Critical Issues Fund

We are proud to present the twelve grantees selected for the 2022 Critical Issues Fund. The Critical Issues Fund supports filmmakers, with more than $250,000 in funding, whose work is focused on important and topical issues that are currently having a decided and material impact on communities domestically and internationally. The 2022 grant awardees have projects exploring some of the most pressing issues of the moment: the war in Ukrainegun violencereproductive justice, and climate emergencies.

“Through the Critical Issues Fund, we have identified films that have the potential to drive social change by sharing these stories with the world now—not years down the line. Chicken & Egg Pictures cares deeply about these issues and believes that a more equitable and just world can be shaped by the power of documentary films. Our hope is that through highlighting these stories told by talented women filmmakers, others will be motivated to action to support the films and the issues they highlight, We live in a world that’s not doing enough to prevent war, gun violence, climate change, or advance reproductive justice. We firmly believe these films can help in the fight for these issues.”

– CEO of Chicken & Egg Pictures, Jenni Wolfson.

graphic of a film reel

The 2022 Critical Issues Fund grantees are:

Untitled Uvalde Documentary

Untitled Uvalde Documentary is a 2022 Critical Issues Fund grantee.




Anayansi Prado looking directly at the camera and smiling. She has long black hair and is wearing a black dress. Black and white portrait.

Anayansi Prado (she/her) is an award-winning documentary director and producer with over 20 years of filmmaking experience. Her work has focused on issues of immigration, indigenous land rights, race identity, education, and other social and humanitarian issues. Anayansi’s films have aired nationally on PBS and abroad, including her four feature films Maid in America (2005, Independent Lens) about Latina domestic workers in LA, Children in No Man’s Land (2008) about unaccompanied immigrant minors crossing the US/Mexico border, Paraíso for Sale (2011) about American retirees migrating to Panama, and The Unafraid (2018, America Reframed) about undocumented students in Georgia. Her films have been screened at numerous film festivals including Tribeca Film Festival, Los Angeles Film Festival, Full Frame & Double Exposure.


Anayansi also directed and executive produced the Discovery en Español series Voices of Change (Voces de Cambio) about humanitarian issues in the Latino community, which featured Carlos Santana and Edward James Olmos. She was one of the directors of And She Could Be Next, a two-part documentary series that follows a defiant movement of women of color as they transform politics from the ground up, filmed by a team of women filmmakers and executive produced by Ava DuVernay, Grace Lee, and Marjan Safinia. She’s directed and produced commissioned films and branded content videos for 23andMe and TedTalk.


Anayansi is a 2022 Chicken & Egg Award recipient, a Creative Capital Artist, a Rockefeller Media Fellow, and a Film Expert for the State Department’s film diplomacy program the American Film Showcase. Her work has received support from The John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation, Ford Foundation: Just Films, Chicken & Egg Pictures, Tribeca Studios, ITVS Development Fund, The Fledgling Fund, Latino Public Broadcasting, and others. Anayansi has taught documentary filmmaking on 5 continents and was a visiting professor at UCLA’s School of Theater, Film, and Television, California State University, Northridge, and Chapman University’s Dodge College of Film and Media Arts. Anayansi holds a bachelor’s degree in TV & Film Production from Boston University. Born in Panama, she resides in Los Angeles, California.




Mary Racine looks at the camera. Black and white portrait.

Mary Recine (she/her) is an award-winning producer of documentary films and cultural programs. She has received three Peabody Awards and an Emmy® award for her work, and her films have premiered at prestigious festivals such as Sundance, Berlin, Tribeca, the New York Film Festival, and MoMA.

Recine is best known for producing the Netflix Original documentary Joan Didion: The Center Will Not Hold, directed by Joan’s nephew Griffin Dunne, and for her work as archival producer of the Academy Award-nominated What Happened, Miss Simone? directed by Liz Garbus. Her most recent documentary, LIFT, premiered at the 2022 Tribeca Festival and will be distributed in 2023.




Producer David Goldblum headshot.

