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). 

Nine Women-directed Films to See at Full Frame Documentary Film Festival

The Full Frame Documentary Film Festival kicks off their 22nd annual festival today, which will take place in Durham, North Carolina from Thursday, April 4 to Sunday, April 7.

The festival’s opening night film is American Factory, the Sundance 2019 Directing – US Documentary Competition award winner directed by Julia Reichert (2016 Chicken & Egg Award recipient) and Steven Bognar, screening Thursday, April 4 — 7:30 pm at Fletcher. In addition, we were egg-static to see Julia and her long-time directing partner Steven honored by Full Frame in a  tribute and curated retrospective of their work, which will screen throughout the festival, including Union Maids, directed by Jim Klein, Miles Mogulescu, and Julia Reichert (Thursday, April 4 — 1:30 at Cinema Three and Sunday, April 7 — 5:10 pm at Cinema Four), as well as eight other films.

Full Frame’s lineup includes work by a total of nine Nest-supported women filmmakers:

El Velador Natalia Almada

El Velador (The Night Watchman), directed by Natalia Almada (also a 2018 Chicken & Egg Award recipient)

From dusk to dawn, El Velador (The Night Watchman) accompanies Martin, a guard who watches over the extravagant mausoleums of some of Mexico’s most notorious drug lords. In the labyrinth of the cemetery, this film about violence without violence reminds us that, amid the turmoil of a drug war that has claimed more than 50,000 lives, ordinary existence persists in Mexico and quietly defies the dead.
Thursday, April 4 — 4:00 pm at Cinema One (as part of the Some Other Lives of Time program curated by Hale County This Morning, This Evening director Ramell Ross)

Hail Satan?, directed by Penny Lane (2017 Chicken & Egg Award recipient)
With humor and searing insight, director Penny Lane debunks misrepresentations about the Satanic Temple. Drawing on extensive access to the organization’s participants, this unflinching examination reveals the controversial religious movement’s aim to shine a light on the hypocrisy around America’s separation of church and state.*
Friday, April 5 — 10:00 pm at Fletcher

Changing Same Michèle Stephenson Joe Brewster Impact Innovation Initiative 2018

The Changing Same, directed by Impact & Innovation Initiative (past program) grantees Michèle Stephenson (also a 2016 Chicken & Egg Award recipient) and Joe Brewster

Poet Lamar Wilson remembers reading Anatomy of a Lynching as a young man and immediately asking his grandmother if she knew Claude Neal. The book recounts the heinous 1934 murder and mutilation of Neal, a 23-year-old African American, at the hands of a mob of white men.*
Saturday, April 6 at 1:00 pm at Cinema One

Jacqueline Olive Always in Season

Always in Season (2018 (Egg)celerator Lab grantee), directed by Jacqueline Olive
When 17-year-old Lennon Lacy is found hanging from a swing set in rural North Carolina in 2014, his mother’s search for justice and reconciliation begins while the trauma of more than a century of lynching African Americans bleeds into the present.
Friday, April 5 — 7:20 pm at Cinema Three

One Child Nation (2017 (Egg)celerator Lab grantee), directed by Nanfu Wang (also a 2018 Chicken & Egg Award recipient) and Jialing Zhang
How much control does a person have over their own life? In China, state control begins before a child is even born.
Friday, April 5 — 7:00 pm at Cinema One

Mudflow Cynthia Wade and Sasha Friedlander

Grit, directed by Cynthia Wade and Sasha Friedlander
Grit is the story of a huge, toxic mudflow in Indonesia widely believed to be caused by shoddy drilling practices. The mud volcano has been erupting violently for the past eight years, burying 17 villages and permanently displacing 60,000 people. Grit follows ordinary Indonesians seeking justice for this disaster during a national election where one presidential candidate has promised restitution — and the other has not.
Thursday, April 4 — 10:00 am at Cinema One

