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
“This unprecedented moment requires us to innovate as an organization and to reimagine the way our programs support filmmakers. Peer mentorship is an instrumental part of our programs, and we know that filmmakers need each other’s support in order to navigate this changed industry. Each member of this Project: Hatched cohort is a director seeking to forge new models in the documentary world, engage with their audiences in new ways, and increase the social impact of their films in the digital space.” — Program Director, Lucila Moctezuma
How we are shifting the Project: Hatched program:
Project: Hatched, announced in January 2020 as our new completion fund, was originally designed to support directors with finishing funds and mentorship as they prepared for the world premiere of a feature-length documentary film. The first Project: Hatched participants (The Fight, Coded Bias, and Once Upon a Time in Venezuela) premiered at the 2020 Sundance Film Festival. Since the inaugural cohort and due to COVID-19, we have worked to reshape the program to better fit filmmakers’ needs in the current documentary film landscape.
Today we are announcing, via a Women & Hollywood exclusive, the four new Project: Hatched grantees—filmmakers whose premieres have been affected by festival changes—who will receive a $10,000 to $20,000 cash grant for their impact and audience engagement campaign, join a cohort for peer-to-peer mentorship calls with visiting experts, and set career goals with and receive mentorship from members of Chicken & Egg Pictures’ senior creative team. Additionally, two grantees from the original Project: Hatched cohort—Coded Bias, directed by Shalini Kantayya, and Once Upon a Time in Venezuela, directed by Anabel Rodríguez Ríos—will also join in on the new peer-to-peer mentorship model.
Read about the four new supported films:
Belly of the Beast
Director: Erika Cohn (UNITED STATES)
When an unlikely duo discovers a pattern of illegal sterilizations in women’s prisons, they wage a near-impossible battle against the Department of Corrections.
Director: Cecilia Aldarondo (UNITED STATES)
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.
The Dilemma of Desire
Director: Maria Finitzo (UNITED STATES)
An exploration of “cliteracy,” and the clash between the gender politics and the imperatives of female sexual desire.
Picture A Scientist
Directors: Sharon Shattuck, Ian Cheney (UNITED STATES)
Picture A Scientist chronicles the groundswell of researchers who are writing a new chapter for women scientists.
Read more about Project: Hatched on our Programs webpage here.
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.