Announcing our Newest Eggsperts

We’re thrilled to announce the two newest additions to our team of Eggsperts! Eggsperts participate informally as friends and allies, helping to conceptualize our future course and promoting our growth, visibility, and impact for the long-term.

Sharmeen Obaid-Chinoy joins Chicken & Egg Pictures team of EggspertsSharmeen Obaid-Chinoy is the only female director to have been awarded two Academy Awards by the age of 37. Since 2001, she has made over two dozen multi-award winning films in over sixteen countries around the world. Her films include Student Athlete, A Girl in the River: The Price of Forgiveness, Song of Lahore, Saving Face, A Journey of a Thousand Miles: Peacekeepers and Transgenders: Pakistan’s Open Secret.

Zainab Salbi joins Chicken & Egg Pictures team of EggspertsZainab Salbi has frequently been named as one of the women changing the world by leading publications, from People  Magazine to Newsweek. At the age of twenty-three, Zainab founded Women for Women International, a humanitarian organization dedicated to women survivors of wars. Under her leadership (1993–2011), Women for Women International grew from helping 30 women upon its inception to helping more than 420,000 women and distributing more than $100 million in aid.

To find out more about our new Eggsperts, read Sharmeen Obaid-Chinoy’s profile in The New Yorker, “An Activist Filmmaker Tackles Patriarchy in Pakistan”, or watch Zainab Salbi’s TED Talk about the women who keep everyday life going during conflicts.

Post by Morgan Hulquist, 2018 Communications Intern. 

 

Nest Co-Founders, Filmmakers, and Friends Join the Academy

We’re proud to announce that Chicken & Egg Pictures Co-Founders and Board members Julie Parker Benello and Wendy Ettinger are now members of the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences!

The Academy  announced a record-setting 928 invited members, 49 percent of whom are women and 38 percent people of color.  Nine branches, including the Producers, Film Editors, and Documentary branches invited more women than men.  At Chicken & Egg Pictures, we applaud the Academy’s efforts to double the number of women and diverse members, a goal announced in 2016 and hoped to be completed by 2020.

This announcement marked a huge step in diversifying one of the most prestigious institutions in the field, bringing the overall Academy membership to 31% women. We couldn’t be more thrilled. You might have even caught  Wendy talk about it on live TV, on BBC News when the announcement was made public.  Julie and Wendy will join fellow Co-Founder (and Senior Creative Consultant) Judith Helfand, with all three Chicken & Egg Pictures Co-Founders now members of the Academy!

This year, Chicken & Egg-supported filmmakers invited to the Academy include Yance Ford (Oscar®-nominee Strong Island), Catherine Gund (Born to Fly), Sari Gilman (Kings Point, editor on Trapped), Lana Wilson (The Departure and After Tiller), Laura Nix (2018 Breakthrough Award Recipient), and Nanfu Wang (2018 Breakthrough Award Recipient, 2017 Accelerator Lab Grantee for Born In China).

New members also include Paco de Onís, editor of Nest-supported Granito: How to Nail a Dictator, as well as Toby Shimin, editor of Nest-supported 32 Pills: My Sister’s Suicide. Congratulations to all!

Post by Morgan Hulquist, 2018 Communications Intern. 

Announcing the Newest Members of Our Board of Directors

Chicken & Egg Pictures Board members (left to right): Brenda Robinson and Patty Quillin

Our Nest is growing. Chicken & Egg Pictures is proud to announce two new additions to our Board of Directors: Brenda Robinson and Patty Quillin. Members of our Board of Directors serve an official role for Chicken & Egg Pictures, offering constructive feedback, guidance, and independent oversight of our work.

Chicken & Egg Pictures Board member Brenda Robinson.Brenda Robinson is an entertainment attorney and Chicago native who currently serves as Director of Business Development for the Los Angeles law firm Greenberg Glusker LLP. Brenda’s prior law practice focused on intellectual property and entertainment matters on behalf of clients in the music, film, and television industries. Throughout her career, Brenda has provided counsel to numerous recording artists, musicians and composers, actors and actresses, production companies, authors, arts organizations, athletes, entertainers, and social media influencers.