David Goldblum (he/him) is a writer-producer of compelling social justice stories. He recently produced and co-wrote the Meryl Streep EP’d documentary Sell/Buy/Date which had its world premiere at SXSW and was released theatrically by Cinedigm. He’s currently in pre-production on two projects:  A Child Called It and an addiction drama to be directed by Vida actress Cara Santana. He’s producing the Peeps movie with Kevin Hart’s HartBeat Productions, as well as writing/executive producing a film adaptation of the hit book A Severe Mercy for Origin Entertainment. He was a graduate of the UCLA MFA Screenwriting Program.

Untitled Baby Doe Film


Untitled Baby Doe Film intimately explores the phenomena of pregnancy denial through the stories of two women, a generation apart, given life sentences for the deaths of their newborns.

Untitled Baby Doe Film is a 2022 Critical Issues Fund grantee.




Jessica Earnshaw looking directly at the camera. Black and white portrait.

Jessica Earnshaw (she/her) is a documentary filmmaker and photographer. In 2020, she was featured on DOC NYC’s “40 under 40” list. Her work focuses on criminal justice, familial relationships, and women. Her photography has appeared in National Geographic, The Marshall Project, Mother Jones Magazine, The New York Times, The Wall Street Journal, and NPR, amongst others. Her first documentary feature, Jacinta (2020), executive produced by Impact Partners, won the Albert Maysles Best New Documentary Director Award at the Tribeca Film Festival in 2020 and was released by Hulu and ABC News in 2021. Jessica is a graduate of the International Center of Photography’s photojournalism program (New York).




Holly Meehl Chapman looking to the right side of the camera. She is wearing earrings and has shoulder length hair. Black and white portrait.

Holly Meehl Chapman (she/her) produces award-winning narrative and documentary features through her company, Lunamax Films. Credits include the feature documentary Jacinta, which launched to critical acclaim at the Tribeca Film Festival and won the Albert Maysles Best New Documentary Director Award in 2020. The film was picked up by ABC News and released as a Hulu Original. Holly also produced the critically lauded documentary, For the Birds as well as the festival’s favorite romantic comedy, In Reality. Holly’s co-producing credits include the CNBC documentary, (Dis)Honesty: The Truth about Lies and Love, and Charlie: The Rise and Fall of Chef Charlie Trotter, which was recently released by Greenwich Entertainment. Holly is an Impact Partners Producing Fellow and was named one of Doc NYCs “40 under 40” in 2020.

Breaking the News


Frustrated by the dearth of women and people of color in the media, as well as all the white men dominating newsrooms, in 2020 a motivated group of women and LGBTQ+ journalists banded together to buck the status quo and launch The 19th* News. Based in Austin, Texas, the digital news start-up is named after the 19th Amendment which gave women the right to vote, but with an asterisk to acknowledge the Black women and women of color who were omitted. The 19th*’s work is guided by the asterisk–—asking who is overlooked in the story and how they can be included. 

Breaking the News is a 2022 Critical Issues Fund grantee.




Chelsea Hernandez looking left of the camera in a side profile. She has long dark hair and is wearing red lipstick with an embroidered blouse. Black and white portrait.

Chelsea Hernandez (she/her) is a Mexican-American filmmaker based in Austin, Texas. Named as one of Texas Monthly’s “10 Filmmakers on the Rise,” she is an 8-time Lone Star Emmy® Award-winning director, producer, and editor. Chelsea worked on the PBS special Fixing the Future, hosted by NPR’s David Brancaccio and directed by Ellen Spiro; United Tacos of America (El Rey Network series); and That Animal Rescue Show executive produced by Richard Linklater (CBS All-Access). Chelsea directed/produced the documentary An Uncertain Future (2018 SXSW Texas Short Jury Winner, Field of Vision, Firelight Media). She made her feature directorial debut with the award-winning documentary Building the American Dream (SXSW 2019, PBS).


Heather Courtney looking away from the camera to her left. She has long, wavy hair and is wearing a jean shirt. She is holding a mug and sitting on a wooden porch. Black and white portrait.Based in Los Angeles, Heather Courtney (she/her) is an Emmy® Award-winning filmmaker, and a Guggenheim, Sundance, and Fulbright fellow. Her film Where Soldiers Come From was broadcast nationally on the PBS series POV, and won an Emmy®, an Independent Spirit Award, and a SXSW Jury Award. She also co-directed and produced a Ford Foundation-funded feature documentary on DACA students, called The Unafraid, which was broadcast on the national PBS series America ReFramed. Prior to receiving her MFA in Film, Heather spent eight years writing and photographing for the United Nations and several refugee organizations, including in the Rwandan refugee camps after the 1994 genocide.


