Ascension, Simple As Water & Writing With Fire on the 94th Oscars® shortlist

The Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences announced on Tuesday, December 21 their shortlist for documentary features and documentary short subject. At Chicken & Egg Pictures we are sending massive congratulations to the 3 Nest-supported films on the list: Ascension, Simple As Water, and Writing With Fire, as well as to the 5 films from the AlumNest.

We are egg-cited to see these films on these lists and look forward to the Nominations list, which will be announced on Tuesday, February 8. Nominations voting begins on Thursday, January 27 and concludes on Tuesday, February 1.

The 94th Oscars® will be held on Sunday, March 27 and will be televised live on ABC and in more than 200 territories worldwide. Take a look at the shortlisted films below and checkout the full list with this link.

Ascension

Directed by Jessica Kingdon

Produced by Jessica Kingdon, Kira Simon-Kennedy, and Nathan Truesdell

Still from Ascension

Simple As Water

Directed by Megan Mylan

Produced by Robin Hessman & Megan Mylan

Simple As Water still

Writing With Fire

Directed and produced by Rintu Thomas & Sushmit Ghosh

Writing With Fire, directed by Rintu Thomas and Sushmit Ghosh 2018 Accelerator Lab

From the AlumNest

Documentary Feature

President 
dir. Camilla Nielsson 
prods. Joslyn Barnes, Signe Byrge Sørensen 

In the Same Breath 
dir. Nanfu Wang 
prods. Jialing Zhang, Carolyn Hepburn, Sara Rodriguez, Julie Goldman, and Christopher Clements  

Documentary Short Subject

Águilas
dir. & prod. Kristy Guevara-Flanagan
co-dir. & prod. Maite Zubiaurre 

Terror Contagion
dir. & prod. Laura Poitras 
prods. Anonymous, Yoni Golijov  

International Feature Film 

Prayers for the Stolen
dir. Tatiana Huezo 
prods. Nicolás Celis, Jim Stark

Announcing the Fork Films and Chicken & Egg Pictures Story Workshop!

We’re proud to announce (via Women & Hollywood) our joint creative story workshop with Fork Films, a collaboration that combines our values-driven missions of propelling underrepresented stories.

Filmmakers from both the Fork Films’ alumnae roster and Chicken & Egg Pictures’ AlumNest will receive supportive, strategic feedback from their peers, as well as mentors from both organizations to explore story structure, learn production best practices, and leave with a sharper vision for their films.

Still from Fight Song by Denali Tiller

“Together we are stronger! This opportunity to combine our mission-aligned organizations and take advantage of our organic synergy to champion filmmakers is so valuable. It allows us to further support and elevate filmmakers as they continue to explore the stories in their films and learn about production best practices. We couldn’t be more excited about this partnership,” said Chicken & Egg Pictures Program Director Lucila Moctezuma.

Learn about the Fork Films and Chicken & Egg Pictures Story Workshop participants below:

Body Parts

Directed by Kristy Guevara-Flanagan (AlumNest & Fork Films Alumna)
Produced by Helen Hood Scheer

Body Parts explores the making of Hollywood intimacy scenes in a post #MeToo era. From a kaleidoscopic range of perspectives, the film traces how a cinematic legacy of exploitation and ingenuity have shaped the entertainment industry and audiences. Can an authentic, more ethical vision of female sexuality be conveyed? The answers go beyond movie-making and impact the world at large.


Fight Song

Directed and produced by Denali Tiller (AlumNest)

Maia, Kayla and Alli are three young women who have aspirations as many young women do: to find love, success, and purpose in their work. But for these three women, their work involves getting hit, punched, body-slammed, kicked, tackled – and doing the same to others. As these women emerge from tender teenage years to a rough, brutal world of punching bags, dummies, broken bones, and razor’s edge competition, we will witness the emotional and physical strength that’s required to compete at a high level, and explore the threshold between fighting for fitness, validation, control, or self-defense in the face of trauma.


