SABAAH FOLAYAN: 2023 CHICKEN & EGG AWARD RECIPIENT
Through screenwriting, filmmaking, and public speaking, Sabaah Folayan (she/they) levels an optimistic yet unflinching gaze on the urgent questions of our time.
Sabaah made her directorial debut at the 2017 Sundance Film Festival, with the feature-length documentary Whose Streets? Nominated for a Peabody Award, Critic’s Choice Award, Gotham Award, and NAACP Award, the film chronicles the experiences of activists living in Ferguson, Missouri when Michael Brown Jr. was killed. Whose Streets? was distributed theatrically by Magnolia Pictures, broadcast for television by POV, and is now streaming on Netflix.
In 2021, Sabaah wrote the series finale of HBO’s Betty, a critically acclaimed comedy series about a crew of young female skateboarders in New York City. Her second feature documentary LOOK AT ME: XXXTENTACION premiered at SXSW 2022 and is now streaming on Hulu.
Sabaah was born in Los Angeles, raised in Hawaii, and educated in New York City. She graduated from Columbia University as a pre-medical student. The desire to work at a larger scale evolved into a unique storytelling practice that is informed by principles of behavioral science and social justice. Sabaah specializes in blending care, nuance, and depth with entertainment and popular culture.
FARIDA PACHA: 2023 CHICKEN & EGG AWARD FINALIST DEVELOPMENT GRANT RECIPIENT
Award-winning documentary filmmaker Farida Pacha (she/her) studied Anthropology and Sociology in Mumbai before obtaining her MFA in filmmaking at Southern Illinois University. Her debut feature documentary, My Name is Salt (2013), has won 35 international awards including the main prizes at film festivals in Amsterdam, Edinburgh, Hong Kong, Madrid, and Mumbai, as well as the prestigious German Camera Prize. Her latest documentary Watch Over Me (2021) received the Grand Jury Documentary Award at the Movies that Matter Festival at The Hague and was nominated for The Robert and Frances Flaherty Award at the Yamagata International Film Festival.
In 2018, she received the IDFA Bertha Fund Europe and the Jan Vrijman Fund in 2008 and 2010.
JEANIE FINLAY: 2023 CHICKEN & EGG AWARD RECIPIENT
Jeanie Finlay (she/her) is one of Britain’s most distinctive documentary makers. From the northeast of England, she creates award-winning work for cinema and television–made with steel and heart–that tell intimate stories for international audiences.
She has made films for HBO, IFC, and four commissions for BBC Storyville, including; the (extra)ordinary pregnancy of a British trans man, and British Independent Film Awards (BIFA)-nominated, Seahorse; Emmy®-nominated documentary about the world’s biggest show, Game Of Thrones: The Last Watch; the story of the last record shop in Teesside–SOUND IT OUT; the BIFA-nominated The Great Hip Hop Hoax; Panto!; and the BIFA-winning Orion: The Man Who Would Be King.
Her films have been showcased in retrospectives at the Museum of Moving Image in NYC; at True Story by Mark Kermode at Screenplay; on BFI Player; and coming soon to Criterion Channel.
Jeanie was awarded an honorary Doctorate of Arts by Nottingham Trent University in recognition of her contribution to filmmaking and received the Sheffield Doc/Fest Inspiration Award. Glimmer Films, the production company she founded, was named by Creative England/The Telegraph as one of the 50 most creative companies in England.
She has Ehlers-Danlos Syndrome which has led her to creatively explore new approaches to making films. Jeanie is currently making her tenth feature.
During her Chicken & Egg Award year, Jeanie will be launching her new film (title TBA) into the world and receiving creative support on the production of an untitled film about the place where she grew up–the northeast of England.
NICO OPPER: 2023 CHICKEN & EGG AWARD RECIPIENT
Nico Opper (they/them) is an Emmy®-nominated filmmaker who has been featured in Filmmaker Magazine’s “25 New Faces of Independent Film,” Indiewire Magazine’s “25 LGBT Filmmakers on the Rise,” and DOC NYC’s “40 Under 40.” They directed The F Word (2018), which was nominated for a Gotham Award and an IDA award, Visitor’s Day (2016), which premiered at the Guadalajara International Film Festival and aired on PBS, Off and Running (2010), which premiered at Tribeca Film Festival, was nominated for an Emmy® and aired on POV, and When I Write It (2020) which premiered at Tribeca and Hot Docs. They also produced Try Harder! (2021), which premiered at Sundance Film Festival and was nominated for an Independent Spirit Award. Executive producing credits include Op-Docs- The New York Times What You’ll Remember (2021), and the forthcoming feature documentary, Breaking the News. Nico is the recipient of a Fulbright Fellowship and a Eureka Fellowship, a past advisor for the Sundance Producer’s Program, and currently serves as a Film Expert for the US State Department’s film diplomacy program, the American Film Showcase. They teach filmmaking at Santa Clara University and live in Oakland, California with their wife and son.