Princess Hairston looking off camera to her right. She has dark curly hair parted in the middle. She is wearing a black turtleneck blouse and large hoop earrings and is sitting in front of an out of focus brick wall. Black and white portrait.Princess A. Hairston (she/her) is a creative director, cinematographer, producer, and Emmy® nominated editor based in New York City. Princess was recently selected as one of the 25 filmmaker nominees for the 2020 Lynn Shelton Of A Certain Age grant. Aside from producing and directing multiple films, Princess has edited several films like Pier Kids, Fresh Dressed, Masterpiece of Love, and Capture with Mark Seliger. She is a 2018 recipient of the Karen Schmeer Editing Fellowship and a 2018 Winner of the NYTVF + WEtv Producer Pitch. Her work has been recognized with nominations and awards from the Emmys®, The Webbys, and many film festivals. 





Diane Quon looking directly at camera and is smiling. She has mid-length hair and is wearing a turtleneck, gold hoop earrings and black rimmed glasses. Black and white portrait.

Academy Award® nominated Diane Quon (she/her) worked as a marketing executive at NBC and Paramount Pictures in Los Angeles before moving back to her hometown of Chicago. Diane has produced multiple documentaries including the Oscar® and Emmy® nominated, and Peabody award-winning film, Minding The Gap (Hulu); Oscar® shortlisted Bad Axe (IFCFilms); The Dilemma Of Desire (Showtime); Emmy® nominated Finding Yingying (MTVDocs); and For The Left Hand (PBS). In addition, she produced Wuhan Wuhan (POV) and Surf Nation, and is developing the documentary Untitled Sam And Omar Project. Diane is an AMPAS and PGA member, and is a Sundance Creative Producing Fellow and Cinereach Producer Awardee.



Sol in the Garden


A day after her 19th birthday, Sol shot and killed a rival gang member. After a five-year fight against the death penalty, she was sentenced to 31 years in prison to life with parole. Little did she know that her incarceration would lead her to a new passion: gardening. “Gardening is my freedom,” says Sol, echoing the words of South African leader Nelson Mandela, who gardened during his incarceration in the apartheid regime. Sol learned about the power of gardening through the Insight Garden Program located in 11 prisons in California. For Sol, gardening is a way to map memory and transform its landscape into something more beautiful than what had been formerly sown—sexual abuse, gang,  and gun violence.

After release from prison, Sol (Sun in Spanish) re-discovers East Oakland through utopian visions and community gardening with Oakland’s Planting Justice worked by the formerly incarcerated and for the community. Through gardening and reflection, Sol—who became a passionate activist against gun violence and mass incarceration—creates new memories and a vision for Oakland as a place where she heals and transforms her own community. Her backstory as a Sureños gang member provides a stark contrast to her life-giving gardening practice today.

Sol in the Garden is a 2022 Critical Issues Fund grantee.




Débora Souza Silva looking directly at the camera. She has braided black hair and golden highlights. Black and white portrait.

Débora Souza Silva (she/her) is a documentary filmmaker whose work examines systemic racism and inequality. Her work has been featured on PBS, BBC, The NYT, and Fusion. She is a recipient of the Creative Capital Award, a Chicken & Egg Pictures’ Egg(celerator) Lab grantee, and a Firelight Media Documentary Lab fellow. Her work has also been funded by Sundance Institute, Tribeca Film Institute, Fork Films, Catapult Film Fund, Berkeley Film Foundation, Sisters in Cinema, California Film Institute, and Cal Humanities, among other organizations. Black Mothers Love & Resist, her debut feature documentary, follows the mothers behind the Black Lives Matter Movement.


Emily Cohen Ibañez looking directly at the camera. She has short grey and dark brown hair and is wearing gold earrings, lipstick, and a striped T-shirt. Black and white portrait.

