest-supported film Paper Children (2017 (Egg)celerator Lab), including an op-ed published in The Miami Herald and a co-authored post with other activists in asylum and immigrant rights on Medium, both are calls to action to help protect asylum seekers and to speak out against proposed asylum regulations in the US. Read more here:
The Miami Herald: This is the worst time yet to gut asylum protections for those fleeing persecution — Alexandra Codina
Medium: Asylum is a humanitarian issue. It has been corrupted by politics. — Alexandra Codina, Americans for Immigrant Justice, National Network for Immigrant and Refugee Rights, and others
Paper Children is available to stream on Youtube.
Firelight Media’s “Beyond Resilience” Series Continues This Week
Loira Limbal, Senior Vice President for Programs at Firelight Media and 2019 (Egg)celerator Lab grantee for Through the Night, will be featured on another Beyond Resilience panel Friday, July 17 at 2 pm ET.
Beyond Resilience: The Black Gaze — Join Firelight Media for a conversation with Black filmmakers on how they are navigating the ubiquitous images of Black trauma in this moment, documenting Black life, and forging new cinematic languages, practices, and formal approaches.
The Beyond Resilience series is available on Firelight Media’s Youtube channel if you cannot make the live webinar.
Ramona Diaz Premieres Trailer for A Thousand Cuts Announces Theatrical Run:
“As the United States goes through its own journey of civic unrest and social change, the Philippines is going through its own journey that is having a substantial political impact on the Asian archipelago and as seen in Ramona S. Diaz’s Sundance documentary A Thousand Cuts, which is set to open in theaters and in virtual theaters nationwide on August 7, the reverberations may have global consequences.“
The trailer for A Thousand Cuts is available to watch on Youtube.
Programmatic Changes from Chicken & Egg Pictures
This week, we announced the four new grantees of our Project: Hatched impact and audience engagement program, as well as how our team has reshaped the program to better fit filmmakers’ needs in the current documentary film landscape. Read more here.
Monday, July 6 was the last day to apply to the 2021 (Egg)celerator Lab Open Call. All applicants will be notified of their application status by December 2020.
Our Team & Supported Filmmakers Featured in DOC NYC PRO Programming
DOC NYC PRO Day: Funding Your Documentary
The team behind Belly of the Beast, director Erika Cohn and producer Angela Tucker, participated in a panel at DOC NYC PRO Day: Funding Your Documentary on Wednesday, June 8 to discuss their funding sources and experiences. Plus our Program Director Lucila Moctezuma joined them to talk about our support of the film’s impact and engagement campaign through Project: Hatched, as well as our other programs.
Read more about Belly of the Beast and Project: Hatched here.
DOC NYC’s Friday Fix
On Friday, July 10, our Co-Founder and Senior Creative Consultant Judith Helfand joined DOC NYC’s Thom Powers, Chicken & Egg Award Recipient Dawn Porter (John Lewis: Good Trouble), and Sam Feder (Disclosure) for DOC NYC’s Friday Fix.
On the panel, Judith discussed her film Cooked: Survival by Zip Code, about the 1995 Chicago heat wave, and how poor communities are disproportionately impacted by climate change. Watch the Friday Fix recording on DOC NYC’s Youtube channel.
Yoruba Richen Will Co-Direct Breonna Taylor Documentary
Announced via The Hollywood Reporter, Chicken & Egg Award Recipient Yoruba Richen will co-direct a documentary about Breonna Taylor for The New York Times Presents, a new partnership between FX and The New York Times.
“Among the subjects planned for the new series are a documentary about Breonna Taylor, the 27-year-old Black woman who was killed by police officers while she slept in her home in Louisville, Kentucky. Director Yoruba Richen (The New Black) and Times reporter Rukmini Callimachi will explore Taylor’s life and investigate the circumstances of her death on March 13.”
The Hollywood Reporter: FX, New York Times to Produce Breonna Taylor Doc as Part of New Series — Rick Porter