Fork Films Announces 2018 Grants

Fork Films announced yesterday $625,000 in grant funding to  sixteen documentaries “that align with the company’s dedication to promoting peacebuilding, human rights, and social justice.”

We are so proud to have supported seven films of the sixteen announced, as well as one filmmaker.

Born In China, directed by Nanfu Wang and Lynn Zhang (2017 Accelerator Lab)

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

How to Have an American Baby, directed by Leslie Tai (2017 Diversity Fellows Initiative)

How to Have an American Baby is a kaleidoscopic voyage that travels behind closed doors into the booming shadow economy that caters to affluent Chinese tourists who travel to the US on birthing vacations—in order to give birth and obtain US citizenship for their babies. Tracing the underground supply chain from Beijing and Shanghai to Los Angeles, the film weaves together vignettes and deeply private moments. In bedrooms, delivery rooms, and family meetings, the story of a hidden global economy emerges—depicting the fortunes and tragedies that befall the ordinary people caught in the web of its influence.

Lights Camera Uganda, directed by Cathryne Czubek and Hugo Perez (2017 Accelerator Lab)

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.

Rajada Dalka/Nation’s Hope, directed by Hana Mire ( 2016 Diversity Fellows Initiative and the 2017 Accelerator Lab)

If doing what you love put your life at risk, would you continue to do it? What if it would also endanger the life of your family and friends? Would you carry on? Or would you quit? These are the questions the women athletes of Rajada Dalka/Nation’s Hope face every single day as they are met with threats from members of the Al-Shabab militia in Mogadishu. Diving deep inside the Somali National Women’s basketball team’s first season since the civil war, the film follows veteran coach Suad Galow as she shepherds her team of fearless young women, and helps them to overcome the violent threats against them and reclaim their place on the international stage.

Reentry (working title), directed by Jennifer Redfearn (2018 Accelerator Lab)

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.

Syrian Families Film (Untitled), directed by Megan Mylan

A look at war and displacement through the lens of parenthood from Megan Mylan, Academy-Award winning director of Lost Boys of Sudan and Smile Pinki. This feature documentary unfolds as a sequence of cinematic short stories revolving around Syrian families living in Turkey, Greece, the US, Germany, and Syria. Each chapter is an intimate portrait of parents—often mothers alone—as they work to rebuild their children’s lost sense of security and possibility. It is a story that is both urgent and timeless.

The Rashomon Effect, directed by Lyric R Cabral (2017 Accelerator Lab)

What happened when unarmed Black teen Michael Brown was fatally shot by White police officer Darren Wilson?

Going to Mars: The Nikki Giovanni Film, directed by Michèle Stephenson (Breakthrough Filmmaker Award, 2016) and Joe Brewster*

Going to Mars: The Nikki Giovanni Project recounts the story of acclaimed poet, Nikki Giovanni and the revolutionary historical periods through which she lived—from the Civil Rights and Black Arts Movement, to present-day Black Lives Matter.

* Chicken & Egg Pictures did not directly support Going to Mars: The Nikki Giovanni Film but supports director Michèle through our 2016 Breakthrough Filmmaker Award program.

See the full slate of Fork Films’ newly supported projects here.

Post by 2018 Communications Intern Morgan Lee Hulquist. 

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. 

Chicken & Egg Accelerator Lab Live Pitch at Sheffield Doc/Fest

Still from Guardian of Memory, directed by Marcela Arteaga (2017 Accelerator Lab grantee)

Join us for our first ever LIVE CHICK-PITCH at the 2017 Sheffield Doc/Fest.

Our focus: to showcase, celebrate, and introduce you to the work, vision, and promise of 10 compelling projects helmed by emerging women directors from around the globe—each one a member of our 2017 CHICKEN & EGG PICTURES Accelerator Lab, hailing from Bangladesh, China, Somalia, Mexico, Poland, and across the US.

The Live Pitch will take place on Sunday, June 11, 12:00 – 14:00 pm at the Sheffield ITV Town Hall Reception Room B.

Moderated by award-winning filmmaker Judith Helfand, Chicken & Egg Pictures’ Co-Founder and Senior Creative Consultant.

THE PROJECTS

Find out more about the 2017 Accelerator Lab.

If you would like to attend let us know by emailing Sabine Fayoux, Program Coordinator, at sabine@chickeneggpics.org.

If you can’t join us at the Live Pitch please consider meeting with the filmmakers individually or in small group meetings during the festival. To coordinate a meeting, please contact our European representative and Sheffield Doc/Fest liaison Tereza Šimíková at simikova.tereza@gmail.com.
The Chicken & Egg Pictures Accelerator Lab is a year-long program that brings together 10 nonfiction projects directed by women from around the world who are making their first or second film. The program provides them with a major grant of $35,000 USD and intensive mentorship that strives to balance creative storytelling and core producing skills with practical models for building sustainability, community, and relationships in the nonfiction marketplace. The 2017 Sheffield Doc/Fest marks the program’s second of three retreats, this one built around utilizing and leveraging all that the Sheffield Doc/Fest’s Meet Market and Industry Convenings have to offer.

