Chicken & Egg Pictures at the Hot Docs Forum

Congratulations to Farming the Revolution for taking home the Best International Documentary Feature award at the 31st edition of Hot Docs in Toronto. The film was supported through Nishtha Jain’s 2020 Chicken & Egg Award. The festival also featured six supported films and five films from supported filmmakers in the lineup, multiple of which were premieres, and a spotlight on 2022 Chicken & Egg Award recipient Brett Story.

Our Senior Program Manager Elaisha Stokes and Program Assistant Will Tamura were in attendance at the festival and the Hot Docs Forum. This year’s Forum had “20 projects—represented by 22 filmmakers, 11 of whom are BIPOC (Black, Indigenous and People of Colour) and 16 of whom are women—representing 18 countries” (Business Doc Europe) presenting to key funders, decisionmakers, filmmakers, producers, and observers. There were a total of 58 projects being pitched across the industry events. Among the projects were 2024 (Egg)celerator Lab grantees Anatomy of a Life, Jaripeo, War on Women, Holder of the Sky, and Matininó. There were also films from the following supported filmmakers: Leah Galant, Kelly Duane de la Vega, Mila Turajlić, Chelsi Bullard, Geeta Gandbhir, Mars Veronne, Yvonne Welbon, Carine Chichkowsky, Ina Fichman, Valérie Montmartin, Lorena Luciano, Filippo Piscopo, Diane Becker, Melanie Miller, Kenya Jade Pinto, Brit Fryer, and Sona Jo.

We are extremely proud of 2024 (Egg)celerator Lab grantee Anatomy of a Life on being awarded the Cuban Hat Award. This award, given to the best pitch as decided by Forum attendees, offers funding for powerful and unique projects. The award also includes numerous other gifts, including a feedback call with our very own Elaisha Stokes. 

Learn more about the selected projects here.

AlumNest Filmmakers are DOC NYC PRO’s

Silent Beauty Jasmin Mara López
Behind the scenes still from Silent Beauty, directed by Jasmin López. The (Egg)celerator Lab grantee is participating in the DOC NYC “Only in New York” initiative during DOC NYC PRO.

The line-up for the 2019 DOC NYC PRO conference was recently released, and the eight day industry conference will feature documentary panels, master classes, and an expanded initiative to support works-in-progress called “Only in New York”, co-presented by SHOWTIME® Documentary Films. This year features a record number of AlumNest filmmakers and Nest industry friends sharing their insight and expertise at the conference from Thursday, November 7 to Friday, November 15.

Check out the Nest-full DOC NYC PRO line-up below:

DOC NYC PRO: First-Time Filmmaker 
Thursday, Nov. 7 from 10:00 AM to 5:30 PM | Cinepolis Chelsea

Panels such as “Developing Your Story” and “Funding an Independent Documentary” feature Malika Zouhali-Worrall (2019 Chicken & Egg Award), Chelsi Bullard (2017 (Egg)celerator Lab grantee for Kids Can Spit), and former Chicken & Egg Pictures Program Intern Netsanet Negussie (now Creative Development & Production Associate at Catalyst Films, helmed by 2016 Chicken & Egg Award recipient Kristi Jacobson).

DOC NYC PRO: The Short List: Features
Friday, Nov. 8 from 9:00 AM to 5:30 PM | IFC Center

2017 Chicken & Egg Award recipient Nanfu Wang will discuss politics in One Child Nation, with directors of The Edge of DemocracyThe Kingmaker and For Sama. Plus AlumNest filmmakers Steve Bognar (co-director of American Factory) and Rachel Lears (Knock Down the House) discuss the art of observation in documentary.

DOC NYC PRO: Editing
Saturday, Nov. 9 from 9:00 AM to 5:30 PM Cinepolis Chelsea

Hear from AlumNest filmmaker (The Hand That Feeds) and Knock Down the House director Rachel Lears and the film’s editor Robin Blotnick on the “Anatomy of a Scene: Knock Down the House” panel.

DOC NYC PRO: Cinematography 
Saturday, Nov. 9 from 9:00 AM to 5:30 PM | Cinepolis Chelsea

AlumNest filmmaker Alison Klayman, whose subjects span Ai Weiwei and Steve Bannon will discuss the art of observation in intimate settings on the “Building Rapport” panel. An Act of Worship director Nausheen Dadabhoy (2019 (Egg)celerator Lab) will share her insights on building a career on cinematography, and Nanfu Wang will speak on her experience as a director and cinematographer in the “In-depth with Nanfu Wang” panel.

DOC NYC PRO: Distribution and Audience Impact
Sunday, Nov. 10 from 9:00 AM to 5:30 PM | Cinepolis Chelsea

Join Nancy Schwartzman (Roll Red Roll) at “Impact Case Studies: Eating Animals and Roll Red Roll.”

