Chicken & Egg Pictures was born out of the reality that women and gender nonconforming filmmakers need support and opportunities to thrive in a tough and unbalanced film landscape and that without their voices, the stories we see on screen will not reflect the world we live in.
As we face this crisis together, we know that our community of filmmakers has been hard-hit by COVID-19 and now face an industry that looks drastically different than the one of yesterday—one with cancelled festivals, forums, labs, and markets; delays to production schedules; and loss of gigs, jobs, funds. But our commitment to them has not wavered, and we are hard at work on ways we can offer support during these times.
We understand that this health and financial crisis has affected all of us but in vastly different and nuanced ways, and so we responded first by listening to our supported filmmakers and collecting responses to a survey on the impact of COVID-19 on this community. We heard directly from them about how the pandemic has impacted them, their films, and their livelihoods.
As we think about our filmmakers’ personal experiences and suggestions for how we can best support our Nest, we are collaborating with our industry peers and other film organizations, staying connected to our supporters and partners, and having important discussions as a team about how to move forward in a new reality.
Please stay tuned to this page for updates on how our programs, our supported filmmakers, and our organization are adapting to the COVID-19 crisis and working toward solutions.
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- (Egg)celerator Lab: Over the course of March and April, we held our spring retreat for first- and second-time filmmakers virtually, adapting our one-week retreat to a multi-week retreat on Zoom and connecting with the 2020 grantees currently sheltering in the US, China, France, Myanmar, Germany, Scotland, and Sweden. The second (Egg)celerator Lab retreat was a virtual convening at Sheffield Doc/Fest in early June, where filmmakers pitched their projects to a live audience of over 130 attendees as part of our annual (Egg)celerator Lab Live Pitch. The filmmakers also had one-on-one meetings with industry members through the virtual MeetMarket. Our open call for applications for the 2021 (Egg)celerator Lab closed on July 6, 2020. In responding to the uprisings and calls for racial justice in the US and worldwide, we extended our original deadline by two weeks to respect the time and energy filmmakers put into the movement, as well as the emotional and psychological toll many were facing. In consideration of the financial hardship many filmmakers worldwide are experiencing due to COVID-19, we also waived the application fee for all applicants this year. The 2021 (Egg)celerator Lab will be flexible to a range of options, but with the aim of supporting ten projects with a $30,000-$40,000 grant.
- Chicken & Egg Award: In February, our 2020 Awardees participated in the first retreat of the year in upstate New York. The cohort will continue as planned with monthly virtual calls, as well as one-on-one mentorship from our senior creative team. We are moving forward with the 2021 Chicken & Egg Award nomination process, sent invitations to nominators in April, and are currently reviewing the applications we received from nominees. The 2021 Chicken & Egg Award will be flexible to a range of options, but with the aim of supporting five to six filmmakers with a $40,000-$50,000 unrestricted grant and a year-long mentorship tailored to each filmmaker’s individual goals. We will announce new recipients in January 2021.
- Project: Hatched: The inaugural Project: Hatched participants premiered at the 2020 Sundance Film Festival in January, though many of their subsequent festival screenings have been cancelled, postponed, or moved into virtual space due to COVID-19. This program, which was previously tied to festival premieres and impact campaigns, has been reconceptualized in light of COVID-19. Project: Hatched has pivoted to support filmmakers whose premieres were cancelled and are looking to launch their films in a virtual way. So that we can best support our community during this time, Chicken & Egg Pictures is supporting more film projects with smaller grants, as well as shifting the mentorship component toward a peer-to-peer model. In July, we announced four new Project: Hatched grantees as well as details of the new cohort model.
- Docs by the Dozen: Working closely with filmmakers as part of our shorts and series program, we are brainstorming how we can best produce documentary content that can creatively circumvent traditional production models and strategize around audience engagement and impact at this time of crisis. As part of Docs by the Dozen, we will also be launching a documentary series which will look at the COVID-19 crisis through an income inequality lens.
- AlumNest survey: In April, our program team sent out a survey to our 300+ Nest-supported filmmakers to assess the impact of COVID-19 on our community, checking in about the extent this crisis has had on their professional life, livelihood, and financial circumstances and asking for filmmakers’ perspectives on how we can best support our Nest.
- A new online platform and bi-weekly calls: Nest-supported filmmakers can stay connected on our brand-new AlumNest Slack workspace, which we launched in April to strengthen the sense of community and provide a more intimate and conversational space for sharing resources and thoughts. From April to June we held bi-weekly webinars and calls to hear from guests on how to adapt to a new film landscape, as well as create a space where Nest-supported filmmakers can have conversations and connect with one another. We are taking a small pause and will resume these calls on a monthly basis starting in September.
- AlumNest Relief Fund: The AlumNest Relief fund was created as an emergency response initiative in response to results of our April survey of grantees that assessed the impact of COVID-19 on our community of filmmakers. From the survey, 64% of filmmakers responded that they experienced loss of jobs such as permanent employment, gigs, and work for hire at the start of the pandemic; and 60% indicated the crisis has had an impact on their emotional and mental health. In direct response to these needs, we have raised over $230,000 for the Relief Fund thus far to be distributed as $1,000 grants to our group of alumni filmmakers from around the world who have been financially impacted due to COVID-19. To disburse the grant funds, we have partnered with Women Make Movies (WMM), which provides distribution, production assistance and fiscal sponsorship to women filmmakers. Grants to the first round of eligible applicants were distributed in July with another round to take place this fall.
- Our team is currently safe and working from home: Thanks to our incredible operations team, our Brooklyn-based staff was able to transition seamlessly into remote work in early March.
- We postponed Eggstended Run: With the safety and well-being of our community in mind, we have postponed our 15th anniversary event to Wednesday, May 19, 2021. We are grateful for the support of our friends and partners and look forward to celebrating with our community next spring.
- We are connecting with our supporters: We are holding zoom calls to share how we are responding during this time and to seek their counsel. We launched an online film series to view the Nest-supported films we would have seen together in theaters and festivals this year, and to gather with the directors for an online conversation. We are grateful to our donors and our Board of Directors for their critical support of our mission during this time.
- We will stay connected with you and include the most up-to-date information on this page and in our newsletter.