Wilfred Buck


He’s from the “fresh-out-of-the-bush, partly civilized, colonized, displaced people,” and he’s here to take us to the stars. Lisa Jackson’s portrait of Cree Elder Wilfred Buck moves between earth and sky, past and present, bringing to life ancient teachings of Indigenous astronomy and cosmology to tell a story that spans generations. Adapted from Buck’s rollicking memoir I Have Lived Four Lives, the film weaves together stories from his life, including his harrowing young years of displacement and addiction. Seamlessly fusing present-day scenes with cinematic re-enactments and archival footage, this intimate yet expansive documentary takes us on an inspiring journey to the space beyond, and to the spaces between us all. 

Wilfred Buck was supported through Lisa Jackson’s 2022 Chicken & Egg Award.



Lisa Jackson looking directly at the camera. She is leaning her chin on her hand. The background is out of focus and has shadows on the wall. Black and white portraitLisa Jackson (she/her) is an Anishinaabe (Aamjiwnaang) award-winning creator of documentary and fiction film and television, VR, and multimedia installation work. As a director, her projects have won two Canadian Screen Awards, been nominated for a Webby and Canadian Association of Journalists Award, and screened at Sundance, Tribeca, SXSW, London BFI, and Hot Docs. She received the 2022 Chicken & Egg Award and the 2021 Documentary Organization of Canada Vanguard Award.

In 2020, she launched Door Number 3 Productions and Wilfred Buck is the first feature release. It won Best Canadian Pitch at Hot Docs Forum and premiered at CPH:DOX in the DOX:AWARD section, was a top 5 audience favorite at Hot Docs, and received a special mention for directing at DOXA Festival.

She’s a member of the Indigenous Screen Office’s Membership Circle, lives in Toronto, has an MFA from York University, and attended the CFC Directors Lab and TIFF Talent Lab and Writers Studio. She is currently developing fiction and nonfiction projects.




Black and white headshot of Lauren GrantLauren Grant (she/her) owns Clique Pictures, a vibrant film and television production company that focuses on working with female creative talent in front and behind the camera. Her producing work includes the films Sugar Daddy, The Retreat, Riot Girls, Wet Bum, Picture Day, as well as the documentaries On the Line, Metamorphosis, and Traceable. Lauren serves as an Executive Producer on The Sticky for Amazon Canada. She won a Canadian Screen Award for the short documentary Take a Walk on the Wildside and a Genie award for Savage. The Hollywood Reporter named Lauren one of 15 Talents to Watch, and she is an alumna of ACE Producers, Trans-Atlantic Partners, Rotterdam Lab, Berlinale Talent Campus, and TIFF Studio. She is starting her distance MFA in Creative Writing at the University of British Columbia in September 2023.


Black and white headshot of Alicia SmithAlicia Smith (she/her) is a producer for the National Film Board of Canada’s North West Studio, where she works with filmmakers, artists and communities in the creation of documentary, animation and interactive projects. She produced this river, which won Best Short Documentary at the Canadian Screen Awards (2017), and Nowhere Land, which won Best Short Documentary Film at imagineNATIVE (2015). Interactive productions include Guy Maddin’s Seances, which launched at Tribeca Storyscapes (2016), and God’s Lake Narrows, which won a Webby Award in 2012. She’s been working with several members of Shoal Lake 40 First Nation since 2016 and the resulting series of five short films, Freedom Road, is set to be released in the fall of 2019.



Black and white headshot of Jennifer BaichwalJennifer Baichwal (she/her) has been directing and producing documentaries for 25 years. Among other films, installations and lens-based projects, she has made 10 feature documentaries which have played all over the world and won awards nationally and internationally. These features include: Let It Come Down: The Life of Paul Bowles (International Emmy); The Holier It Gets (Best Canadian and Best Cultural Film, Hot Docs); The True Meaning of Pictures (Best Arts Doc, Geminis); Manufactured Landscapes (Best Canadian Film, TIFF, Al Gore Reel Current Award); Act of God (opening night film, Hot Docs); Payback (Sundance); Watermark (Berlin, Best Canadian Film, TFCA, and Best Feature Doc, CSA); Long Time Running (TIFF Gala); and ANTHROPOCENE: The Human Epoch (TIFF, Sundance, Berlin, Best Canadian Film, TFCA, and Best Feature Doc, CSA).