The Half Truths

Directed by Hemal Trivedi (AlumNest)
Produced by Hemal Trivedi, Amelia Hanibelsz, Cynthia Kane

India’s bloodiest conflict zone is Chhattisgarh, an environmentally fragile region and state where the country’s last dense forest exists, the “lungs of India”.  A multinational mining company is eviscerating the land while simultaneously at war with rebel tribal forces. Soni, a tribal school teacher, runs an orphanage and is unexpectedly caught in the crossfire.  She is arrested, tortured, and raped. Her arduous quest for justice makes her an international symbol of resistance against state oppression. After release from prison term, and with little choice in the matter, a leader emerges to save her cherished forest and find a path to peace.


Merkel

Directed by Eva Weber (AlumNest)
Produced by Lizzie Gillett, Sigrid Dyekjaer, Eva Weber, Sonja Henrici

As Angela Merkel leaves the world stage, Merkel explores how a triple outsider—a woman, an East German and a scientist—re-invented herself to become one of the world’s most powerful politicians. Told from an international perspective for an international audience, this film is the definitive re-examination of Angela Merkel’s life and career, delicately told with humor, subtlety, and poignancy.


Power & Light

Directed by Marion Lipschutz, Rose Rosenblatt (AlumNest & Fork Films Alumnae)
Produced by Rose Rosenblatt, Sabrina Alvarez, Jesse Epstein

In Lawrence, MA a Dominican Pastor and his Anglo wife transform a fractious group of evangelical LatinX clergy into a fighting force for climate justice, determined to make their town a showcase for a green future. Power & Light is a portrait of a marriage that sits on the fault lines of race, culture, gender and religion, mirroring the larger tensions of a story about organizing for climate justice. Sue and Joel’s perspective, and their marriage, emotionally anchor the larger story of how a community informed by spiritual faith struggles to organize around man-made disasters.


The Total Trust

Directed and produced by Jialing Zhang (2021 Chicken & Egg Award Recipient* & Fork Film Alumna)

The Total Trust (working title) takes a visceral look at the realities of a society in the throes of a digital invasion. From cameras to AI profiling, China is facing an unprecedented level of surveillance, upheld in equal measure through fear and trust. By exploring the relationship between the watched and the watching, our film uncovers the trauma and hope engendered by these measures and lends a voice to those that stand in resilient defiance of such blatant abuse of power.

*The Total Trust is also supported by Chicken & Egg Pictures through Jialing Zhang’s Chicken & Egg Award this year.

Supported Films at DOC NYC Film Festival

Chicken & Egg Pictures is part of DOC NYC 2021 line up. With an in-person return to theatrical screenings and virtual options available throughout the US, the festival will run from Wednesday, November 10 to Thursday, November 18. Take a look at the five Nest-supported films, and projects from the AlumNest below and get your tickets with this link.

Nest-supported Films


Once Upon a Time in Uganda

dir. Cathryne Czubek, co-dir. Hugo Perez
prods. Gigi Dement, Cathryne Czubek, Matt Porwoll, Hugo Perez, Kyaligamba Ark Martin

2017 Accelerator Lab Cathryne Czubek Hugo Perez Lights Camera Uganda
Still from Once Upon a Time in Uganda

US Premiere 
Friday, Nov. 12
Tickets here
Against all odds, former bricklayer and teacher Isaac Nabwana has turned his small home in the slums of Uganda’s capital city into the Wakaliwood action movie studio. After 10 years and 40+ films, Wakaliwood has become an overnight international media sensation, inspiring others around the world to follow in his footsteps. When New York film nerd Alan Hofmanis shows up on his doorstep one day, everything is bound to change.