LISA JACKSON: 2023 CHICKEN & EGG AWARD RECIPIENT
Lisa Jackson (she/her) is one of Canada’s most celebrated artists, whose work bridges genres and was recognized by the DOC Institute Vanguard Award in 2020. She’s screened at Sundance Film Festival, SXSW, Berlinale, Hot Docs Festival, Tribeca Festival, and London BFI; and has shown widely on television, in museums, galleries, and educational settings. Indictment: The Crimes of Shelly Chartier won the 2017 imagineNATIVE Best Documentary Award and is one of the top-watched docs on Canada’s national broadcaster, the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation (CBC).
Her Webby-nominated VR Biidaaban: First Light was exhibited internationally to 25,000+ people and won her a second Canadian Screen Award. Her VR Highway of Tears was nominated for a Canadian Association of Journalists Award. In 2020, she launched Door Number 3 Productions, which is currently in post-production on the feature Wilfred Buck, winner of the Hot Docs Canadian Forum Pitch Prize.
She is of mixed Anishinaabe (Aamjiwnaang) and settler descent, has an MFA in Film Production from York University, and lives in Toronto. She’s been widely featured in the media, is a well-known advocate for Indigenous screen sovereignty, and is an alumna of the TIFF Talent and Writers Labs, IDFAcademy Summer School, and Canadian Film Centre’s Directors Lab.
REA TAJIRI: 2023 CHICKEN & EGG AWARD RECIPIENT
Rea Tajiri (she/her) is an award-winning interdisciplinary artist and educator who creates installations, documentaries, and experimental films. Her work situates itself in poetic, non-traditional storytelling forms to encourage dialog and reflection around buried histories.
Tajiri is a Sansei who grew up in Rogers Park, Chicago, and Van Nuys, California. She earned her BFA and MFA degrees from the California Institute of the Arts where she studied post-studio art. Upon graduation, Tajiri began working in video art. Two of her early shorts were included in the Whitney Biennials of 1989 and 1991.
One of her early works, History and Memory: For Akiko & Takashige, went on to receive the Distinguished Achievement Award from IDA, a Special Jury Award from the San Francisco International Film Festival, and Best Experimental Video from the Atlanta Film and Video Festival. This documentary short has screened in over 250 venues around the world. History and Memory is distributed by Women Make Movies, Video Data Bank and EAI; it is also available on the Criterion Channel.
After completing this film, Tajiri developed an interest in the history of social movements and was approached by civil rights organizer Pat Saunders to co-produce a film on the life of Harlem human rights activist Yuri Kochiyama. They received a production grant from the PBS series POV to complete the film entitled Passion for Justice. This film is distributed by Women Make Movies.
After the completion of this documentary, Tajiri directed her debut dramatic feature film Strawberry Fields, produced by Open City Films and ITVS. Strawberry Fields received its international premiere at the Venice International Film Festival and won the Grand Prix at the Fukuoka Asian Film Festival. The film received theatrical release through Phaedra Cinema and is currently available to watch on the Criterion Channel.
Tajiri has received fellowships for her work from the Pew Fellowships in the Arts, the Leeway Transformation Award, The Rockefeller Foundation, NEA Visual Arts, and the New York Foundation for the Arts. She has also received support for her work from Independence Media, CAAM Documentary Fund, ITVS Open Call, ITVS Diversity Development Fund, and JustFilms/Ford Foundation. Since 1989, Tajiri has had an ongoing collaboration with choreographer Kate Foley designing video set projections for her dance concerts. Foley choreographed dance set pieces for Tajiri’s short films Aloha and Little Murders, and appears in Tajiri’s video Hitchcock Trilogy.
Tajiri has been a visiting filmmaker at numerous universities and colleges across the country including Hampshire College, University of Colorado Boulder, School of the Art Institute of Chicago, University of California Santa Barbara, Georgetown University, Smith College, Brown University, and was a Visiting Professor at School of the Museum of Fine Arts, Boston. She is currently an Associate Professor at Temple University, Film Media Arts.
In 2014, Rea Tajiri completed her feature-length documentary Lordville. This hybrid documentary was nominated for a Grand Jury Prize at CAAMFest and VCFest. The film was screened recently at Yerba Buena Arts Center. Her current 2022 documentary feature, Wisdom Gone Wild, has won five awards including Audience Award & Jury Award, Honorable Mention at Blackstar Film Festival; Grand Jury Prize & Centerpiece Film at San Diego Asian Film Festival; Audience Choice & Best Documentary at Philadelphia Asian Film Festival. Wisdom screened in the International Competition at IDFA 2022, and in the American Lives section at DOC NYC 2022.
SALOMÉ JASHI: 2023 CHICKEN & EGG AWARD FINALIST DEVELOPMENT GRANT RECIPIENT
Salomé Jashi (she/her) studied documentary filmmaking at Royal Holloway, University of London. Her documentary Taming the Garden (2021) premiered at Sundance Film Festival and Berlinale Forum and was nominated for the European Film Awards. She also directed The Dazzling Light of Sunset (2016), which was awarded the Best first CHF 10’000 at Visions du Réel’s Regard Neuf Competition and other festivals. Her earlier work, Bakhmaro (2011), was nominated for the Asia Pacific Screen Awards. Her producing work How the Room Felt (2021) premiered at IDFA’s International Competition.
