Assia Boundaoui: Dozen Days of Filmmakers — Day 5

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

Assia Boundaoui The Feeling of Being Watched 2016 Accelerator LabAssia Boundaoui is an Algerian-American journalist and filmmaker based in Chicago. She has reported for the BBC, NPR, AlJazeera, VICE, CNN and was the recipient of a first place Mark of Excellence Award from the Society of Professional Journalists.

Her directorial debut, The Feeling of Being Watched, was a participant in the 2016 Accelerator Lab and a recipient of The Whickers Chicken & Egg Pictures Award.

In the Arab-American neighborhood outside of Chicago where Assia Boundaoui grew up, most of her neighbors think they have been under surveillance for over a decade. With unprecedented access, The Feeling of Being Watched weaves the personal and the political as it follows the filmmaker’s examination of why her community fell under blanket government surveillance.

The Feeling of Being Watched Assia Boundaoui 2016 Accelerator Lab surveillance.jpg
The Feeling of Being Watched, directed by Assia Boundaoui

In 2018, The Feeling of Being Watched had its world premiere at Tribeca Film Festival, was an official selection at Hot Docs, and received the Audience Award at Camden International Film Festival,  the BlackStar Film Festival, Boston GlobeDocs Film Festival, and the Regent Park Film Festival. The film also won jury awards for Best Documentary Feature and James Lyons Editing Award For Documentary Feature at the Woodstock Film Festival. Assia is a fellow with the Co-Creation Studio at the MIT Open Documentary Lab, where she is iterating her most recent work, The Inverse Surveillance Project,  a machine learning fueled sequel to The Feeling of Being Watched.

 

Post by Morgan Lee Hulquist.

Chicken & Egg Pictures-Supported Filmmakers Win at CIFF

The 2018 Camden International Film Festival (CIFF) hosted its annual awards ceremony on Sunday, September 16, and we are excited to announce that two Nest-supported filmmakers took home the top prizes at the awards!

On Her Shoulders Alexandria Bombach
On Her Shoulders, directed by Alexandria Bombach

The 2018 Harrell Award for Best Documentary Feature went to On Her Shoulders, directed by Alexandria Bombach (2018 SXSW LUNA / Chicken & Egg Pictures Award recipient) *

This empowering documentary presents 23-year-old Nadia Murad, a Yazidi genocide survivor determined to tell the world her story. Determined advocate and reluctant celebrity, she becomes the voice of her people and their best hope to spur the world to action.

The Feeling of Being Watched Assia Boundaoui 2016 Accelerator Lab
The Feeling of Being Watched, directed by Assia Boundaoui

The Feeling of Being Watched, directed by Assia Boundaoui (participant of the 2016 Accelerator Lab and recipient of The Whickers Chicken & Egg Pictures Award) received the Audience Award.

In the Arab-American neighborhood outside of Chicago where director Assia Boundaoui grew up, most of her neighbors think they have been under surveillance for over a decade. With unprecedented access, The Feeling of Being Watched weaves the personal and the political as it follows the filmmaker’s examination of why her community fell under blanket government surveillance.

Congratulations Alexandria and Assia!

For more about the other Nest-supported projects at the 2018 Camden International Film Festival, see our previous blog post.

* Chicken & Egg Pictures did not support On Her Shoulders but supported director Julia Alexandria Bombach through the SXSW LUNA / Chicken & Egg Pictures Award.

Gender Parity at the 2018 Camden International Film Festival

The 2018 Camden International Film Festival (CIFF) will take place in Camden, Rockport, and Rockland, Maine from September 13 to 16. Founded in 2005, CIFF is a festival focused exclusively on documentary film, and this year, we were egg-static to see that half of the selections across every category are directed by women.

In a press release from CIFF, Senior Programmer Samara Chadwick stated, “Programming at parity celebrates the contributions of the many formidable women in the field, while also emphasizing the fact that, in a century of documentary filmmaking, we’ve largely known one dominant perspective. […] At CIFF we’re drawn to directorial approaches from outside the canon, and we value all the creative voices and cinematic languages that have been otherwise underrepresented.”

At Chicken & Egg Pictures, we applaud the push for gender parity from the Camden International Film Festival.

See a full itinerary for Nest-supported films, filmmakers, and friends at CIFF below.