Storm Lake

dirs. Beth Levison & Jerry Risius
prod. Beth Levison

Still from Storm Lake
Still from Storm Lake

NYC Premiere
Friday, Nov. 12 
Sunday, Nov. 14 
Tickets here 
Pulitzer prize-winning journalist Art Cullen and his family fight to unite and inform their rural Iowan farming community through their biweekly newspaper, The Storm Lake Times—even as the paper hangs on by a thread. Twice a week, they work as civic watchdogs to protect their hometown and the legacy of credible journalism, at large—come hell or pandemic.


Writing With Fire

dirs. & prods. Rintu Thomas, Sushmit Ghosh

Still from Writing With Fire
Still from Writing With Fire

NYC Premiere
Thursday, Nov. 11 
Tickets here 
In a cluttered news landscape dominated by men, emerges India’s only newspaper run by Dalit women. Armed with smartphones, Chief Reporter Meera and her journalists break traditions, be it on the frontlines of India’s biggest issues or within the confines of their homes, redefining what it means to be powerful.


United States Vs. Reality Winner

dir & prod. Sonia Kennebeck 
prod. Ines Hofmann Kanna

NYC Premiere
Saturday, Nov. 13 
Tickets here
Reality Winner (her actual birth name) is a U.S. Air Force veteran who became a whistleblower in her 20s by leaking classified documents about Russian cyber-warfare attacks on the 2016 U.S. elections. Award-winning filmmaker Sonia Kennebeck (National Bird; Enemies of the State), supported by executive producer Wim Wenders, digs into her case, exploring mistakes made by journalists at The Intercept that led the FBI to discover Winner’s identity.*


Boycott

dir & prod. Julia Bacha
prod. Suhad Babaa, Daniel J. Chalfen

NYC Premiere
Monday, Nov. 14 
Tickets here  
Boycotts have long been a tool used by Americans rallying for social and political change, from civil rights leaders to anti-apartheid activists. But in recent years, 33 U.S. states have introduced anti-boycott legislation or executive orders designed to penalize individuals and companies who choose to boycott Israel due to its human rights record. Boycott looks at the cases of a news publisher in Arkansas, an attorney in Arizona and a speech therapist in Texas whose careers are threatened by the harsh measures of these new laws. A legal thriller with “accidental plaintiffs” at the center, the film is a bracing look at the far-reaching implications of anti-boycott legislation and an inspiring tale of everyday Americans standing up to protect our rights in an age of shifting politics and threats to freedom of speech.


AlumNest Films

Listening to Kenny G, directed by 2017 Chicken & Egg Award recipient Penny Lane, prod. Gabriel Sedgwick, will open the festival on Wednesday, Nov. 10. A Decent Home, directed and produced by AlumNest filmmaker Sara Terry, producer Alysa Nahmias, will screen on Tuesday, Nov. 16. Exposure, directed and produced by AlumNest filmmaker Holly Morris, producers Eleanor Wilson, Michael Kovnat, Jill Mazursky, will have its NYC premiere on Saturday, Nov. 13. The film Black and Missing, directed by 2017 Chicken & Egg Award recipient Geeta Gandbhir and Samantha Knowles, producers Samantha Knowles, Nimco Sheikhaden, will premiere on Wednesday, Nov. 17.   

 

*Language courtesy of DOC NYC.  

Post by Communications Intern Mariana Sanson

Belly of the Beast wins an Emmy®!

The ceremony for the 42nd News & Documentary Emmys® Awards was held on Wednesday, September 29. 

At Chicken & Egg Pictures we are egg-static to congratulate Project: Hatched 2020 grantee Belly of the Beast, dir. Erika Cohn, prods. Nicole Docta, Christen Marquez & Angela Tucker on their Outstanding Current Affairs Documentary Emmy®. 

Huge congratulations to their team!  🎉🐣 

Belly of the Beast (Project: Hatched 2020)

dir. Erika Cohn

prods. Nicole Docta, Christen Marquez & Angela Tucker


Still from Belly of the Beast
Still from Belly of the Beast

Special Congratulations


A special congratulations to our Co-Founder & Board President Julie Parker Benello, producer of Athlete A (dirs. Bonni Cohen & Jon Shenk, prods. Serin Marshall, Julie Parker Benello & Jennifer Say) for receiving an Outstanding Investigative Documentary Emmy®. 