Chicken & Egg Pictures Board member Patty Quillin.

Patty Quillin is the Director of Meadow Fund, a donor-advised fund of the Silicon Valley Community Foundation. Patty strongly believes that everyone deserves the opportunity to thrive in healthy, just, and sustainable communities. This vision has guided her philanthropic work for the past 25 years in a broad range of fields, from the environment and sustainable food systems to criminal justice reform and empowering women and girls. Patty is inspired by the passion of filmmakers in their mission to educate audiences and galvanize change. She is a patron of Sundance Institute and Chicken & Egg Pictures, and is a member of Impact Partners.  

Welcome Brenda and Patty! To find out more about them and the rest of our Board, see here.

Post by Morgan Hulquist, 2018 Communications Intern. 

 

Accelerator Lab Open Call: Apply Now!

Chicken & Egg Pictures is now accepting submissions for the 2019 Accelerator Lab Open Call!

The Accelerator Lab is focused on identifying and supporting women nonfiction directors working on their first or second feature-length documentary. In this year-long program, ten projects will receive:

  • a $35,000 in grant funding for the production of their feature-length film;
  • monthly mentorship with members of Chicken & Egg Pictures’ senior creative team;
  • three creative retreats focused on career sustainability and creative development;
  • industry meetings at a major documentary film festival; and
  • peer support from the Accelerator Lab cohort.

A glimpse at current and past projects that Chicken & Egg has supported through the Accelerator Lab program:

Through the Night, directed by Loira Limbal (Accelerator Lab Grantee)
Through the Night, directed by Loira Limbal

Through the Night, directed by 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.

Through the Night is a 2018 Accelerator Lab-supported film and is currently in production.

The Feeling of Being Watched, directed by Assia Boundaoui (Accelerator Lab Grantee)
The Feeling of Being Watched, directed by Assia Boundaoui

The Feeling of Being Watched, directed by Assia Boundaoui

In the Arab-American neighborhood outside of Chicago where director Assia Boundaoui grew up, most of her neighbors think they have been under surveillance for over a decade. While investigating their experiences, Assia uncovers hundreds of pages of declassified FBI documents that prove her hometown was the subject of one of the largest counterterrorism investigations ever conducted in the U.S. before 9/11—code-named “Operation Vulgar Betrayal.” With unprecedented access, The Feeling of Being Watched weaves the personal and the political as it follows the filmmaker’s examination of why her community fell under blanket government surveillance. Assia struggles to disrupt the government secrecy shrouding what happened to her neighborhood in the 90’s and probes why her community feels like they’re still being watched today. In the process, she confronts long-hidden truths about the FBI’s relationship to her community. The Feeling of Being Watched follows Assia as she pieces together this secret FBI operation, while grappling with the effects of a lifetime of surveillance on herself and her family.

The Feeling of Being Watched recently premiered at the 2018 TriBeca Film Festival and is also being featured at Hot Docs.

Muhi - Generally Temporary, directed by Rina Castelnuovo and Tamir Elterman (Accelerator Lab Grantee).
Muhi – Generally Temporary, directed by Rina Castelnuovo and Tamir Elterman

Muhi – Generally Temporary, directed by Rina Castelnuovo and Tamir Elterman

Muhi, a cherubic Palestinian toddler with a life-threatening immune disorder, was transported to an Israeli hospital as a baby for emergency treatment. He and his devoted grandfather have lived there ever since, stuck in a bizarre no man’s land, with their extended family living on the other side of a fiercely guarded checkpoint. Their unique and moving story takes place within the crucible of the current relentless Israeli-Palestinian conflict that impacts everyone in its orbit.

Muhi – Generally Temporary premiered at the 2017 San Francisco International Film Festival and was featured in the Human Rights Watch Film Festival of the same year.

To check out the full list of films supported through the Accelerator Lab program, click here.

The deadline to apply is Monday, June 25th at 3:00 pm EDT. Apply now!

And sign up for our newsletter to receive updates on the Accelerator Lab and other News from the Nest!