The In Between Robie Flores 2018 Diversity Fellows Initiative
The In Between, directed by Robie Flores

Points North Pitch, Saturday Sep. 15 at 10 AM at the Camden Opera House, including a pitch from 2018 Diversity Fellows Initiative grantee Robie Flores for her project The In Between.

Skywards, directed by Eva Weber (Black Out, 2007), Saturday Sep. 15 at 10 AM at The Strand Theatre in Rockland.

Survivors Anna Fitch, Banker White, and Arthur Pratt
Survivors, directed by Arthur Pratt, Anna Fitch, Banker White, Barmmy Boy

Survivors, co-directed by Arthur Pratt, Banker White, Anna Fitch and Barmmy Boy, Saturday Sep. 15 at 12:30 PM at the Rockport Opera House.

A Cure for Fear (Series), directed by Lana Wilson (The Departure and After Tiller), Saturday Sep. 15 at 3:30 PM at the Farnsworth Art Museum in Rockland*

The Feeling of Being Watched Assia Boundaoui 2016 Accelerator Lab surveillance.jpg
The Feeling of Being Watched, directed by Assia Boundaoui

The Feeling of Being Watched, directed by Assia Boundaoui (2016 Accelerator Lab grantee and The Whickers award winner), Sunday Sep. 16 at 12:30 PM. Assia will also be speaking on the Documentary as Co-Creation panel at 3:30 PM on Saturday Sep. 15 at High Mountain Hall in Camden.

On Her Shoulders, directed by Alexandria Bombach (2018 SXSW LUNA / Chicken & Egg Pictures Award recipient), Sunday Sep. 16 at 5 PM at The Strand Theatre in Rockland.*

Stephanie Wang Breal Blowin Up Blowin-Up_Wang-Breal_JudgeSeritaBackofhead20.png
Blowin’ Up, directed by Stephanie Wang-Breal

Blowin’ Up, directed by Stephanie Wang-Breal, Sunday Sep. 16 at 5:30 PM at the Rockport Opera House.

And our very own Eggspert advisor Cara Mertes will be moderating The Public Sphere panel, Saturday Sep. 15 at 1:30 PM at High Mountain Hall.

*Chicken & Egg Pictures did not directly support SkywardsA Cure for Fear, or On Her Shoulders but did support their directors in past projects.

Post by 2018 Communications Intern Morgan Lee Hulquist. 

Chicken & Egg Pictures announces grantees for inaugural Accelerator Lab

Chicken & Egg Pictures announced today the selected participants of the inaugural Accelerator Lab. The Accelerator Lab brings together 10 non-fiction projects helmed by first and second-time women filmmakers as part of a brand new program with the goal of providing the necessary tools and environment for talented filmmakers to tell their stories. The Accelerator Lab is focused on identifying a diverse group of first and second-time women non-fiction filmmakers and supporting their continued success through various means and initiatives.

These include providing financial assistance by way of grants, as well as creative guidance and support through mentorship workshops, industry connections, and peer support. Participants will receive a two-part grant for the production of their film, which they will develop over the course of the 12-18 month program.

“These filmmakers and projects represent a microcosm of the over 200 filmmakers whom Chicken & Egg Pictures has supported over the last ten years. Our goal is to nurture their talent by providing them with a yearlong creative lab program, a grant of up to $35,000, and a community of women filmmakers who can support and learn from one another,” said Jenni Wolfson, Executive Director of Chicken & Egg Pictures. “We selected these women filmmakers because we believe not only that they are going to make artful and compelling films, but because we believe that these stories must be told and will contribute to changing how we see and respond to the world around us.”

2015 ACCELERATOR LAB PARTICIPANTS:

 A GUANGZHOU LOVE STORY
Director: Kathy Huang
In China, an unprecedented surge in African migration has led to a rise in marriages between Chinese women and African men. A Guangzhou Love Story captures the love, heartache, and real life challenges of Afro-Chinese couples attempting to forge a meaningful future together in the face of racism and xenophobia.

