Ascension Receives Six Critics Choice Nominations

The Critics Choice Association has announced the nominees for the Sixth Annual Critics Choice Documentary Awards. The winners will be revealed at a gala on Sunday, November 14, in Brooklyn, New York. 

At Chicken & Egg Pictures, we are egg-cited to learn that three (Egg)celerator Lab grantees were nominated: Pray Away, Enemies of the State, and Ascension. Ascension is one of the two documentaries leading the Awards with six nominations each. 

Ascension

dir. & prod. Jessica Kingdon

prods. Kira Simon-Kennedy and Nathan Truesdell

Still from Ascension
Still from Ascension

Nominated for Best Documentary Feature, Best Director, Best First Documentary Feature, Best Cinematography, Best Editing, and Best Score


Pray Away

dir. & prod. Kristine Stolakis

prod. Jessica Devaney and Anya Rous

Still from Pray Away
Still from Pray Away

Nominated for Best First Documentary Feature


Enemies of the State

dir. Sonnia Kennebeck

prod. Ines Hofmann Kanna

Enemies of the State Sonia Kennebeck 2018 Accelerator Lab
Still from Enemies of the State

Nominated for Best Political Documentary


Special Congratulations

Listening to Kenny G, directed by 2017 Chicken & Egg Award recipient Penny Lane, and produced by Gabriel Sedgwick, received a nomination for Best Music Documentary.

A special congratulations to our Board member Susan Margolin, producer of A Crime on the Bayou (dir. & prod. Nancy Buirski, prods. Claire L. Chandler & Susan Margolin). The film was nominated for Best Documentary Feature and Best Historical or Biographical Documentary.

Post by Communications Intern Mariana Sanson. 

Meet our Newest Nest Board Members: Leslie Belzberg and Marjan Safinia

Chicken & Egg Pictures proudly announces two new members to our Board of Directors: Leslie Belzberg and Marjan Safinia. Members of our Board of Directors serve an official role for Chicken & Egg Pictures, offering constructive feedback, guidance, and independent oversight of our work.

Leslie Belzberg

Leslie Belzberg (pictured left) currently oversees all television and theatrical productions for Gaumont USA as Senior Vice President, Production. Prior to Gaumont, Leslie was a consultant for Blumhouse Television and head of production at Miramax and Endemol-Shine North America.

Before moving into high-level executive roles at major studios, Belzberg was an independent producer, most well-known for her storied collaboration with director John Landis. Together, they co-created St. Clare Entertainment, a TV production company. She also produced many of his films including Coming to AmericaThree AmigosBlues Brothers 2000Beverly Hills Cop IIISusan’s PlanThe StupidsOscarSpies Like Us, and Into the Night. Belzberg has also produced Academy Award winning films such as Crazy Heart, which earned Jeff Bridges a Best Actor win, and the documentary Genocide, also produced by the Simon Wiesenthal Center, now the Museum of Tolerance in Los Angeles.

Leslie earned an MBA from Fordham University in New York and a BA in English Literature and Contemporary Drama from York University in Toronto.

Marjan Safinia

Marjan Safinia (pictured right) is an Iranian documentary filmmaker whose films examine identity, community, and social justice. Her current project And She Could Be Next (in production) is about women of color running for political office to claim political power for a rising new American majority. Marjan’s feature documentary Seeds tells the story of ten brave teenagers from the world’s most troubled conflict zones living side-by-side for one life-changing summer. Her first film But You Speak Such Good English is a half hour documentary which explores the first-generation immigrant experience from an insider perspective.

Collectively, Marjan’s films have played at over 100 international film festivals and broadcast in North America, Europe, and across the Arab world. She has produced and directed work for Co-Founder of Google Sergey Brin, the Barack Obama administration, and Next Generation in partnership with the Clinton Foundation. Her work has been supported by the IDA Enterprise Documentary Fund and Sundance Institute. She is also a Sundance Catalyst Fellow.

Until 2018, Marjan was the longest-serving President of the Board of Directors of the International Documentary Association (IDA), also the only woman of color to hold the position since the IDA was founded in 1982. She also co-hosts The D-Word, the preeminent online community for documentary professionals. Marjan is a regular juror, programmer, speaker and connector of all things documentary.

Welcome Leslie and Marjan! To learn more about the rest of our Board, see here.

Nest Co-Founders, Filmmakers, and Friends Join the Academy

We’re proud to announce that Chicken & Egg Pictures Co-Founders and Board members Julie Parker Benello and Wendy Ettinger are now members of the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences!

The Academy  announced a record-setting 928 invited members, 49 percent of whom are women and 38 percent people of color.  Nine branches, including the Producers, Film Editors, and Documentary branches invited more women than men.  At Chicken & Egg Pictures, we applaud the Academy’s efforts to double the number of women and diverse members, a goal announced in 2016 and hoped to be completed by 2020.

This announcement marked a huge step in diversifying one of the most prestigious institutions in the field, bringing the overall Academy membership to 31% women. We couldn’t be more thrilled. You might have even caught  Wendy talk about it on live TV, on BBC News when the announcement was made public.  Julie and Wendy will join fellow Co-Founder (and Senior Creative Consultant) Judith Helfand, with all three Chicken & Egg Pictures Co-Founders now members of the Academy!

This year, Chicken & Egg-supported filmmakers invited to the Academy include Yance Ford (Oscar®-nominee Strong Island), Catherine Gund (Born to Fly), Sari Gilman (Kings Point, editor on Trapped), Lana Wilson (The Departure and After Tiller), Laura Nix (2018 Breakthrough Award Recipient), and Nanfu Wang (2018 Breakthrough Award Recipient, 2017 Accelerator Lab Grantee for Born In China).

New members also include Paco de Onís, editor of Nest-supported Granito: How to Nail a Dictator, as well as Toby Shimin, editor of Nest-supported 32 Pills: My Sister’s Suicide. Congratulations to all!

Post by 2018 Communications Intern Morgan Lee Hulquist. 

Announcing the Newest Members of Our Board of Directors

Chicken & Egg Pictures Board members (left to right): Brenda Robinson and Patty Quillin

Our Nest is growing. Chicken & Egg Pictures is proud to announce two new additions to our Board of Directors: Brenda Robinson and Patty Quillin. Members of our Board of Directors serve an official role for Chicken & Egg Pictures, offering constructive feedback, guidance, and independent oversight of our work.

Chicken & Egg Pictures Board member Brenda Robinson.Brenda Robinson is an entertainment attorney and Chicago native who currently serves as Director of Business Development for the Los Angeles law firm Greenberg Glusker LLP. Brenda’s prior law practice focused on intellectual property and entertainment matters on behalf of clients in the music, film, and television industries. Throughout her career, Brenda has provided counsel to numerous recording artists, musicians and composers, actors and actresses, production companies, authors, arts organizations, athletes, entertainers, and social media influencers.

Chicken & Egg Pictures Board member Patty Quillin.

Patty Quillin is the Director of Meadow Fund, a donor-advised fund of the Silicon Valley Community Foundation. Patty strongly believes that everyone deserves the opportunity to thrive in healthy, just, and sustainable communities. This vision has guided her philanthropic work for the past 25 years in a broad range of fields, from the environment and sustainable food systems to criminal justice reform and empowering women and girls. Patty is inspired by the passion of filmmakers in their mission to educate audiences and galvanize change. She is a patron of Sundance Institute and Chicken & Egg Pictures, and is a member of Impact Partners.  

Welcome Brenda and Patty! To find out more about them and the rest of our Board, see here.

Post by 2018 Communications Intern Morgan Lee Hulquist.