United Skates wins Tribeca Audience Award

United Skates, directed by Tina Brown and Dyana Winkler at Tribeca Film Festival.
United Skates, directed by Tina Brown & Dyana Winkler

Congratulations to United Skates directors Tina Brown & Dyana Winkler for their 2018 Tribeca Audience Award win! Chicken & Egg Pictures supported Tina and Dyana’s project with our 2016 Diversity Fellows Initiative.

Next, United Skates will be hitting up Toronto’s Hot Docs Film Festival, so be sure to catch them there!

Read more about the film and its filmmakers in this No Film School interview.

Accelerator Lab Open Call starts May 3!

Mark your calendars! The Accelerator Lab Open Call will open on May 3, 2018, 12 pm EST.

The Accelerator Lab is focused on identifying and supporting women nonfiction directors working on their first or second feature-length documentary. Each project receives a $35,000 grant in three parts for the production of a film, to be developed over the course of the 12-month program. All directors of the ten projects come together at various points over the course of a year for an intensive period of professional development, tailored mentorship and workshops with industry experts, creatively fusing the art and craft of filmmaking with best practices and peer-to-peer support.

Sign up for our newsletter to receive updates on the Accelerator Lab Open Call and other News from the Nest!

Past grantee projects have included:

32 Pills_Hope Litoff
32 Pills: My Sister’s Suicide, directed by Hope Litoff (Accelerator Lab Grantee)

32 Pills: My Sister’s Suicide, directed by Hope Litoff
Premiered at the 2017 Hot Docs Canadian International Film Festival
Now available on HBO, HBO NOW, and HBO GO.

A reflection on the life and suicide of Ruth Litoff, a successful artist, a pathological liar, and the filmmaker’s sister. By looking back on Ruth’s incredible highs and lows, bursts of creative genius, depression, secrets, and lies, a vivid portrait will emerge of the brilliant woman the filmmaker is not sure she ever really knew. This is her attempt to understand what happened.

The Feeling of Being Watched, directed by Assia Boundaoui (Accelerator Lab Grantee)
The Feeling of Being Watched, directed by Assia Boundaoui

The Feeling of Being Watched, directed by Assia Boundaoui
Premiered at the 2018 Tribeca Film Festival

In the Arab-American neighborhood outside of Chicago where director Assia Boundaoui grew up, most of her neighbors think they have been under surveillance for over a decade. While investigating their experiences, Assia uncovers hundreds of pages of declassified FBI documents that prove her hometown was the subject of one of the largest counterterrorism investigations ever conducted in the U.S. before 9/11—code-named “Operation Vulgar Betrayal.” With unprecedented access, The Feeling of Being Watched weaves the personal and the political as it follows the filmmaker’s examination of why her community fell under blanket government surveillance. Assia struggles to disrupt the government secrecy shrouding what happened to her neighborhood in the 90’s and probes why her community feels like they’re still being watched today. In the process, she confronts long-hidden truths about the FBI’s relationship to her community. The Feeling of Being Watched follows Assia as she pieces together this secret FBI operation, while grappling with the effects of a lifetime of surveillance on herself and her family.

Whose Streets?, directed by Sabaah Folayan, co-directed by Damon Davis (Accelerator Lab Grantee)
Whose Streets?, directed by Sabaah Folayan, co-directed by Damon Davis

Whose Streets?, directed by Sabaah Folayan, co-directed by Damon Davis
Premiered at the 2017 Sundance Film Festival
Now available on DVD and streaming

A firsthand look at how the murder of one teenage boy became the last straw for a community under siege, Whose Streets? is a story of love, loss, conflict, and ambition. Set in Ferguson, MO, the film follows the journey of everyday people whose lives are intertwined with a burgeoning national movement for black liberation.

Peabody Nominations are in!

2018 Peabody nominees (left to right): Elaine McMillion Sheldon, Ramona Diaz, Yance Ford
2018 Peabody nominees (left to right): Elaine McMillion Sheldon, Ramona Diaz, Yance Ford

The 77th Peabody Award nominations and we’re thrilled to announce that three Nest-supported filmmakers are in the running. Congratulations to all!