Most recently, Baichwal directed Into the Weeds: Dewayne “Lee” Johnson vs. Monsanto Company (2022). It won Best Film Testimony at Ji.hlava International Documentary Film Festival. 

Baichwal sits on the board of Swim Drink Fish Canada. She was a Director of the Board of the Toronto International Film Festival from 2016 – 2022.


Black and white headshot of Nicholas de PencierNicholas de Pencier (he/him) is a Director, Producer, and Director of Photography who works in documentary, performing arts, and video installation. Selected credits include Let It Come Down: The Life of Paul Bowles (International Emmy), The Holier It Gets, (Best Canadian doc, Hot Docs), The True Meaning of Pictures (Gemini, Best Arts), Hockey Nomad (Gemini, Best Sports), Manufactured Landscapes, (TIFF best Canadian feature; Genie, best doc), and Act of God (Gala opening night, Hot Docs). He was also the Producer and Director of Photography of Watermark, (Special Presentation, TIFF & Berlin, Toronto Film Critics Award, Best Canadian Film, CSA Best Documentary), and Black Code (TIFF) which he also directed. With his partner Jennifer Baichwal, he was the co-director (and also Director of Photography) of Long Time Running, a feature documentary on the Tragically Hip’s iconic Man Machine Poem tour (TIFF gala). The Anthropocene Project, is a collaboration with Baichwal and Edward Burtynsky, (TIFF, Sundance, Berlinale, CSAs for Best Feature Documentary and Best Cinematography, Toronto Film Critics Association Prize for Best Canadian Feature Film, CSC Award for Documentary Cinematography). Most recently he was the Producer and Director of Photography on Into the Weeds (opening night, Hot Docs), and the Series Producer of Summit 72 for the CBC. 


Black and white headshot of David ChristensenDavid Christensen (he/him) is a former Executive Producer at the National Film Board of Canada, where he produced and executive produced documentary, animated and interactive projects with a strong social-issue component. His award-winning productions have pushed boundaries in both form and content, earning Oscar nominations, an Emmy Award, Canada’s Top Ten selections, and the Rogers Audience Award for Canadian Feature Documentary at Hot Docs, among other honors. His credits as producer include the Academy Award-nominated The Flying Sailor and the CSA award-winning documentary Kímmapiiyipitssini: The Meaning of Empathy, as well as The Forbidden Room, Hadwin’s Judgment, the animated documentary WALL, based on a script by and starring David Hare, and the Emmy-nominated NOVA episode Transplanting Hope. Christensen is also the executive producer of the Oscar-nominated Wild Life and the award-winning feature documentary nîpawistamâsowin: We Will Stand Up.




Black and white headshot of Janice DaweJanice Dawe (she/her) is one of Canada’s most respected business-minded producers and the co-founder and former President of Bizable Media. Over her 30+ years in the film and television industry, Janice has provided her valuable production and financing expertise to support independent Canadian producers in their work. She has produced and executive produced hundreds of hours of award-winning documentaries, dramas, lifestyle series and digital media productions. Her passion has always been supporting world-class productions in their financing journey and building sustainable independent film and television companies. Janice is a passionate mentor in the industry and is often invited to speak on Canadian film and tv financing. She is a champion for independent Canadian producers and has volunteered her time to DOC, CMPA and Ontario Creates Screen-based Industry Advisory Committee. Janice is the 2023 recipient of the Rogers-DOC Luminary Award.