A Thousand Girls Like Me 2016 Diversity Fellows Initiative Sahra Mani

A Thousand Girls Like Me, directed by Sahra Mani (2016 Diversity Fellows Initiative — past program)
In Afghanistan where systematic abuses of girls rarely come to light, and seeking justice can be deadly, one young woman says “Enough.” Khatera was brutally raped by her father since the age of nine and today she raises two precious and precocious children whom he sired. Against her family’s and many Afghanis’ wishes, Khatera forces her father to stand trial. This is her incredible story of love, hope, bravery, forgiveness, and truth.
Thursday, April 4 — 4:20 pm at Cinema Four 


Knock Down the House
, directed by Rachel Lears (former Nest grantee for The Hand That Feeds)
In the run up to the 2018 U.S. midterms, four political newcomers challenge their Democratic incumbents in the primary elections that lead ultimately to a seat in Congress. Fearless and determined, Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, Paula Jean Swearengin, Cori Bush, and Amy Vilela introduce their grassroots platforms to the communities in which they are deeply ingrained.*
Friday, April 5 — 7:20 pm at Fletcher

*Synopses courtesy of Full Frame.

Supported Filmmakers are Soaring at the 62nd Annual SFFILM

The San Francisco International Film Festival (SFFILM), among the longest running film festivals in the US, unveiled the line-up yesterday for its 62nd annual showcase. Congratulations to the Nest-supported filmmakers who will be soaring to the Bay Area for the festival, which takes place from Wednesday, April 10  to Tuesday, April 23:

American Factory, directed by Julia Reichert (2016 Chicken & Egg Award recipient) and Steve Bognar

American Factory, directed by Julia Reichert and Steve Bognar

Dizzying, hilarious and devastating, this tale of two factories makes for a landmark story of workplace anxiety. Directors Reichert and Bognar have spent a decade documenting the plight of Ohio’s factory workers, and their dedication pays off when they are given astonishing access to Fuyao, a Chinese auto glass manufacturer, as it revives a shuttered General Motors plant in Dayton.*

One Child Nation, directed by Nanfu Wang and Jialing Zhang

How much control does a person have over their own life? In China, state control begins before a child is even born.

Always In Season, directed by Jacqueline Olive (2018 (Egg)celerator Lab grantee)

Jacqueline Olive Always in Season
Always in Season, directed by Jacqueline Olive

When 17-year-old Lennon Lacy is found hanging from a swing set in rural North Carolina in 2014, his mother’s search for justice and reconciliation begins while the trauma of more than a century of lynching African Americans bleeds into the present.

Hail Satan?, directed by Penny Lane (2017 Chicken & Egg Award recipient)

Hail Satan?, directed by Penny Lane

A look at the intersection of religion and activism, tracing the rise of The Satanic Temple: only six years old and already one of the most controversial religious movements in American history. The Temple is calling for a Satanic revolution to save the nation’s soul. But are they for real?**

Knock Down The House, directed by Rachel Lears
And a special congratulations to Rachel Lears, director of Knock Down the House, which will screen Saturday, April 13 at 7:30 pm at Castro Theatre. Rachel is a former Nest grantee for The Hand that Feeds. 
See you in San Francisco!
*Synopsis from SFFILM website.
**Synopsis from SFFILM website.

2019 Sundance Festival Winners

A huge congratulations to Chicken & Egg Pictures-supported films and filmmakers who won big at Sundance this year:

One Child Nation
Dirs. Nanfu Wang & Jialing Zhang
Grand Jury Prize – US Documentary Competition

Always in Season
Dir. Jacqueline Olive
Special Jury Award for Moral Urgency – US Documentary Competition

American Factory
Dir. Julia Reichert & Steven Bognar
Directing – US Documentary Competition

It was a big weekend for these incredible filmmakers in more ways than one, with Amazon acquiring One Child Nation and Netflix acquiring American Factory. And a special congratulations to former Nest grantees Rachel Lears (dir. of Knock Down the House – US Documentary Competition Audience Award), Alma Har’el (dir. of Honey Boy – US Dramatic CompetitionSpecial Jury Award for Vision and Craft); and Laura Nix (executive producer of Sea of Shadows – World Cinema Documentary Audience Award).