Heroin(e), directed by Elaine McMillion Sheldon (2016 Breakthrough Filmmaker Award recipient)*
“Once a bustling industrial town, Huntington, West Virginia has become the epicenter of America’s modern opioid epidemic, with an overdose rate 10 times the national average. This flood of heroin now threatens this Appalachian city with a cycle of generational addiction, lawlessness, and poverty. But within this distressed landscape, Peabody Award-winning filmmaker Elaine McMillion Sheldon (Hollow) shows a different side of the fight against drugsone of hope.”**

Motherland, directed by Ramona Diaz (Peabody Award Nominee)
Motherland, directed by Ramona Diaz

Motherland, directed by Ramona Diaz (2018 Breakthrough Filmmaker Award recipient)
One of the world’s poorest and most populous countries, the Philippines, struggles with reproductive health policy—both in the legislature where laws are in debate, and in a hospital with the busiest maternity ward on the planet.

Strong Island, directed by Yance Ford (Peabody Award Nominee)
Strong Island, directed by Yance Ford

Strong Island, directed by Yance Ford
Set in the suburbs of the black middle class, Strong Island seeks to uncover how—in the year of the Rodney King trial and the Los Angeles riots—the murder of the filmmaker’s older brother went unpunished. The film is an unflinching look at homicide, racial injustice, and the corrosive impact of grief over time.

*Chicken & Egg Pictures did not directly support Heroin(e), but supported Elaine during her Breakthrough year.

**Synopsis from the Heroin(e) webpage.

The Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences Supports Chicken & Egg Pictures’ Accelerator Lab

Chicken & Egg Pictures proudly announces receipt of the prestigious FilmCraft grant from the Academy Foundation of the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences in support of the Accelerator Lab for first- and second-time filmmakers. Grants range from $5,000-$15,000, and a total of $500,000 was awarded to 51 organizations for the 2018-2019 grants year.

“It is the Grants’ privilege and responsibility to fund organizations, rising and established, that reflect both The Academy’s values and its leadership role in the arts,” said Buffy Shutt, chair of the Academy’s grants committee. Chicken & Egg Pictures’ FilmCraft grant will help fund the Accelerator Lab program and go towards fulfilling the organization’s mission to support women nonfiction filmmakers whose artful and innovative storytelling catalyzes social change. The Accelerator Lab, with a special focus on underrepresented voices and timely, urgent stories, identifies and supports emerging women filmmakers in the completion of their first or second feature-length nonfiction film. The year-long program comes with a $35,000 grant, monthly mentorship with Chicken & Egg Pictures’ senior creative team, and three multi-day creative retreats held throughout the year. The 2019 Accelerator Lab Open Call will begin on Thursday, May 3, 2018.

Through their partnership, the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences and Chicken & Egg Pictures seek to strengthen the power of diverse women storytellers so that in turn they can change how we see, respond to, and shape the world around us.

The Nest Featured in POV Season 31

POV, the longest running independent documentary series in the US, has announced the line-up for its 31st Season! Congrats to the following Chicken & Egg Pictures-supported films that will be broadcast as part of the series:

Whose Streets?, directed by Sabaah Folayan, Damon Davis (Accelerator Lab 2016)

A firsthand look at how the murder of one teenage boy became the last straw for a community under siege, Whose Streets? is a story of love, loss, conflict, and ambition. Set in Ferguson, MO, the film follows the journey of everyday people whose lives are intertwined with a burgeoning national movement for black liberation.

PBS premiere date: July 30, 2018.

The Apology, directed by Tiffany Hsiung

This is a film about memory, told through the current relationships three women have with the people closest to them and how these relationships indelibly shape the last years of their lives. The three women – Gil Won-Ok in South Korea, Grandma Cao in China, and Lola Adela in the Philippines – are all former “comfort women” who were among the 200,000 girls and young women forced into military sexual slavery by the Japanese Imperial Army during World War II.

PBS premiere date: Coming soon.