Black and white headshot of Kathy Avrich JohnsonRecently retired, Kathy Avrich-Johnson (she/her) is a trusted business and legal advisor, supporting the realization of creative producers’ visions. Prior to co-founding Bizable Media, she was instrumental in building organizations (including the ACFTP, predecessor to the CMPA, and the Aspergers Society of Ontario) and managing and professionalizing private companies (Norstar Entertainment, Canadian Accents, Ilana C Frank Films). Kathy has also produced more than 160 hours of television drama, as well as several features, both documentary and dramatic, and more than 50 web-related extensions of television series. Her credits as an executive producer include the NFB-co-produced feature docs nîpawistamâsowin: We Will Stand Up (2019) and A Better Man (2017). An entertainment lawyer since 1983, Kathy is an expert in listening to and advising clients, negotiating, drafting and implementing entertainment agreements.


Greg Boustead (he/him) is an Emmy and Peabody Award-winning documentary producer. He founded Sandbox Films in 2020 to tell more artful and inclusive stories about science. Greg oversees all aspects of the company — from editorial direction and on-location production to general strategy and greenlighting new projects. Greg’s 20+-year career in science journalism spans editorial, production, and writing. He’s played key roles on many feature-length documentaries — including as executive producer for Fire of Love (which was nominated for an Oscar for Best Documentary Feature); Human Nature (which was nominated for three Emmys and acquired by Netflix); and Fireball, a documentary directed by Werner Herzog; and as producer and executive producer of an upcoming documentary feature based on a globally bestselling book, and produced with Darren Aronofsky and Spring Films (The Act of Killing).


Jessica Harrop (she/her) is an Emmy and Peabody Award-winning documentary filmmaker who has dedicated her career to inspiring passion about science through film. She is the Head of Production and Development and a co-founder of Sandbox Films, where she shares responsibility for all project decisions and company strategy and acts as an executive producer for Sandbox Films documentaries — including Oscar-nominated Fire of Love; Sundance Special Jury-Prize winning All Light, Everywhere; Emmy-winning Fathom; and Fireball, a documentary directed by Werner Herzog. Jessica has produced content for a variety of outlets including Netflix, Showtime, Discovery, National Geographic, and PBS. She holds a degree in Ecology and Evolutionary Biology and a Certificate in Theater from Princeton University, where she also co-taught an undergraduate film course on communicating climate change. Jessica serves on the board of Reel Works Teen Filmmaking.




Black and white headshot of Brittany RyanBrittany Ryan (she/her) is a a mixed race Chinese and Red River Métis producer and arts administrator living on the unceded territories of the xʷməθkʷəy̓əm (Musqueam), Sḵwx̱wú7mesh (Squamish), and səlilwətaɬ (Tsleil-Waututh) Nations. Working across disciplines and roles, Brittany has dedicated her career to nurturing new works created by Indigenous and culturally diverse artists. Brittany is the Associate Producer for Wilfred Buck and B.C. Lead of Business Affairs for Bizable Media.

El Eco / The Echo


In the remote village of El Eco that exists outside of time, the children care for the sheep and their elders. While the frost and drought punish the land, they learn to understand death, illness and love with each act, word and silence of their parents. A story about the echo of what clings to the soul, about the certainty of shelter provided by those around us, about rebellion and vertigo in the face of life. About growing up.

El Eco/The Echo was supported through Tatiana Huezo’s 2021 Chicken & Egg Award.



Tatiana Huezo headshot in black and white. Smiling and looking directly at the camera.Mexican-Salvadoran filmmaker Tatiana Huezo (she/her) gained an international reputation with her feature debut, The Tiniest Place (2011), which screened at more than 80 international festivals.

Her work has been widely recognized around the world and acknowledged by the Mexican Academy of Cinematographic Arts and Sciences with eight Ariel awards; among them Best Documentary and Best Director for Tempestad, which premiered in the 66th Berlinale Forum; as well as Best Film for Prayers for the Stolen, which premiered in Un Certain Regard at Cannes Film Festival, where it received a special mention from the jury. 