Emily Cohen Ibañez (she/her) is a Latinx filmmaker based in Oakland who earned her doctorate in Anthropology with a certificate in Culture and Media at New York University. Her film work pairs lyricism with social activism, advocating for labor, environmental, and health justice. Her documentary Bodies At War/Mina (2015) premiered at El Festival de Cine de Bogotá. Her short films reach wide audiences internationally, including distribution through The Guardian, The Intercept, and Independent Lens online. Emily’s work has been funded by JustFilms Ford Foundation, Firelight Media, Chicken & Egg Pictures, Sundance, and Fulbright, among other organizations. Her feature documentary debut, Fruits Of Labor had its world premiere at SXSW 2021; it has won multiple awards on the festival circuit.

Red Zone


Red Zone is a dangerous area in the frontline zone where hostilities take place. But in some other sense, it is also a space of insecurity for people who live in a shadow of an every-minute threat. And moreover, it is a zone of borderline sensations.

What does it mean to be a woman in the war times? Ukrainian film director and writer Iryna Tsilyk offer to look at this issue from her personal point of view in the form of the animated film essay, an intimate film diary.

Red Zone is a 2022 Critical Issues Fund grantee.



Iryna Tsilyk looking directly at the camera. Black and white portrait.

Iryna Tsilyk (she/her) is a Ukrainian filmmaker, writer, and screenwriter. Notably, she directed the feature-length documentary film The Earth Is Blue As an Orange which won the Directing Award: World Cinema Documentary at Sundance Film Festival 2020, as well as numerous other honors. The film was selected for the Berlinale film festival (Generation 14+), IDFA’s “Best of Fest”, MoMA Doc Fortnight, CPH:DOX, Hot Docs, and more than 100 other International film festivals.

Previously, Tsilyk has directed several short documentaries and fiction films. Her feature-length debut fiction film Rock. Paper. Grenade premiered at Warsaw FF’22. Now she is working on two new projects: the fiction My Ninth Life and the documentary Red Zone. Tsilyk is also the author of eight books published in Ukraine (poetry, prose, and children’s books).



Darya Bassel looking directly at camera. She has shoulder length, wavy hair. Black and white portrait.

In 2011, Darya Bassel (she/her) joined the team of Docudays UA International Human Rights Documentary Film Festival in Kyiv where she still works as a programmer and head of industry. Parallel to her work at the festival, she also works in film production. The first film she worked as associate producer and a festival agent was My Father is my Mother’s Brother, directed by Vadym Ilkov, which was coined the most innovative film in the International Competition at the 2018 Visions du Réel Awards. In 2019, she and Vika Khomenko launched the film production company Moon Man. The company focuses on creative documentary and fiction films with a strong authorial director’s approach. In 2022, Moon Man’s first production, the documentary Outside, had its world premiere at CPH:DOX. Darya was also co-producer of the award-winning documentary A House Made of Splinters, directed by Simon Lereng Wilmont. She has served on juries at numerous festivals, including IDFA, Visions du Réel, Krakow IFF, and One World. She was also invited by the Ukrainian film production company, TABOR, to co-produce Maksym Nakonechnyi’s debut feature, Butterfly Vision, which premiered in Cannes 2022, in the Un Certain Regard. 

Razing Liberty Square


Miami is ground-zero for sea-level-rise. When residents of the Liberty Square public-housing community learn about a $300 million revitalization project in 2015, they soon discover that this sudden interest comes from the fact that their neighborhood is located on the highest-and-driest ground in the city. Now they must prepare to fight a new form of racial injustice – Climate Gentrification.

Razing Liberty Square is a character-driven verité documentary that weaves personal stories in and out of the larger social justice narrative. Foremost it is about a community fighting to save itself from being erased in a rapidly changing Miami.

Razing Liberty Square is a 2022 Critical Issues Fund grantee.



Katja Esson standing in profile to the camera. She is looking off camera to her right and is wearing a coat. Background is out of focus. Black and white portrait.