We couldn’t be prouder of our Nest friends. Learn more about American Factory, Always in Season, and One Child Nation—and the amazing women that made them—through these reads:

‘One Child Nation’: How Nanfu Wang Defied China to Expose Its Dark Side – Indiewire

Sundance 2019 Women Directors: Meet Nanfu Wang – “One Child Nation”– Women and Hollywood

Sundance 2019 Women Directors: Meet Jacqueline Olive – “Always in Season”– Women and Hollywood

Sundance 2019: Always in Season an exceptional documentary on communities of memory, history of lynchings – The Utah Review

‘American Factory’: Sundance Review – Screen Daily

Sundance: Netflix Nabs ‘American Factory’ Doc for $3 Million – The Hollywood Reporter

Jacqueline Olive: Dozen Days of Filmmakers — Day 12

 

Chicken & Egg Pictures is celebrating the holiday season by featuring a dozen of our supported women nonfiction filmmakers.

Jacqueline Olive Always In Season 2018 Accelerator LabJacqueline Olive is an independent filmmaker and immersive media producer with more than a decade of experience in journalism and film. She co-directed and produced the award-winning short documentary, Black To Our Roots, which broadcast on PBS World. Jacqueline has been a Sundance Documentary Edit & Story Lab Fellow, a Sundance Documentary Film Program Fellow, and Sundance Music & Sound Design Lab fellow.

Always in Season 2018 Accelerator Lab Grantee Jacqueline Olive
Always in Season, directed by Jacqueline Olive

She also received the Emerging Filmmakers of Color Award from International Documentary Association and the Jonathan Logan Family Foundation. Jacqueline has been a immersive media fellow with the Bay Area Video Coalition Institute for New Media Technologies and Mediamaker Fellows, the Black Public Media New Media Institute, and most recently, the Open Immersion VR Lab sponsored by the Ford Foundation, National Film Board of Canada, and the Canadian Film Centre. Jacqueline has an MA from the University of Florida Documentary Institute and previously worked on the production team of the Emmy Award-winning PBS documentary series, Independent Lens.

Her debut feature documentary and 2018 Accelerator Lab grantee,  Always In Season, will premiere in competition at the 2019 Sundance Film Festival.

Always in Season 2018 Accelerator Lab Jacqueline Olive
Always in Season, directed by Jacqueline Olive

Always In Season explores the lingering impact of more than a century of lynching African Americans and connects this form of historic racial terrorism to racial violence today. The film centers on the case of Lennon Lacy, an African American teen who was found hanging from a swing set in Bladenboro, North Carolina, on August 29, 2014. Despite inconsistencies in the case, local officials quickly ruled Lennon’s death a suicide, but his mother, Claudia, believes Lennon was lynched. Claudia moves from paralyzing grief to leading the fight for justice for her son. 

Jacqueline is currently producing a VR companion to Always In Season that uses 360° video and computer-generated imagery (CGI) to explore themes of dehumanization and violence, offering strategies for moving confidently through the racialized public spaces that black women navigate daily.

 

Post by Morgan Lee Hulquist.

Announcing our 2018 Accelerator Lab grantees!

Chicken & Egg Pictures is proud to announce the third cohort of our Accelerator Lab for first- and second-time filmmakers!

The Accelerator Lab is focused on identifying and supporting women nonfiction directors working on their first or second feature-length documentary. This program brings together ten projects helmed by first- or second-time directors, with a special focus on underrepresented voices.

“Community-building is key to this program,” says Chicken & Egg Pictures Program Director Lucila Moctezuma. “While the Accelerator Lab for first- and second-time filmmakers certainly helps women filmmakers to enter the industry pipeline, it also provides them with a community of support that helps them to stay in the pipeline. The reality of being a film director is that it can often feel daunting and isolating. By explicitly encouraging peer-to-peer mentorship among our cohort, we provide emerging filmmakers with a chance to bond with and learn from one another, to help one another carve a space for themselves in the industry, and to equip them with the strength of a community they can rely on throughout their careers.”