Tempestad and Prayers for the Stolen were both selected by the Mexican Academy to represent Mexico in the Academy Awards and the Goya Awards; for the latter they received the nomination in the category of Best Iberoamerican film in 2018 and 2022 respectively.  

Her most recent film, Prayers for the Stolen, has had a successful festival run and was nominated for the 37th Annual Film Independent Spirit Awards as well as the DGA Awards in the category of best director. It was also shortlisted for Best International Feature Film at the Academy Awards in 2021. 

Tatiana graduated from the Centro de Capacitación Cinematográfica (CCC) and has a Master Degree in Creative Documentary from the Universidad Pompeu Fabra in Barcelona.

She has given conferences and taught classes in academic spaces like La Escuela de Cine de la Comunidad in Madrid, École cantonale d’art de Lausanne, University of California Santa Barbara,  The Green House in Israel as well as the CCC, among others. Her academic activities also include editing the book “El Viaje, rutas y caminos andados para llegar a otro planeta” produced by the “CCC” and DocumentaMadrid.




Dalia Reyes headshot in black and white. Smiling and looking directly at the camera.Dalia Reyes (she/her) is an Ariel-nominated director and producer, and the founder of Chulada Films, a production house specializing in nonfiction films based in Mexico. Her latest production, El Eco by Tatiana Huezo (2023), premiered in the Encounters section of the Berlin International Film Festival, and received a grant from the Mexican National Endowment for Culture and Arts’ Program of Cinema Development (FOCINE) as well as the IDFA Bertha Fund.

Her first film, Baño de Vida (2016), was screened at over twenty international festivals, including the Guadalajara International Film Festival (FICG), International Film Festival of Asian-Pacific Countries in Vladivostok, and CinéLatino’s Toulouse Latin America Film Festival. Her second film, Ráfagas Serranas, was shot in seven communities in the Sierra Norte of Oaxaca, Mexico.

Reyes has produced several films, including Cenizas (2011) and La Madre (2012) by Ernesto Martínez Bucio, Mi No Lugar (2022) by Isis Ahumada, and Río de Sapos (2023) by Juan Carlos Núñez Chavarría. Mi No Lugar received the Mexican National Endowment for Culture and Arts’ Stimulus for Audiovisual Creation in Mexico and Central America for Indigenous Communities and Afrodescendants, known as ECAMC.

Her latest work as a screenwriter, A Thousand Capas, debuted at Critics’ Week in Cannes. In 2021, she was nominated for the esteemed Ariel Award for best production design for Fernanda Valadez’s debut feature, Sin Señas Particulares.

Since 2013, Reyes has worked with Territories of Culture for Equity and Consorcio Oaxaca, directing each of their documentary projects. She earned a Bachelor’s degree in Communication Studies from the Autonomous National University of Mexico (UNAM) and a Master’s degree in Documentary and Society from the University of Barcelona.



Chronicling the historic efforts of the ALU, Union is an intimate and surprising story of dogged determination, unorthodox tactics, and speaking up despite David vs. Goliath odds. Capturing up-close, in-the-trenches moments with the upstart labor union leaders — including the charismatic Chris Smalls — as they try to build support for their movement on their own terms, filmmakers Brett Story and Stephen Maing bear witness to the realities of labor organizing in the United States — challenging at best; near-impossible when facing the unlimited resources and influence of a corporate giant. They track exhilarating victories and demoralizing setbacks along the way, but foremost spotlight the far-reaching ability of collective action to inspire hope and bring self-determination to workers who’ve long felt disenfranchised and powerless.

Union was supported through Brett Story’s 2023 Chicken & Egg Award.



This is a headshot of Brett Story, a white woman with freckles and long brown hair and bangs. She is sitting at a table against a white wall, wearing a black turtleneck and jeans.Brett Story (she/her) is an award-winning filmmaker and writer based out of Toronto. She is the director of the critically acclaimed feature documentaries The Prison in Twelve Landscapes (2016) and The Hottest August (2019), both of which have screened around the world. Brett has held fellowships from the Guggenheim Foundation and the Sundance Documentary Institute and she was named one of Variety’s 10 Documentary Filmmakers to Watch in 2019. 