A Guangzhou Love Story, directed by Kathy Huang
A Guangzhou Love Story, directed by Kathy Huang

BY A THREAD
Director: Rina Castelnuovo & Tamir Elterman
By A Thread tells the story of Muhammad (Muhi), a Palestinian child from Gaza and the son of a Hamas activist wanted by Israel. As a newborn, Muhi is transferred to Israel for treatment of a life-threatening condition. Months turn into years and Muhi, now six, has lived his whole life in the Israeli hospital, confined for security reasons to its premises with his grandfather. The film explores Muhi’s contradictory world in which he is treated, raised, and saved by his people’s enemy, while his parents remain in Gaza.

By A Thread is an inside look at the Israeli-Palestinian conflict’s inescapable presence in everyday life and how it shapes those like Muhi who are unwillingly drawn into it.

CUENCA
Director: Isabel Alcántara
After a spate of mysterious illnesses and deaths, a community in Mexico discovers its water is radioactive. What unfolds is a story of resilience, conviction and the lies we tell ourselves about our dwindling resources.

Cuenca, directed by Isabel Alcantara
Cuenca, directed by Isabel Alcantara

FLY AWAY
Director: LC Cohen
Fly Away is a film about memory, identity, and growing up told through the eyes of seven siblings and their mother. Five of the children are on the autistic spectrum and as they move through adolescence, an event of the past keeps drawing them back. Combining observational footage with a rich archive of home movies and songs, the film is both a detective story and coming-of-age tale, exploring universal themes of memory, family, and love.

LAWYERS
Director: Hikaru Toda
A story of love, family, and rights, Lawyers is a snapshot of Japan in transition. Fumi and Kazu are life partners, both professionally and privately: they run the first and only law firm in Japan run by an openly gay couple. From activists to artists to vulnerable young people, we see a cross section of Japanese society pass through Kazu and Fumi’s office – their clients and their cases reveal Japan’s changing social landscape and the diversity too often overlooked in its homogenous society. Lawyers also follows Kazu and Fumi’s quest to raise a family. Faced with a legal system that doesn’t allow adoption by same sex couples and having seen firsthand the realities of institutionalized youths, they have begun the process of registering as foster parents.

ROLL RED ROLL
Director: Nancy Schwartzman
The story of a football town divided, Roll Red Roll is a true crime thriller examining sexual assault in small town America.

RULES TO LIVE BY
Director: Hope Litoff
A reflection on the life and suicide of Ruth Litoff, a successful artist, a pathological liar, and the filmmaker’s sister. By looking back on Ruth’s incredible highs and lows, bursts of creative genius, depression, secrets, and lies, a vivid portrait will emerge of the brilliant woman the filmmaker is not sure she ever really knew. This is her attempt to understand what happened.

SONS AND DAUGHTERS OF THE INCARCERATED
Director: Denali Tiller
Growing up is full of challenges, but for Tre, Maison, and Giana those challenges reach beyond friends, school, and middle school crushes. Sons and Daughters of the Incarcerated tells the story of three children whose fathers are in prison, and a formerly incarcerated mother who is now working to stop the cycle. How do the stigmas of incarceration shape their identities as they struggle to find their places in their communities and the world? What will it take to break the cycle of violence, crime, and imprisonment that pulls so hard on these kids’ lives and millions more like them?

THE FEELING OF BEING WATCHED
Director: Assia Boundaoui & Alex Bushe
The Feeling of Being Watched is the first documentary film to tell the story of the War on Terror from the perspective inside an Arab-American neighborhood. Since the early 90’s, people in Bridgeview, IL have stayed quiet about their deep suspicions of living under government surveillance, and no one has ever dug into why the surveillance may have begun. Until now. This film brings to light an under-represented human story and follows the filmmakers as they investigate what really happened, and may still be happening, in Bridgeview.

WHOSE STREETS?
Director: Sabaah Jordan & Damon Davis
A first-hand look at how the murder of one teenage boy became the last straw for a community under siege. Whose Streets? is a story of love, loss, conflict, and ambition; the journey of everyday people turned freedom fighters, whose lives intertwined with a burgeoning national movement for black liberation. This is a film for all of America – it provides insight into the unseen reality of racism, the role of media in conflict, state-sanctioned violence, and militarized policing – but at its core it is Ferguson’s story, it is our cry of “enough is enough.”

Whose Streets?, directed by Sabaah Jordan and Damon Davis
Whose Streets?, directed by Sabaah Jordan and Damon Davis