Chicken & Egg Pictures-Supported Filmmakers Win at Peabody Awards

Three Chicken & Egg Pictures-supported filmmakers accepted Peabody Awards this year. A big congratulations to:

Deborah S. Esquenazi for Southwest of Salem: The Story of the San Antonio Four

Dawn Porter (2017 Breakthrough Filmmaker Award recipient) for Trapped

Nanfu Wang (2017 Accelerator Lab grantee) for Hooligan Sparrow*

Read more about these films and the other recipients in their company on the Peabody website.

*Chicken & Egg Pictures did not fund the film Hooligan Sparrow, but supports director Nanfu Wang as a 2017 Accelerator Lab grantee. Nanfu has also received the LUNA Chicken & Egg Pictures Award at 2017 SXSW Film Festival (read more here).

Congratulations to Nanfu at SXSW 2017!

We’re so proud of our Accelerator Lab grantee Nanfu Wang and her film, I Am Another You, for winning the LUNA Chicken & Egg Pictures Award at SXSW Film Festival this year!

For more information about the film, and the award, check out some of these articles:

“Show Her The Money: Why Financing Really Matters for Women Directors” by Ally Fleming, SXSW blog

“‘I Am Another You’ Uncovers an American Dreamer From the Inside Out” by Eric Kohn, Indiewire

“SXSW Film Review: ‘I Am Another You’” by Owen Gleiberman, Variety

Chicken & Egg Pictures Announces 2017 Accelerator Lab Finalists

Lights Camera Uganda, directed by Cathryne Czubek and Hugo Perez

We’re proud to announce our newest cohort of Accelerator Lab participants. Congratulations to all!

The Surrender of Waymond Hall
Directed by Jane Greenberg, US

The Surrender of Waymond Hall tells the redemption story of a young black fugitive on the run for the violent crime he committed a decade ago. With extraordinary access, the film follows Way as he wrestles with the excruciating decision to turn himself in, faces the watershed moment of surrender, and navigates a criminal justice system accused of discriminating against people just like him. His story exposes flaws in our societal institutions and in human nature, unfolding against a backdrop of national debates over the divisive racial impact of our criminal justice policies and the remarkable push to reform them.

The Guardian of Memory
Directed by Marcela Arteaga, MEXICO

The Juarez Valley, a region once known for cotton production, is now nothing more than burned down houses, empty towns, and memories. Carlos Spector, an immigration lawyer born in El Paso, TX, fights to obtain political asylum for Mexicans fleeing from violence. This is the story of Mexican men, women, and children seeking a respite from their tragedies by heading to their neighboring country, the U.S. It is also a story about the kindness and hope that still exists in people who have gone through hell, and about Carlos Spector’s tireless efforts to keep memory alive.

Kids Can Spit
Directed by Chelsi Bullard, US

The feature documentary Kids Can Spit follows three New York City teenagers over the school year as they gear up to compete against one another at the Science Genius B.A.T.T.L.E.S. (Bringing Attention to Transforming, Teaching, and Learning Science), a science-themed rap competition. The competition’s creator, Professor Chris Emdin, believes hip-hop is uniquely suited to teach science. For students Mannix, Genesis, and Jason, this battle is a way to beat society’s odds while carving their identities and finding their voices. Pressure mounts on Chris to prove his innovative curriculum does what traditional science classes have failed to do: engage disenfranchised Black and Latinx youth to become proficient in science through rap.

The Surf Girls of Cox’s Bazar
Directed by Elizabeth D. Costa, BANGLADESH

Jahanara, Rifa, and Ayesha live in one of the poorest slums near the beaches of Cox’s Bazar in Bangladesh. From a young age, the girls are sent to work in order to supplement the family income, and social norms dictate that they will be married when they turn 14 or 15 years old. The girls discover a newfound freedom in a surf club and find out they have the skills and talent to win competitions. This spurs their ambitions and they dream of becoming the first international female surfers of Bangladesh.

The Rashomon Effect
Directed by Lyric R. Cabral, US

What happened when unarmed Black teen Michael Brown was fatally shot by White police officer Darren Wilson?

Born in China
Directed by Nanfu Wang and Lynn Zhang, CHINA

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

Unaccompanied Children
Directed by Alexandra Codina, US

Unaccompanied Children reveals America’s invisible refugee crisis through the eyes of one family that defies a broken system with their unwavering resilience.  Deep in the everyday life of the loving and optimistic Gonzalez family, the horrific violence of gang-ridden Honduras and the encroaching threat of draconian US enforcement are almost forgotten.  The film goes beyond the traditional immigration narrative to a nuanced, intimate story which implicates us all in how we care for the most vulnerable.

Lights Camera Uganda [working title]
Directed by Cathryne Czubek and Hugo Perez, US

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.

Rajada Dalka/Nation’s Hope
Directed by Hana Mire, SOMALIA

Somalia’s newly revived Women’s Basketball team seeks to inspire their nation as they overcome immense challenges in their first season since the outbreak of war in 1991. To continue to play the game they love, the team must defy both religious leaders and violent militant groups that believe that their sporting ambitions are un-Islamic. They must also battle against the sexism faced by women in sports across the world.

People I Know
Directed by Zofia Pregowska, POLAND

People I Know is a tragicomedy vérité about a young married couple living in an old trailer. Prone to nervous breakdowns, Michael is unable to stand consumer society and becomes a street musician. His wife Nathalie is an oncology nurse. One day, Nathalie discovers that she wants to own a house so much that she’s ready to take on a lifelong loan.

Note: Since the time of the original publication of this post, some film descriptions have been edited upon filmmakers’ requests.