Synopses of the 2018 Accelerator Lab grantees’ compelling projects are below, and you can get to know the directors by viewing the linked project pages. Grantees will work on these films during their program year.

Our next open call for the Accelerator Lab will take place in the spring of 2018. For additional information on the program, including application criteria, please visit our Programs page.

Congratulations to our newest grantees, and wishing you a fantastic year!

 

Ilinca Calugareanu

A Cops and Robbers Story, directed by Ilinca Calugareanu (ROMANIA / UK)

Corey Pegues, one of the highest ranking black executives in the NYPD, reveals a few months after retirement that before joining the NYPD he worked the streets dealing crack cocaine for one of the most notorious drug gangs in the US, the Supreme Team. To many he is either a perp in cop costume or a criminal turned hero. But who is the real Corey Pegues?

 

Siyi Chen

People’s Hospital, directed by Siyi Chen (CHINA / US)

As the Chinese society criticizes dysfunctional hospitals, a doctor’s daughter revisits the small-town hospital where she grew up—this time with a camera, in the middle of a chaotic ER.

 

Sonia Kennebeck

Enemies of the State, directed by Sonia Kennebeck (MALAYSIA / GERMANY / US)

An average American family becomes entangled in a bizarre web of espionage and corporate secrets when their hacker son is targeted by the U.S. government.

 

 

The Youth, directed by Eunice Lau (SINGAPORE / US) and Arthur Nazaryan (US)

The Youth is an unflinching look at the forces that drive one to adopt an extreme ideology. Through the eyes of a father who seeks to understand how his son is radicalized by the propaganda of the Islamic State Army, The Youth reveals how a Muslim American family is affected by the geopolitics and polemics that fuel the resurgence of reactionary and right-wing political movements. Through this intimate lens on the Somali community in Minnesota, The Youth explores the racism and prejudices against immigrants, the rise of radical Islam, and what it means to be Muslim in contemporary America.

 

Madeleine Leroyer

Number 387, directed by Madeleine Leroyer (FRANCE)

This is the story of a Greek physician who collects pendants and bracelets.
This is the story of an Italian woman who has been fighting for 15 years to “make bodies talk.”
This is the story of those who watch over the forgotten migrants.
Since the beginning of 2016, 3,649 migrants have died while attempting to reach Europe by sea. 3,649 names, the vast majority of which have been diluted in the deep blue waters of the Mediterranean.
What happens to the dead? Who identifies them?
What do the mothers, the brothers do to try to find their missing loved ones?
For years, medical examiners have been trying to give back a name, dignity, a memory to these forgotten souls.
This film tells their story.

 

Marie Lidén

Electric Malady, directed by Marie Lidén (SWEDEN / UK)

Director Marie Lidén grew up with a mother who suffered from an illness that the world did not recognize—Electrosensitivity. Years later, in a technologically advanced world, Marie gives a poignant account of the lives of two electrosensitives: William, a 41-year-old Swedish man, and Tyler, a 13-year-old Canadian boy. Using Marie’s own family story as a thread, the film explores William and Tyler’s isolated worlds and their families’ unrelenting commitment to help their children.

 

Loira Limbal

Through The Night, directed by Loira Limbal (US)

To make ends meet, Americans are working longer hours across multiple jobs. This modern reality of non-stop work has resulted in an unexpected phenomenon: the flourishing of 24-hour daycare centers. Through the Night is a verité documentary that explores the personal cost of our modern economy through the stories of two working mothers and a child care provider, whose lives intersect at a 24-hour daycare center in New Rochelle, NY.

 

Jacqueline Olive

 Always in Season, directed by Jacqueline Olive (US)

As the trauma of a century of lynching African Americans bleeds into the present, Always in Season follows relatives of the perpetrators and victims in communities across the country who’re seeking justice and reconciliation in the midst of racial profiling and police shootings. In Bladenboro, NC, the film connects historic racial terrorism to racial violence today with the story of Claudia Lacy who grieves as she fights to get an FBI investigation opened into the death of her seventeen-year-old son, Lennon Lacy, found hanging from a swing set on August 29, 2014. Claudia, like many others, believes Lennon was lynched.

