Shalini Kantayya: Dozen Days of Filmmakers — Day 9

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.


“This moment is asking us to drop into a deeper place in our humanity to lead. I’m so grateful to the people in my film who have shown me how to do this. There has never been more clarity that the people who have been systematically missing from the conversation have the most to share with us about the way forward.” — Shalini Kantayya, Letters from the AlumNest

Shalini Kantayya’s newest film, Coded Bias, 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. Coded Bias participated in our 2020 Project: Hatched program; was an Official Selection at the 2020 Sundance Film Festival; and was featured in The New York Times, Democracy Now!, and Hollywood Reporter. The film is now playing at 70+ virtual cinemas across the US. Support a local movie theater and stream from home: codedbias.com/virtualcinema

Still from Coded Bias, directed by Shalini Kantayya

Shalini’s other credits include directing the season finale episode for the National Geographic television series Breakthrough, a series profiling trailblazing scientists transforming the future, executive produced by Ron Howard, broadcast globally in June 2017. Her debut feature film Catching the Sun, about the race for a clean energy future, premiered at the Los Angeles Film Festival and was named a New York Times Critics’ Pick. Catching the Sun released globally on Netflix on Earth Day 2016 with Executive Producer Leonardo DiCaprio and was nominated for the Environmental Media Association Award for Best Documentary.

Kantayya is a TED Fellow, a William J. Fulbright Scholar, and a finalist for the ABC Disney DGA Directing Program. She is an Associate of the UC Berkeley Graduate School of Journalism.

Anabel Rodríguez Ríos: Dozen Days of Filmmakers — Day 5

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.


A painfully beautiful and urgent film. Made with the commitment and determination of warrior-filmmakers, fighting for dignity and freedom with their best weapon: their camera.” — Ricardo Acosta on Once Upon a Time in Venezuela 

Anabel Rodriguez Once Upon a Time in VenezuelaVenezuelan filmmaker Anabel Rodríguez Ríos’ first feature and Project: Hatched grantee Once Upon a Time in Venezuela premiered at Sundance Film Festival in 2020. The film follows residents of a small fishing village as they prepare for the parliamentary election. Once the village of Congo Mirador was prosperous; now it is decaying and disintegrating—a prophetic reflection of Venezuela itself. Since its premiere, Once Upon a Time in Venezuela has been featured in The Hollywood Reporter, RogerEbert.com, and more and screened at DOC NYC, Hot Docs, and DocMX. The filmmaking team has launched a robust impact campaign to engage the Venezuelan diaspora and fight for the future of their country. Once Upon a Time in Venezuela was selected to be Venezuela’s official submission to the 93rd Academy Awards® for Best International Film.

Anabel Rodriguez Once Upon a Time in Venezuela Project: Hatched 2020
Still from Once Upon a Time in Venezuela, directed by Anabel Rodríguez Ríos

Anabel Rodríguez Ríos, based in Vienna, Austria, gained a master’s in filmmaking at the London Film School, which was sponsored by The British Council and the Venezuelan Foundation ‘El Gran Mariscal de Ayacucho’. Her short film The Barrel, part ofthe Why Poverty? series, went to over 50 international film festivals, including Hot Docs and IDFA and was awarded with a TFI Latin America Grant. 

Announcing Project: Hatched 2020 Participants!

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 SteinbergJosh 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.   

Introducing Project: Hatched

Project: Hatched is Chicken & Egg Pictures’ brand-new completion fund, designed to support nonfiction directors as they prepare for the world premiere of a feature-length documentary film and develop a strategic impact and audience engagement campaign. In its inaugural year, Project: Hatched is open to AlumNest filmmakers (Chicken & Egg Pictures grantees), as well as filmmakers who receive an invitation to apply from Chicken & Egg Pictures team members at film forums and markets.

This ten-month program will provide four to five filmmakers with a $20,000 grant ($15,000 earmarked for finishing funds and $5,000 for impact strategy development), as well as mentorship from members of the Chicken & Egg Pictures team, focused on rough-cut feedback, festival premiere support, impact or distribution campaign strategy, and career sustainability.

Project: Hatched is one of three new programs from Chicken & Egg Pictures. AlumNest, our alumni program which had its inagural year in 2018, brings together a community of Nest-supported filmmakers in a meaningful way, both in-person and online; Docs by the Dozen, our shorts and series program (coming soon), will provide talented filmmakers with the opportunity to expand their portfolios and respond to critical social issues in a timely way; and Project: Hatched continues to engage with and grow alongside the Chicken & Egg Pictures community, increasing our support of women filmmakers at strategic points of their documentary career.

Please see our programs page and strategic plan visual summary for more information.