Survivors, directed by Anna Fitch, Banker White and Arthur Pratt

Through the eyes of Sierra Leonean filmmakers, Survivors presents a portrait of their country during the Ebola outbreak, exposing the complexity of the epidemic and the socio-political turmoil that lies in its wake. The film chronicles the remarkable stories of Sierra Leonean heroes during what is now widely regarded as the most acute public health crisis of the modern era.

PBS premiere date: Coming soon.

Dark Money, directed by Kimberly Reed

A century ago, corrupt money swamped Montana’s legislature, but Montanans rose up to prohibit corporate campaign contributions. Today, in the wake of the Supreme Court’s Citizens United decision —which allows unlimited, anonymous money to pour into elections nationwide—Montana is once again fighting to preserve open and honest elections. Following an investigative reporter through a political thriller, Dark Money exposes one of the greatest threats to American democracy.

PBS premiere date: Coming soon.

Be sure to catch the season premiere of POV on Monday, June 18th at 10 pm!

Post by 2018 Spring Programs Intern Dinayuri Rodriguez.

Announcing our 2018 Diversity Fellows Initiative Grantees

From left to right: A Prince From Outer Space: Zeki Müren; The In Between; The Letter; Omnipresence; and Commuted.

Congratulations to our 2018 Diversity Fellows: Beyza Boyacioglu; Robie Flores; Nadia Hallgren; Nailah Jefferson; and Maia von Lekow, with co-director Chris King; hailing from Istanbul, Turkey; Eagle Pass, TX; New Orleans, LA; The Bronx, NY; and Nairobi, Kenya, respectively.

In addition to a $5,000 grant and a seven-month mentorship program, the Fellows will come together in upstate New York for a multiday storytelling retreat aimed to help develop and strengthen their film’s narratives. “This year we’ll be doing a deep dive into storytelling,” says Lucila Moctezuma, Director of Programs at Chicken & Egg Pictures. “The five-day retreat will allow our Diversity Fellows to have complete focus on their art and provide them with the space to learn from one another’s diverse perspectives and artistic practices. We are so thrilled to be working with these exceptional group of women filmmakers who have such important stories to tell and such special ways of telling them.”  

The Diversity Fellows Initiative is made possible with the generous support of The Harnisch Foundation, the MacArthur Foundation, and the Time Warner Foundation.

For additional information, please visit our Programs page. Participants of the Diversity Fellows Initiative are chosen through the Accelerator Lab Open Call process. The 2019 Accelerator Lab Open Call will launch on May 3.

2018 Diversity Fellows Initiative Grantees

 

A Prince From Outer Space: Zeki Müren, directed by Beyza Boyacioglu

This experimental, multilayered film uses Zeki Müren, Turkey’s most celebrated singer and modern day queer icon, as a prism to explore the country’s internal contradictions, from its founding as a modern, secular nation to the current crisis. Zeki, “Turkey’s Liberace,” was a chameleon-like figure. He expertly used his celebrity to navigate societyallowing audiences to see in him only what they wanted to see. The film deconstructs how myths are made and consumed, as it provides a window onto Turkey, a nation existing between the worlds of the east and of the west while belonging to neither.

Beyza Boyacioglu is a filmmaker and artist from Istanbul, currently based in New York. Her work has been exhibited in MoMA Documentary Fortnight, IDFA, RIDM, Anthology Film Archives, Morelia International Film Festival, Brooklyn Museum, Maysles Cinema, and !f Istanbul, among others. She was a part of MIT Open Documentary Lab between 2014–2017. She’s been a fellow at UnionDocs, Flaherty Seminar, and Greenhouse. She holds an MASc in Comparative Media Studies from MIT and an MFA in Computer Art from SVA.

 

The In Between, directed by Robie Flores

At the intersection of the northern Mexico desert and the plains of southwest Texas exists a symbiotic community. Here, people’s lives are spread across two countries, connected by a bridge that everyone must travel. For some, crossing to the other side means getting to work or school. For others, life straddling the border is the only way to keep their family together. Through a collection of interweaving vignettes, The In Between is a poetic ode to a greater reality of the border than the one portrayed on the news, offering a nuanced and intimate portrait of a place and its people at the heart of Mexican-American identity.