Headshot of Stephen Maing in black and whiteStephen Maing (he/him) is an Emmy-award winning filmmaker based in New York. His feature documentary Crime + Punishment, which he directed, filmed and edited, won a Special Jury Award at the 2018 Sundance Film Festival, an Emmy Award for Outstanding Social Issue Documentary and was shortlisted for the Academy Award for Best Documentary. His previous films, High Tech, Low Life, which he directed, filmed and edited over five years, and The Surrender, have screened internationally and were released on POV and Field of Vision, respectively. Maing is a 2021 United States Artists Fellow, Sundance Institute Fellow, NBC Original Voices Fellow, John Jay/Harry Frank Guggenheim Reporting Fellow and a recipient of the IDA’s prestigious Courage Under Fire Award shared with the whistleblowers of the NYPD12. He is a frequent visiting artist and educator based in Ridgewood, Queens.



Headshot of Samantha Curley in black and whiteSamantha Curley (she/her) is an award-winning documentary film producer and creative entrepreneur based in Los Angeles. She is the Co-Founder of Level Ground, which is both a 501(c)3 nonprofit artist collective and a collaboratively run production company. The first film she produced, Framing Agnes (dir. Chase Joynt), premiered at the 2022 Sundance Film Festival where it won the NEXT Innovator Award and Audience Award and went on to win the 2023 GLAAD Media Award for Outstanding Documentary. She is a graduate of Northwestern University and the Kellogg School of Management and currently holds fellowships with the Producers Guild of America, Impact Partners, and NBCU Original Voices. In 2023, she received a Cali Catalyst grant awarded to California changemakers creating tangible impact within the arts and culture sector, shifting power and influence to historically underrepresented voices.



Mars Verrone headshot in black and white

Mars Verrone (they/them) is a filmmaker and musician from Los Angeles, CA, now based in Brooklyn, New York. They produced the feature documentary Union, (dir. Stephen Maing, Brett Story) which premiered at the 2024 Sundance Film Festival in the U.S. Documentary Competition and won a special jury prize for “The Art of Change.” They have fellowships with Sundance Institute, NBC, the Producers Guild of America, and Brown Girls Doc Mafia. Their work has been supported by the Ford Foundation, Field of Vision, and the International Documentary Association, among others. 




Headshot of Martin Dicicco in black and white

Martin DiCicco (he/him) is a cinematographer and director whose work includes All That Passes By Through a Window That Doesn’t Open, Here There is No Earth, Girls Got Game, Searchers, The Hottest August, Landfall, and forthcoming films by Angelo Madsen Minax, Timothy George Kelly, and Jem Cohen.

Look Into My Eyes


Look Into My Eyes gives us an intimate view of psychics in New York City. Over a series of interviews and with a camera that is not afraid to get up close and personal, the film highlights the ins and outs of being a psychic and what that entails, while constructing a tender portrayal of the clients. A thoughtfully paced and oftentimes deeply personal piece, it unfolds the grief, turmoil, and loneliness that come along with being a human. On the flip side, the joys of gaining clarity, achieving closure, and even having a pet are experienced. 

Look Into My Eyes was supported through Lana Wilson’s 2019 Chicken & Egg Award.



Lana Wilson headshot. Black and white.Lana Wilson (she/her) is a director and writer. Her work includes After Tiller, an Emmy® Award-winning feature documentary about the four most-targeted abortion doctors in America; The Departure, a Spirit Award-nominated feature documentary about a punk-turned-priest who helps suicidal people find reasons to live; A Cure for Fear, an IDA Award-nominated short-form series; and Miss Americana, a critically acclaimed documentary about global icon Taylor Swift. Wilson’s most recent documentary, Pretty Baby: Brooke Shields, was a New York Times Critic’s Pick and nominated for two Emmy® Awards, including Outstanding Directing for a Documentary/Nonfiction Program. Wilson is a member of the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences.