Katja Esson (she/her) is an Academy Award® nominated filmmaker based in Miami. Known for her intimate character-driven documentaries tackling race, class, and gender, her credits include HBO short documentary Ferry Tales which turns the unlikely setting of the Staten Island Ferry Powder Room into a celebration of sisterhood (2004). In 2007, Hole in the Sky – The Scars of 9/11 received the Gold Award at the World Media Festival. Her 2011 film Skydancer, about two Mohawk ironworkers torn between the Akwesasne reservation and New York City, received nominations for Best Film, Best Director, and Best Cinematography at the Shanghai Film Festival and premiered on PBS and ARTE in 2011. Katja’s Poetry of Resilience was nominated for the Cinema for Peace Award in 2012. Her five-part documentary series Backroads USA (2014) and American Rivers (2016) premiered on ARTE and PBS in 2018. A Simons-Public Humanities Fellow at Kansas University, her films have screened at the Museum of Modern Art, American Museum of Natural History, and the Smithsonian. Katja’s work has been supported by the National Endowment for the Arts, the Knight Foundation, ITVS, IDA Enterprise, NYSCA, the Redford Center, Sundance and the Ford Foundation. 




Ann Bennett looking directly at the camera. She is wearing a necklace and earrings and is placing her hand against her face. Black and white portrait.Ann Bennett (she/her) is an Emmy® nominated documentary filmmaker, multimedia producer, and teaching artist who has devoted her career to telling diverse stories through film, television, museum installations, and interactive live events. She produced the NAACP Image Award-winning documentary, Through A Lens Darkly: Black Photographers And The Emergence Of A People as well as the multi-platform community engagement initiative, Digital Diaspora Family Reunion (DDFR). Ann’s film credits include Citizen King and Fisk Jubilee Singers for the PBS series American Experience, Hymn For Alvin Ailey for Dance in America, and the award-winning PBS mini-series Africans In America and America’s War On Poverty. Ann’s passion for nonfiction storytelling is matched only by her commitment to teaching and mentoring young people and students of all ages. She is a graduate of the Columbia Journalism School and Harvard College, and she was a Laundromat Project Create Change Fellow in 2019. Recently, Ann was an Impact Partners Documentary Producers Fellow and a Sundance Producers Lab fellow with Razing Liberty Square.


Corinna Sager looking directly at the camera. She has shoulder-length light brown hair and is wearing a scarf. Black and white portrait.Corinna Sager is an international, award-winning director/producer. She produced Katja Esson’s Academy Award nominated short documentary Ferry Tales, which was broadcast on HBO and ARTE, and Poetry of Resilience, which received support from the National Foundation for the Arts and was nominated for the Cinema for Peace Award at the Berlinale. Corinna founded and led Stories from the Field, the United Nations Documentary Film Festival focused on the Millennium Development Goals in partnership with the UN Department of Public Information and The New School. Since 2010 Corinna has also taught and developed courses at Pace University’s Digital Media and Communications Master’s Program. Most recently she created Let’s Be Frank, a discussion series focused on the challenges of America’s ‘melting pot’, which she is currently developing to become a regular series.

Ronald Baez looking directly at the camera. He is sitting on a bench and is leaning forward. He has a full beard and is wearing a hooded jacket. A figure can be seen seated in the out of focus background. Black and white portrait.Ronald Baez (he/him) is the Miami Producer. He is a screenwriter, director, and award-winning immersive media artist born and raised in Miami, Florida. His most recent film project, Scenes from our Young Marriage, premiered at the Borscht and Miami Film Festivals before being distributed by PBS Broadcasting and Seed&Spark Online SVOD. Baez was awarded the Fledgling Fund’s Rapid Deployment Grant in 2018 for his doc series about global warming and sea level rise in Miami, King Tide. He also received the NAB Futures Innovator’s Award in 2019 for his ongoing immersive reality projects produced in collaboration with the University of Florida’s MET Lab. Baez serves as the Artistic Director of the After School Film Institute, a nonprofit organization mentoring at-risk, inner-city students in South Florida.



Intercepted is an 80-minute observational documentary film about the aftermath of the Russian invasion of Ukraine in 2022. Its narrative is based on a simple yet shocking juxtaposition of two realities: the reality of Ukrainians who have been suffering and resisting the war violence and the reality of the Russian military, and civilians who have been perpetrating it. We learn about the former through quiet observations of the trail of the war in the cities most affected by it. The latter is built with off-screen voices: conversations of ordinary Russian soldiers in Ukraine who call their friends and relatives in Russia. These heart-to-heart exchanges have been secretly intercepted and then publicly released by the Ukrainian intelligence.