Take a look at our 2021 Project: Hatched grantees here and read the full Award winners list here.

Post by 2021 Intern Mariana Sanson. 

Nest filmmakers and staff at the 2021 Gotham Week Conference!

The 2021 Gotham Week Conference started this Sunday, September 19 and will run through Friday, September 24, with public panels and workshops exploring storytelling through film, TV, and audio. This year’s edition will focus on how the pandemic pushed media and entertainment to reinvent itself as well as focus on diversity, equity, and inclusion. 

Their programming will feature the work of a number of filmmakers from the AlumNest: Amber Fares, Jessica Devaney, Nanfu Wang, and Beth Levison; plus 2021 (Egg)celerator Lab grantees Jude Chehab and 2019 Chicken & Egg Award Recipient Kimberly Reed are participating in theGotham Week (Virtual) Project Market.

Collaboration in convergence

Sunday, September 19 

4:00 –⁠ 5:00 pm EDT 

A conversation with the filmmaking team behind Netflix’s Convergence: Courage In A Crisis,  where they will discuss the tools and tactics they used to create a globally collaborative film. Featuring Nest-supported filmmaker Amber Fares (Speed Sisters)

Women Owned Production Companies — Creating Your Path to Career Sustainability

Monday, September 20

10:00 am –⁠ 11:00 am EDT  

A conversation between the leaders of women owned production companies discussing the difficulties they face to produce the work they want to make and build a strategic and long-lasting career. Featuring Nest-supported filmmaker and friend Jessica Devaney (Love the Sinner)

Exploring In the Same Breath

Dir. Nanfu Wang, prods. Nanfu Wang, Christopher Clements, Carolyn Hepburn, Sara Rodriguez, and Jialing Zhang

Thursday, September 23 

1:00 pm –⁠ 2:00 pm EDT  

A conversation with the production team of In the Same Breath, directed by 2017 Chicken & Egg Award Recipient Nanfu Wang and produced by current Chicken & Egg Award Recipient Jialing Zhang.

More than money: How film commissioners and other partnerships can help nurture your next project sponsored

Friday, September 24 

12:00 pm –⁠ 1:00 pm EDT 

Panel: learn how a film commissioner can become a meaningful partner to help build the collaborations that give a more authentic dimension to film projects. Featuring Beth Levison (producer of Made in Boise

Free access through IGTV


Gotham Week (Virtual) Project Market

Still from Q
Still from Q

Q  (2021 (Egg)celerator Lab grantee)

dir & prod. Jude Chehab

The Gender Project 

dir. Kimberly Reed (2020 Chicken & Egg Award Recipient) 

prods. Louise Rosen & Robin Honan


AlumNest Films

  • Boycott, directed by 2019 Chicken & Egg Award recipient Julia Bacha, prods. Suhad Babaa & Danel Chalfen
  • HER, directed by 2017 Chicken & Egg Award recipient Geeta Gandbhir, prods. Sonita Gale & Austyn Biggers
  • JFK8 (working title), directed by AlumNest filmmaker Brett Story, prods. Marianne Verrone & Samantha Curley
  • Coexistence, My Ass!, directed by Nest-supported filmmaker Amber Fares, prods. Rachel Leah Jones & Rabab Haj Yahya 

Meet Our Team at CIFF

Headshot Jaad Asante
Headshot Iva Dimitrova

Representing Chicken & Egg Pictures, our Program Coordinator Iva Dimitrova and Filmmaker Engagement Manager Jaad Asante will be participating in the Gotham Week (Virtual) Project Market and taking meetings with women and gender nonconforming filmmakers and producers with projects in all stages of production.


Check the 2021 Gotham Week Conference here and get your tickets here.

Post by 2021 Summer Communications Intern Mariana Sanson. 