Kyle Martin headshot. Black and white.Kyle Martin (he/him) is the founder of the independent film label Electric Chinoland. He’s produced Lana Wilson’s documentary Look Into My Eyes which premiered at the 2024 Sundance Film Festival, and is an Executive Producer on the upcoming second season of HBO’s The Jinx. His recent films include the documentary Descendant which was released by Michelle and Barack Obama’s Higher Ground and Netflix, and Independent Spirit Award nominee Cryptozoo. His previous projects include the Independent Spirit Award nominee Donald Cried; the GKids 2017 release My Entire High School Sinking Into The Sea; and Lena Dunham’s Tiny Furniture (Independent Spirit Award Winner 2011). He is a recipient of the Sundance Institute’s Mark Silverman Producing Fellowship, the San Francisco Film Society’s Kenneth Rainin Foundation Fellowship, the IFP/Cannes Marche Du Film Producer’s Network Fellowship, the Sundance Institute/Rotterdam Cinemart Producing Fellowship, and was named one of Variety magazine’s “Ten Producers to Watch.”

Farming The Revolution


In November 2020, Gurbaz Sangha, a young farmer from Punjab, embarked on a remarkable journey. Riding his tractor for 400 kilometers to Delhi, he joined forces with thousands, and later more than half a million, men and women from diverse backgrounds. Their united mission: to stand against the newly enacted Farm Laws, despite widespread opposition. Amid a COVID lockdown, these farmers—representing over half of India’s workforce—vowed to remain at the borders until the laws were repealed. In this parallel world, they redefined co-existence, with women emerging as equal political partners rather than mere supporting characters. Day after day, the protesters showcased India’s pluralistic, defiant and resilient spirit—often overlooked by the media. As the movement gained momentum, farmers across the country and trade unions of industrial workers rallied in solidarity. The scale of these protests echoed the spirit of India’s independence movement, culminating in an unexpected, triumphant outcome.

Farming the Revolution was supported through Nishtha Jain’s 2020 Chicken & Egg Award.




Nishtha Jain (she/her) is an internationally-recognized filmmaker based in Mumbai best known for Gulabi Gang (2012), Lakshmi and Me (2007) and City of Photos (2004). Her films interrogate lived experience at the intersection of gender, caste and class. They explore the political in the personal and uncover the mechanisms of privilege. Jain is a Chicken & Egg Award winner (2020); Member of the Academy of Motion Pictures and Sciences (AMPAS); Film Independent Global Media Maker Fellow (2019-20); and Recipient of Fulbright-Nehru Academic and Professional Excellence Fellowship (2019). ​After postgraduate training at Jamia Mass Communication Research Centre, New Delhi, she pursued Film Direction at the Film and Television Institute of India, Pune, prior to launching a career in independent cinema.

​She works across various platforms –documentary, narrative, virtual reality and TV series. Her films have been widely screened at film festivals and art-house cinemas and broadcast on TV and have won over 25 international awards and have been reviewed by print-media and academic journals. ​Jain has served as a juror at IDFA, ZFF, Cinema Verité and IDSFFK.  She’s given lectures and master classes at numerous film festivals and universities internationally, including Stanford, NYU, Wellesley College, UCSB, Northwestern University, UT Austin,  Cambridge University, University of London, St. Andrews University, Heidelberg, Danish Film School, FTII Pune, India, Satyajit Ray Film & TV Institute.


Director Akash Basumatari portrait in black and white.

Akash Basumatari (he/him) is an emerging filmmaker from North-East of India. His academic training in Media and Cultural studies from TISS Mumbai has equipped him with strong research skills to engage meaningfully with the craft over the years. His final graduating film Dar-B-Dar (The Itinerants) won the Special Jury Mention (student film) at the Indian Documentary Producers Association Awards 2017, and has been selected in many film festivals across the country.