Intercepted is a 2022 Critical Issues Fund grantee.


Oksana Karpovych looking directly at the camera. She has short brown hair and has her hand close to her face. Black and white portrait.Oksana Karpovych (she/her) is a Ukrainian film writer, director, and photographer born in Kyiv, and currently living and working between Montreal and Kyiv. Her debut feature documentary film Don’t Worry, the Doors Will Open won the New Visions Award at the Montreal International Documentary Festival (RIDM) in 2019 and received an honorable mention in the Emerging Canadian Filmmaker category at Hot Docs 2020.


Giacomo Nudi looking directly at camera and smiling. He is wearing a white, collared shirt and a light grey vest with black lining. Black and white portrait.After a career in communications and advertising, Giacomo Nudi (he/him) shifted towards his first passion, cinema. Trained at L’inis, he joined the production company Les Films Outsiders, then co-founded Cosmos Films. With a wealth of experience in production, marketing and impact strategies, he accompanies films from conception to distribution that raise awareness on various social issues and bring forth underrepresented voices to big and small screens.


Rocío Barba Fuentes looking directly at camera. She is standing in front of a wooden paneled wall. She has hazelnut eyes, dark, medium length brown hair, a nose ring, silver earrings and is wearing a blue sweater with black dots. Black and white portrait.

Trained at EICTV in Cuba and L’inis in Montreal, Spanish-born producer Rocío B. Fuentes (she/her) worked in the Caribbean before settling in Montreal, where she joined the production company Les Films Outsiders and co-founded Cosmos Films. A Eurodoc graduate with valuable international experience, she enjoys working with filmmakers with daring visions and underrepresented voices in both fiction and documentary.

Hollywood Does Abortion (working title)


Hollywood Does Abortion is a deep dive into the depiction of abortion in film and television, revealing how flawed portrayals–that it is unsafe, rare, or easy to access–contributed to persistent misperceptions that impact attitudes and public policy. Extensive archival imagery spans a plethora of television and film, ranging from Maude and Dirty Dancing to Jane the Virgin and Juno, and creates a historical timeline to support the “story” of the film. Leading directors, writers, showrunners, and cultural critics share their personal and political reactions to these seminal depictions through the lens of today’s post-Roe world.

Hollywood Does Abortion(working title) is a 2022 Critical Issues Fund grantee.


Barbara Attie looking directly at camera. She is wearing eyeglasses and a gold necklace. The background of bookcases is out of focus. Black and white portrait.Barbara Attie (she/her) is an Emmy® nominated filmmaker who has collaborated with Janet Goldwater for more than 30 years. Barbara and Janet joined with Mike Attie to produce and direct Abortion Helpline, This is Lisa, a short documentary that screened at Sundance, won the Grand Jury Prize for Best Short Doc at AFI DOCS, and was short-listed for an Academy Award® in 2021. Their work has been supported by the Sundance Institute, the NEA, the NEH, and ITVS and they were awarded a prestigious Pew Fellowship. Among their documentaries are BaddDDD Sonia Sanchez, Mrs. Goundo’s Daughter, Rosita, Maggie Growls, and Motherless.


Janet Goldwater looking directly at camera. She is wearing eyeglasses and earrings. The background of bookcases is out of focus. Black and white portrait.

Janet Goldwater (she/her) is an Emmy® nominated independent filmmaker who has collaborated with Barbara Attie for 30 years. Janet co-produced and directed Abortion Helpline, This is Lisa, winner of the Grand Jury Prize for Short Films at AFI DOCS 2020. Abortion Helpline was also an IDA Documentary Awards nominee, on the DOC NYC Shortlist 2020, and short-listed for an Academy Award® in 2021. Their first film together, Motherless, A Legacy of Loss from Illegal Abortion, highlighted the dangers of pre-Roe v. Wade abortions and has become a fixture of US law, medical, and nursing school curricula.


Mike Attie looking directly at camera. He is wearing eyeglasses and has a festival lanyard around his neck. Black and white portrait.