 

Jennifer Redfearn

Reentry (working title), directed by Jennifer Redfearn (US)

Women are now the fastest growing population in the U.S. criminal justice system, increasing at nearly double the rate of men. The majority of women going into prison are serving time for drug related charges. This immersive, character-driven film follows three women—who are part of a new reentry program in Cleveland, Ohio—as they prepare to leave prison, reunite with their children, and find jobs after serving time for drug related charges.

 

Writing With Fire, directed by Rintu Thomas and Sushmit Ghosh (INDIA)

In one of the most socially oppressive and patriarchal states of India emerges a newspaper run entirely by rural women. Meera, its popular reporter, decides to magnify the paper’s impact with an audacious move—to transform from print to a digital news agency. Working in media dark villages, mocked and discouraged, this is the story of a visionary woman’s feisty spirit in building what will probably be the world’s first digital news agency run entirely by rural women.

 

Filmmaker Dispatch: Jacqueline Olive, director of Always in Season

I’m directing and producing ALWAYS IN SEASON, a documentary that examines the lingering impact of almost a century of lynching African Americans and follows relatives of the perpetrators and victims in three communities who are seeking justice and reconciliation.

The project is particularly relevant in the wake of the grand jury decision not to indict the Staten Island police officer who killed Eric Garner. The turmoil the country now faces after repeated incidents of racial violence gone essentially unchecked powerfully demonstrates the unfinished business of confronting lynching. My goal is that Always in Season will move viewers to begin dialogues in their communities about not only ways to address the historical racial violence of lynching, but also strategies for stopping the killing of unarmed people of color by police and vigilantes that is occurring in numbers comparable to the rate of lynchings per week, at its height, across the country.

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The emotional intensity of the subject matter is definitely challenging. When I first began to look at the collection of photographs of men, women and children posing with the tortured bodies of lynching victims, it was deeply troubling. But, if I’d refused to look closer, I wouldn’t have learned who the people were in those scenes. Just as importantly, I’ve gotten to know inspiring people who are featured in the film, like Olivia Taylor, who witnessed a lynching at the age of 3, and is part of a multiracial group of amateur actors who reenact the 1946 lynching of two couples annually in Monroe, GA, (outside of Atlanta) on the very spot where the violence happened. And, Rev. David Kennedy, who has spent almost two decades fighting to close the shop that sells KKK robes and neo-Nazi memorabilia right in the middle of downtown Laurens, SC, and less than a mile from where his great-uncle was lynched in 1913. In Duluth, MN, three men were lynched in 1920 with two thousand spectators watching. The film goes there to follow Don Clariette, a cousin of one of the victims, along with Warren Read and Mike Tusken, relatives of some of the perpetrators, as they attempt reconciliation after the first-ever memorial to lynching victims was erected. These stories, of descendants and others taking action to acknowledge the victims, repair the damage, and reconcile, light a path towards healing.

It also doesn’t get any more motivating than the support I’ve received from Chicken & Egg Pictures. We finished principal filming and have begun fundraising to create a rough cut. In the earliest days of production, shortly after using up my own funds to shoot test interviews, Chicken & Egg awarded us an I Believe in You Grant. The name says it all! Not only did they provide funding at exactly the right time to make it possible for us to film, but Chicken & Egg also continues to support the project, most recently granting funds for editing earlier this year. Mentorship workshops, like the one I attended last spring and co-sponsored by another valuable project funder, Catapult Film Fund, are just as important and have prepared me for the editing that lies ahead with critical feedback on character development and structure from fellow filmmakers. In fact, my editor, Michaelle Stikitch, and I used notes from that workshop to revise the work-in-progress by June, and that cut of the film screened at the Cucalorus Festival last month.

Cucalorus was outstanding! The festival gave the project exposure and the team more input as the film screened several times at different venues during the week to audiences of students and educators, community organizers, filmmakers, and more. The experience showed me that Always in Season resonates with a broad audience eager to see the film completed.

If you would like more information on the Always in Season project, or if you would like to support the project, visit www.alwaysinseason.net.