He has worked with SPS Community Media in a severely drought-prone area of Madhya Pradesh, in Central India for 3 years. Working primarily with poor tribal farmers, who serve as the subjects for the films as well as the audience, he has been exposed to a plethora of rich and diverse experiences that have only added to his versatility as a filmmaker. At SPS, he had been involved in film projects pertaining to issues like land rights, malnutrition, food sovereignty, agriculture, land rights, and poverty.




Producer Valerie Montmartin portrait in black and white

Valerie Montmartin (she/her) specializes in ambitious international co-productions, notably producing Number 387 for ARTE France, selected by the 2018 (Egg)celerator Lab, and On the Inside of a Military Dictatorship in the 2019 competition at CPH DOX and HOT DOCS. She received the PROCIREP French Television Producer Award in the documentary category in 2018. She has been a full member of the CNC’s selective commission since June 2019. She is part of the EAVE program in 2020 with the feature film Séraphine.


Producer Torstein Grude portrait in black and white

Torstein Grude (he/him) is an award-winning film director, cinematographer, and producer based in Stavanger, Norway. He is the founder and partner of Piraya Film and Hinterland Nova and Kudos Family Distribution. His recent productions include the Emmy-nominated Belorussian Waltz (dir. Andrzej Fidyk, 2007), the Joris Ivens finalist Yodok Stories (dir. Andrzej Fidyk, 2009), and the Chicago Film Fest winner On a Tightrope (Dir. Petr Lom, 2007). He also produced Gulabi Gang (dir. Nishtha Jain, 2012) which won the Grimstad Film Festival Documentary award in 2012.

2024 Chicken & Egg Award Recipients

Chicken & Egg Pictures is proud to introduce the ninth cohort of our Chicken & Egg Award. This program awards women and gender-expansive documentary filmmakers who are at advanced- stages with a $75,000 grant as well as a tailored year-long mentorship program that is targeted to the goals of each individual grant recipient. 

“Filmmakers are experts on what they need to push their artistic and personal development forward. Heavy oversight often stonewalls creative breakthroughs. Chicken & Egg Pictures believes that filmmakers, especially those who face barriers related to their gender, race, class, and location, should have financial freedom and flexibility as they embark on new projects. Unrestricted funding remains the cornerstone of the Chicken & Egg Award, and we have witnessed extraordinary breakthroughs with past winners by adhering to this model.” 

– Elaisha Stokes, Senior Program Manager

The 2024 Chicken & Egg Award recipients are Alisa Kovalenko, Beth Aala, Jumana Manna, Katy Léna Ndiaye, Nailah Jefferson, Sierra Pettengill, Ursula Liang, and Violet Du Feng. Each awardee will receive an unrestricted $50,000 career grant and a $25,000 project grant.

Since 2016, the Chicken and Egg Award has granted unrestricted funding to accomplished industry veterans. For the first four years, the program supported US-based filmmakers, before expanding globally. In 2023, Chicken & Egg Pictures grew the grant cohort from six to eight directors. Each Awardee receives a $75,000 grant and year-long tailored mentorship, attends a creative retreat, participates in monthly peer-to-peer cohort calls, and travels to a major film festival where Chicken & Egg Pictures hosts a culminating retreat and facilitates high-level industry networking opportunities around distribution, funding, and more.

Please click on the Recipients’ names for more information on each filmmaker and give these visionary directors a warm welcome to the Nest!

graphic of a film reel


2024 Chicken & Egg Award Recipient


Portrait of Nailah Jefferson. Nailah looks away from camera with arms crossed. Black and white.

Nailah Jefferson (she/her) is a New Orleans born filmmaker intrigued and inspired by the enduring human spirit. Her most recent film, Commuted, premiered at the 2023 New Orleans Film Festival where it won the Audience Award for Best Documentary and Best Louisiana Documentary. Commuted tells the story of Danielle Metz, a woman whose triple life drug sentence was commuted by President Obama after serving 23 years. The film will be available on PBS in 2024.