Mike Attie (he/him) is a Philadelphia-based filmmaker and a professor at the University of the Arts. His films have been screened at the Sundance Film Festival, Hot Docs, DOC NYC, Big Sky, CPH:DOX, and SFFILM. Previously, he co-produced/directed and was director of photography for Abortion Helpline, This is Lisa, which premiered at Sundance, won the Special Jury Prize at AFI Docs, was shortlisted for an Academy Award®, and is available on Topic. Attie’s films have been supported by the Sundance Documentary Film Program, the Knight Foundation, and the Catapult Film Fund.


Eliza Licht looking directly at camera. She is wearing earrings and is in front of an out focus background. Black and white portrait.

Eliza Licht (she/her) has worked in the documentary field for 20 years as an impact strategist, producer, and television executive. Her most recent producing credits include consulting producer of Battleground (2022) and co-producer of the 2020 documentary Disclosure. In 2020, she founded the impact and production firm Red Owl. Before that, Eliza spent 17 years leading impact campaigns for the PBS documentary series POV; relevant campaigns include Abortion Helpline, This is Lisa (2020), Battleground, Belly of the Beast (2020), Disclosure, and After Tiller (2014).



Frontline is both a personal story and a video diary of life on the frontline, revealing a very different, unseen aspect of war. It is a palette of states, a prolonged look at the world around us, through a camera that is both a soldier’s eye and a documentary filmmaker’s eye. 

Frontline will be a poetic documentary based on weeks of shooting from the cold early days of Spring to the Summer of 2022, while Alisa’s unit holds its position. This intimate film will be an insight into a very specific world of a frontline seen from a unique female perspective. 

Frontline is a 2022 Critical Issues Fund grantee.


Alisa Kovalenko looking directly at the camera. She is sitting on a wooden floor and wearing denim trousers and a white shirt. Her shoulder-length hair is curly. Black and white portrait.Alisa Kovalenko (she/her) was born in Zaporizhia, South-Eastern Ukraine. She studied at the Karpenko-Kary Cinema University of Kyiv and at the Andrzej Wajda School in Warsaw. Her debut documentary Alisa in Warland (2015) premiered in Amsterdam at the IDFA Competition for First Appearance. Her second documentary, Home Games (2018), a social intimate drama about a young female football player, was again an IDFA selection, playing in more than 100 festivals, and winning 11 awards, including Sheffield Doc/Fest. 



Kasia Kuczyńska looking directly at camera and is smiling. She has long, dark hair and is wearing a crew neck shirt. Black and white portrait.Katarzyna Kuczynska (she/her) is a Polish producer at HAKA Films in Warsaw. She graduated from Lodz Film School. Katarzyna has worked on international co-productions such as Communion, directed by Anna Zamecka, which went on to win the EFA Award for Best Documentary in 2017. HAKA’s first documentary, Boylesque, by Bogna Kowalczyk, premiered at Hot Docs 2022. HAKA Films is co-producing Alisa Kovalenko’s feature-length documentary, We Will Not Fade Away. Katarzyna is a part of Ji.hlava’s Emerging Producers 2023 programme.



Monica Hellström looking directly at camera. Black and white portrait.Monica Hellström (she/her) is a Danish producer. Monica worked as a producer at Final Cut for Real from 2010 to 2022, when she started her own company, Ström Pictures. Monica was the lead producer on the award-winning documentary Flee (2021) by Jonas Poher Rasmussen. Monica’s most recent titles as producer include A House Made of Splinters (2022) and The Distant Barking of Dogs (2017), by Simon Lereng Wilmont, and He’s My Brother (2020) by Cille Hannibal and Christine Hanberg. 

Valeryi Kalmykov looking directly at camera. He is wearing a black t-shirt and is sitting in front of bamboo shades. Black and white portrait.Valery Kalmykov (he/him) is a Ukrainian producer who founded Truman Films in 2013. In 2014, he produced My Mermaid My Lorelei, directed by Nana Jorjadze, which was an official selection in several festivals in 2015, such as Warsaw Film Festival and Cottbus Film Festival. In 2017, Valery produced 5 Therapy, directed by Alisa Pavslovskaya, and in 2018 he completed another film by Alisa Pavslovskaya entitled Gogoldoc, which was chosen for Best Documentary at the International Filmmakers Festival of New York. His latest documentary, We Will Not Fade Away by Alisa Kovalenko will premiere in early 2023.