Belly of the Beast Receives Four News and Documentary Emmy® Noms!

Nominations for the 42nd Annual News and Documentary Emmy® Awards were announced today by The National Academy of Television Arts & Sciences (NATAS): Project: Hatched 2020 grantee Belly of the Beast received FOUR nominations! Also nominated were two films by Chicken & Egg Award recipients and one produced by our Co-founder & Board President Julie Parker Benello.  

Belly of the Beast (Project: Hatched 2020)

dir. Erika Cohn

prods. Nicole Docta, Christen Marquez & Angela Tucker


Nominated for Outstanding Direction: Documentary, Outstanding Current Affairs Documentary, Best Documentary, Outstanding Editing: Documentary

AlumNest Films


The Sit-In: Harry Belafonte Hosts The Tonight Show

Nominated for Outstanding Arts and Culture Documentary
dir. Yoruba Richen (2016 Chicken & Egg Award Recipient)
prods. Valerie Thomas & Joan Walsh

Tutwiler

Nominated for Outstanding Short Documentary
dir. Elaine McMillion Sheldon (2016 Chicken & Egg Award Recipient)
prod. Alysia Santo

John Lewis: Good Trouble

Nominated by Outstanding Research: Documentary, Outstanding Historical Documentary, Outstanding Lighting Direction and Scenic Design
dir. Dawn Porter (2017 Chicken & Egg Award recipient)
prods. Erika Alexander & Ben Arnon

Special Congratulations


A special congratulations to our Co-Founder & Board President Julie Parker Benello, producer of Athlete A (dirs. Bonni Cohen & Jon Shenk, prods. Serin Marshall, Julie Parker Benello & Jen Say). The film was nominated for Best Documentary and Outstanding Investigative Documentary. 

Check out the full nomination list here. The awards for Documentary Categories will be presented on Wednesday, September 29, 2021. Post by 2021 Summer Communications Intern Mariana Sanson. 

Announcing New Docs by the Dozen, in Partnership with LUNA®!

Today we are announcing three new short films produced as part of Docs by the Dozen, in partnership with LUNA®. 

These three short films by AlumNest filmmakers explore a variety of perspectives on women’s equality and self empowerment—sharing new perspectives and lighting a fire in the industry. Watch the films as part of LUNAFEST®’s 2021 season


The Scientists Versus Dartmouth by Sharon Shattuck

A group of young women scientists at Dartmouth speak up about sexual harassment and become advocates for women in science everywhere.


Overexposed: Filmming an Arctic Odyssey by Holly Morris

A behind-the-scenes look at the film team that captured the daring story of the Women’s Euro-Arabian North Pole Expedition.


Until She is Free by Maria Finitzo

Until She is Free documents mixed-media artist Sophia Wallace as she imagines a culturally cliterate world, where all people are equal and able to live with rich possibility and purpose.


In 2001, LUNA® started LUNAFEST®—a traveling film festival celebrating, showcasing and championing women in film. Since then, LUNAFEST® has been flipping the script, creating opportunities for women in film. Learn more here

And She Could Be Next Two Night Premiere on PBS on June 29 & 30

Mark your calendars for June 29 and 30! The Chicken & Egg Pictures team will be viewing And She Could Be Next this Sunday, June 29 and Monday, June 30 on our local PBS stationsAnd She Could Be Next, directed by Chicken & Egg Award recipient Grace Lee and Chicken & Egg Pictures Board Member Marjan Safinia, tells the story of a defiant movement of women of color, transforming politics from the ground up.

 

And She Could Be Next was also field directed by Chicken & Egg Award recipients Yoruba Richen and Geeta Gandbhir and AlumNest filmmakers Amber Fares (Speed Sisters), Deborah S. Esquenazi (Southwest of Salem), and Anayansi Prado (Children in No Man’s Land). The series follows candidates and organizers across the country, asking whether democracy itself can be preserved—and made stronger—by those most marginalized, featuring history-makers including Rashida Tlaib, Stacey Abrams, Lucy McBath, Bushra Amiwala, Maria Elena Durazo, Veronica Escobar, Nse Ufot and more.