In 2023, Nailah’s acclaimed HBO Original documentary, Donyale Luna: Supermodel, about the first Black supermodel to grace the covers of Vogue and Harper’s Bazaar, but whose legacy was lost to history, made its debut. Donyale Luna: Supermodel was an official selection of the American Black Film Festival and Sheffield DocFest. The Huffington Post named it one of the best films of 2023. 

In 2021, Nailah released the short documentary Descended From The Promised Land: The Legacy of Black Wall Street. It shed light on surviving families still coping with the injustices their ancestors endured during the 1921 Tulsa Race Massacre. The film was screened at DOC NYC, Martha’s Vineyard Black Film Festival and is currently streaming on Black Public Media’s AfroPop Youtube channel.

2024 Chicken & Egg Award Recipient


Jumana Manna looking into the camera at a slight angle. She has mid length, brown curly hair, is wearing red lipstick and a white t-shirt.Jumana Manna (she/her) is a visual artist and filmmaker. Her work explores how power is articulated, focusing on the body, land, and materiality in relation to colonial inheritances and histories of place. Through sculpture, filmmaking, and writing, Manna deals with the paradoxes of preservation practices, particularly within the fields of archaeology, agriculture, and law. Her practice considers the tension between the modernist traditions of categorization and conservation and the unruly potential of ruination as an integral part of life and its regeneration. She has directed and produced three award-winning feature films, Foragers (2022), Wild Relatives (2018), A Magical Substance Flows Into Me (2016), and four shorts. Jumana was raised in Jerusalem and lives in Berlin.

2024 Chicken & Egg Award Recipient


Black and white portrait of Katy Léna Ndiaye. Katy looks away from camera.Katy Léna Ndiaye (she/her) is a film director and producer whose films offer a window into contemporary Africa, tracing its journey through history and memory. Her lens has a particular focus, a gentle spotlight on women’s perspectives regarding transmission and heritage. Her work has earned awards at festivals across the globe. 

She is known for her documentaries about women muralists, Traces (2003) and Awaiting for Men (2007). Her work reflects on transmission, and the nuanced journey of womanhood. Among her recent films is Time is on Our Side (2019), a portrait of Burkinabe rapper Smockey, whose lyrics became a catalyst in the resistance to Blaise Compaoré’s regime in Burkina Faso. Her most recent work, Money, Freedom, a History of CFA Franc (2022), sheds light on the currency of French-speaking Africa and its lingering ties to colonial history. 

In 2013, Katy Léna founded IndigoMood Films in Dakar, a platform for her narratives to unfold, and where she accompanies talented directors in bringing their unique visual stories to the screen.

2024 Chicken & Egg Award Recipient


Portrait of Beth Aala. Beth looks at camera with hands in her pockets. Black and white.

Beth (she/her) is a Filipina-American documentary filmmaker. She has won three Emmy® Awards and a Peabody Award for her work at HBO. Recently, Beth directed and produced Uncharted with Alicia Keys and her organization, She Is The Music. The film premiered at the Tribeca Festival in June 2023. She also directed and produced This is Brighton, which premiered at the Newport Beach Film Festival in the fall of 2023.

Beth’s other directing credits include the News and Documentary Emmy®-nominated films Made in Boise and Supermensch: The Legend of Shep Gordon. She is a proud member of various organizations, including A-DOC, Brown Girls Doc Mafia, and Filipinx Filmmakers. Additionally, she is a member of the Academy of Television Arts and Sciences and a Wyncote Fellow.

Beth’s films have received support from organizations such as ITVS, the International Documentary Association, Chicken & Egg Pictures, the New York State Council of the Arts, and Women Make Movies. Her work has premiered at prestigious festivals including Sundance, Tribeca, Toronto International Film Festival, and AFI Docs. Furthermore, her films have been featured on HBO, PBS, MTV, Discovery, and A&E.