Salomé was a fellow of the Nipkow Scholarship Program in 2017 and DAAD Artists-in-Berlin Program in 2020. She is a member of the European Film Academy and a co-founder of DOCA Documentary Association Georgia.
ANGELA TUCKER: 2023 CHICKEN & EGG AWARD RECIPIENT
Angela Tucker (she/her) is an Emmy® and Webby-winning filmmaker working in scripted and unscripted film and television. Her recent work includes NYT Critic’s Pick Belly of the Beast (dir. Erika Cohn); Webby winning branded series in collaboration with REI Co-Op Studios The Trees Remember and A New Orleans Noel’, a Lifetime holiday film starring Patti LaBelle. Past directorial work includes All Skinfolk, Ain’t Kinfolk, a documentary short that aired on PBS’ Reel South; Black Folk Don’t, a documentary web series featured in Time Magazine’s “10 Ideas That Are Changing Your Life”, and (A)sexual, a feature-length documentary about people who experience no sexual attraction that streamed on Netflix and Hulu. Her documentaries in production are The Inquisitor, about political icon Barbara Jordan and Steam (working title), about ancient and alternative health treatments spanning the globe.
She was a Sundance Institute Women Filmmakers Initiative Fellow, and a recipient of Firelight Media’s inaugural William Greaves Fund. Angela is the Founder of TuckerGurl Inc, a boutique production company, and holds an MFA in Film from Columbia University. She is passionate about stories that highlight underrepresented communities in unconventional ways and is a member of the Academy of Motion Pictures Arts and Sciences.
As the US was reeling from the potential impeachment of Richard Nixon, Barbara Jordan–the first Black woman elected to Congress from the South—emerged to ask What does it mean to be Black and patriotic in a divided America?
ILINCA CALUGAREANU: 2023 CHICKEN & EGG AWARD RECIPIENT
Ilinca Calugareanu (she/her) is a UK-based Romanian filmmaker with a background in Anthropology. Blending absurd and playful tones, her films are a mix of fiction and documentary. Her debut documentary feature, Chuck Norris vs Communism, premiered at Sundance Film Festival 2015 and went on to play in cinemas and festivals around the world. Other of her titles include the feature documentary A Cops and Robbers Story (Doc NYC 2020, Hulu) and short documentaries, VHS vs. Communism (2014 Op-Docs- The New York Times), Erica: Man Made (Sheffield DocFest 2017, Guardian Documentaries) and The Joys and Sorrows of Young Yuguo (Sheffield DocFest 2022, Netflix).
She is a Berlinale Talents Alumna (2017), Chicken & Egg Pictures (Egg)celerator Lab Grantee (2018), Sundance Institute’s National Geographic Fellow (2108), Sundance Institute Music and Sound Design Lab Fellow (2019), and SFFILM Rainin Screenwriting Grantee (2020).
Ilinca is one of the founders of Vernon Films, established with producer and sister Mara Adina in 2011. Vernon Films focuses on pushing the boundaries of documentary filmmaking and collaborating with creative voices who seek to devise new ways of arriving at stories.
Celluloid Dreams is a 5 episode anthology series that reveals the power of movies beyond the multiplexes of the Western world, illustrating how across different cultures, political regimes, and historical contexts, films are our common denominator. Films help us dream, escape and understand the world differently, they affect us, transform us and sometimes make us change the world.
SONIA KENNEBECK: 2023 CHICKEN & EGG AWARD RECIPIENT
Sonia Kennebeck (she/her) is an award-winning director, producer, and investigative journalist. Her directing credits include critically-acclaimed feature films United States vs. Reality Winner (SXSW 2021), Enemies of the State (TIFF 2020), and National Bird (Berlinale Special 2016).
Her work screened at major festivals and in theaters, and has been widely distributed through Hulu, Netflix, Amazon Prime, PBS, ARD, and IFC Films. Enemies of the State reached the top of the iTunes independent film and documentary charts, and her Op-Docs- The New York Times film From Journalist to Hostage has over 5 million views on YouTube.
Kennebeck received the 2021 Adrienne Shelly Excellence in Filmmaking Award and was on DOC NYC’s 40 Under 40 list. Her debut feature National Bird (executive produced by Wim Wenders and Errol Morris), about the US drone war, was awarded the Ridenhour Documentary Film Prize and an Emmy® nomination for Outstanding Current Affairs Documentary.
In 2016, Foreign Policy Magazine recognized Kennebeck as one of 100 Leading Global Thinkers. She was also one of Filmmaker Magazine’s 25 New Faces of Independent Film, and has received grants from most major film foundations, including the Sundance Institute, as well as sponsorships from Canon and Avid. She is a member of the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences. Kennebeck is a first-generation college graduate, was born in Malaysia, grew up in Germany, and lives in New York.