Monday, June 29

Episode One: Building The Movement opens with the powerful reminder that “women of color have been the backbone of our communities forever.” An energetic montage of modern American civil rights movements–from women’s suffrage to Stonewall, Black Lives Matter to Standing Rock–brings us to the 2018 midterm elections where a new generation of women of color is ready to take the lead. The documentary goes behind-the-scenes at local rallies, war rooms and church basements, where candidates and organizers embark on the campaign trail. We also witness the unique challenges they face, from well-resourced incumbents to systemic barriers that disproportionately affect black, brown and immigrant communities. As we get to know these women, we see how they do not live “single issue lives” but are each a product of a larger movement–one that is coalition-based, intergenerational and interfaith.

Tuesday, June 30

Episode Two: Claiming Power takes us to the weeks leading up to election day and focuses on how organizers combat voter suppression in their own communities. At the heart of the episode is a growing multi-ethnic coalition in Georgia, a state with a rich history of civil rights organizing and poised to be a “majority minority” state as early as 2025. In addition to the New Georgia Project, groups like Mijente and Asians for Abrams put boots on the ground to address language barriers, poll purges and “exact match” laws that impact thousands of voters across the state. As results roll in, there is celebration for some and disappointment for others–but for these community organizers, the work does not stop when the polls close. Through it all, these women present a collective vision of political power that is rooted in care, dignity and joy, and remind us that there is an organizer in all of us.


Learn more about And She Could Be Next here.

Nest-supported Films at AFI Docs

AFI Docs, the all-documentary film festival from American Film Institute, is just around the corner, taking place Wednesday, June 19 to Sunday, June 23 in Washington, DC and Silver Spring, Maryland.

68% of their slate of films are produced by women and almost half have a woman director or co-director. The lineup features 72 documentaries from 17 countries, including six world premieres—one of them being Nest-supported film Made In Boise.

Made in Boise directed by Beth Aala

Made In Boise, directed by Beth Aala (2018 Discretionary Grant) unveils a surprising—and booming—industry which has emerged in Boise, Idaho. In this idyllic, all-American city, nurses, nail technicians, and stay-at-home mothers are having babies for strangers—in record numbers. Boise’s own St. Luke’s Medical Center founded and runs the first and best surrogacy program of its kind, in all the US. But everything is not as it appears, surrogacy is not without its health risks, and the practice is not without its emotional complications. Character-driven and stylized in its approach, Made In Boise introduces audiences to the unique world of surrogacy in the most unexpected of places.

The film will have its world premiere with director, producer Beth Aala and producer Beth Levison in attendance, as part of the Spectrum selection of AFI Docs for “filmmakers pushing the boundaries of storytelling and exploring more unconventional subject matter.”

Three other Nest-supported films are also on the list:

American Factory, directed by Julia Reichert (2016 Chicken & Egg Award recipient) and Steve Bognar will screen as the AFI Docs Centerpiece screening, with a conversation with co-directors Steven and Julia and NBC Meet The Press’s Chuck Todd to follow.

Jacqueline Olive Always in Season

Always In Season (2018 (Egg)celerator Lab), directed by Jacqueline Olive will screen as part of the Truth and Justice selection, with director Jacqueline Olive in attendance for both screenings.

One Child Nation (2017 (Egg)celerator Lab grantee), directed by Nanfu Wang  (also a 2018 Chicken & Egg Award recipient) and Jialing Zhang will also screen as part of the Truth and Justice selection, with co-director Jialing Zhang in attendance.

And don’t miss these films by former Nest grantees: Picture Character, directed by Ian Cheney and Martha Shane (co-director of Nest-supported After Tiller) and The Great Hack, directed by  Karim Amer and Jehane Noujaim (Nest-supported The Square).