Robie Flores grew up on the US/Mexico border. She is an independent filmmaker and video editor based in New York City. She previously worked with Loki Films as an assistant on Detropia, The Education of Mohammed Hussein, and ESPN’s Nine for IX documentary, Branded. Her work has appeared on CNN and Bloomberg and has been featured by Teen Vogue, Fusion, Allure, and i-D Vice. The In Between is her first feature film.

Omnipresence, directed by Nadia Hallgren

A look at the complexities of a South Bronx housing project over the course of a summer.

Nadia Hallgren is an award-winning filmmaker and director of photography from The Bronx, New York. With a focus on vérité storytelling, her cinematography credits include the Sundance award-winner Motherland (2017), Academy Award-nominated and Sundance Grand Jury Prize-winner Trouble the Water (2008), and Sundance award-winner Trapped (2016). She has directed short films and series for Field of Vision, Topic, and PBS; and is a member of the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences, a 2018 Concordia Studio Artist in Residence, and an alum of International Center of Photography. Most recently, Nadia won the special jury prize at SXSW 2018 for an independent episodic series she directed about women running for office in response to Trump being elected.

Commuted, directed by Nailah Jefferson

Commuted tells the story of Danielle Metz, a 52-year-old woman trying to find her footing after spending nearly half of her life in prison. In 2016 Danielle’s was one of 568 life sentences President Obama overturned. Her life story is just one example of how the US criminal justice system impacts black families—before she was incarcerated, she had lost one boyfriend to police violence, another to a wrongful conviction, and then found herself in prison due to involvement with her husband’s drug ring. As Danielle starts to right her path, we reflect with her on a life interrupted.

Nailah Jefferson’s first film, Vanishing Pearls, told the story of a little known African American oyster fishing community and their fight for justice after the BP oil spill. After acquisition by ARRAY/AFFRM, Vanishing Pearls streams on The Urban Movie Channel. Nailah was nominated for a 2017 National Magazine Ellie award for Essence Magazine’s Black Girl Magic Episode 4. Nailah’s first narrative, Plaquemines, was chosen as an American Black Film Festival HBO Shorts finalist and is available on HBO, HBO GO, and HBO On Demand.

The Letter, directed by Maia von Lekow & Chris King

This story happens in rural coastal Kenya. When Karisa, a young artist living in the coastal city of Mombasa, reads a Facebook post accusing his Grandma of being a witch, he decides to return to his rural home to confront the accusations against her. The accusers, Karisa’s uncles, demand that Grandma repent and be exorcised in a Pentecostal ceremony. The story evolves into a family confrontation between those trying to protect Grandma and those condemning her. At the end, love and care triumph against superstition and economic interest.

In today’s post-colonial Kenya, the disturbing trend of witchcraft accusations, often resulting in the murder of an elder, is being used to cover up hundreds of family disputes over land, inheritance, and money. The Letter is a story through the lens of a single family highlighting the universal issues of elderly abuse and greed.

Maia von Lekow is a Kenyan musician and filmmaker. Fusing her music with a healthy fascination of people and culture, Maia has worked as director, producer, and sound recordist on several music videos and corporate films. She was named a Goodwill Ambassador for UNHCR on World Refugee Day 2013, and has received an African Movie Academy Award for her song “Uko Wapi.” A performing artist in her own right, Maia has appeared on several Kenyan broadcasts and maintains strong links with producers and presenters in the region.

The Letter is Maia’s first feature documentary. Maia will compose original music for the film.

Chris King is an award-winning filmmaker based in Nairobi, Kenya. Born in Australia, Chris studied at The School of Creative Arts at the University of Melbourne with honors in Visual Media. Chris has lived in Kenya full-time since 2007, working as a cinematographer, editor, animator, director, and producer in both factual and non-factual shorts, features, and music videos. In 2009, Chris co-founded Circle and Square Productions with his wife Maia and, in the same year, received an African Movie Academy Award in Editing for his work on the Kenyan feature film, From a Whisper.