DOC NYC PRO: Pitch Perfect
Monday, Nov. 11 9:00 AM | Cinepolis Chelsea

Eight filmmakers with works-in-progress selected from DOC NYC’s Only in New York, including Silent Beauty director Jasmin Lopez (2019 Egg)celerator Lab), will pitch to industry professionals from A&E IndieFilms, ESPN Films, Impact Partners, NEON, and TIME Studios. The session will be moderated by our Co-Founder and Senior Creative Consultant Judith Helfand and will include our Program Director Lucila Moctezuma.

DOC NYC PRO: Producing
Tuesday, Nov. 12 9:00 AM | Cinepolis Chelsea

Beth Levison, producer of Made in Boise, will participate in the “Creative Producing Panel”, plus Julie Goldman (producer on One Child Nation) and 2016 Chicken & Egg Award recipient Kristi Jacobson discuss career-building.

DOC NYC PRO: Funding a Documentary
Wednesday, Nov. 13 9:00 AM | Cinepolis Chelsea

Chicken & Egg Pictures Executive Director Jenni Wolfson is on the Funder + Filmmaker Relationships panel  from 10:00 – 11:10 AM.

DOC NYC PRO: Legal for Docs
Thursday, Nov. 14 9:00 AM | Cinepolis Chelsea

Nicole Page of Reavis Page Jump LLP, our legal team at Chicken & Egg Pictures, will educate audience members on topics like defamation and privacy claims, relating to true crime documentary films.

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.

Kids Can Spit Interview: Hip Hop & Science Come Together May 26

Director Chelsi Bullard (Kids Can Spit) with one of her film subjects Chloe Hernandez

By Chelsi Bullard

Part One of a series of blog posts from Chicken & Egg Pictures’ 2017 Accelerator Lab grantees. This post is brought to us by Chelsi Bullard, director of Kids Can Spit, about New York City teens competing against one another in the Science Genius B.A.T.T.L.E.S. (Bringing Attention to Transforming, Teaching, and Learning Science). Here Chelsi interviews one of the subjects of her film right before the big competition. 

Chloe, a student at Brooklyn Preparatory High School in Brooklyn, is a part of the Science Genius B.A.T.T.L.E.S. program in her school. The program engages youth in science through hip hop music and culture, and builds up to a citywide competition where students across New York City’s boroughs participate in a rap battle to be crowned the ‘Science Genius.’ Science Genius aims to blur the lines of what is perceived as academic, and what is not. In this interview, Chloe talks about the rhymes she created for the competition as well as her anticipation and excitement for the big event!

Can you introduce yourself?
My name is Chloe Hernandez, I’m 17 and I go to Brooklyn Prep.

What is SG [Science Genius]?
For me personally, it’s more than just an opportunity to incorporate science with rap. I can use my knowledge, it’s fun, and it appeals to people. [It’s exciting that it’s] not only for the boys but, as a young female, I could do something like this.

Tell me about the competition. 
You get together with a group and you put together what you know and the message you want to send, which has to do with real life, not just scientific concepts. Then, you have a school battle against your peers in school who have their own science raps. If you go on to the final battle, you present your raps against students from all over the place. It’s really how can you connect science to something you’re really passionate about.

I’m rather scared because last year’s winner is from my school, and I’m proud of them and want to be proud of myself too.

What’s your group’s piece about? 
It started with another girl [on my group], Kiersten, and inspired by the concept that there is no such thing as darkness, just an absence of light. The piece talks about the African American community and how teens have something to say about all of our problems. Adults don’t listen [so] we use sound waves to talk about our everyday lives that adults don’t see.

What’s your relationship to science like?
At first I was afraid of getting into science. [My teammate] Ivy and I both thought “How are we going to incorporate science?”  But it’s not like it’s something I didn’t want to learn. Now, physics is probably the most amazing subject I’ve ever had. Like light waves—a lot of things when I see it, it’s not what I see. Our eyes create these colors. This is really cool.

What are the top three things you try to remember to relax and do your best before a performance?

  • Calm down, it’s not the end of the world!
  • There are no losers because everyone has the same nerves as me.
  • Be proud of myself. If I get to the school-wide battle, then I am worthy of my spot, even if it’s not #1.

Come cheer Chloe and the other competitors on at the Science Genius B.A.T.T.L.E.S. Finals on Friday, May 26! You can register here. And come back every month to see more from our Accelerator Lab grantees!

Chelsi Bullard is an independent video editor turned director based in Harlem. She likes to attach herself to stories that take the viewer to little known worlds and introduce them to courageous and outspoken characters. Most recently, she edited the short I Was Here First (2015) that premiered at DOC NYC and was produced as a part of the UnionDocs Collaborative Studio in Brooklyn, NY where Chelsi was a media arts fellow. Visit her website: http://www.chelsibullard.com/.

Chelsi is a grantee of our 2017 Accelerator Lab for first- and second-time filmmakers. Kids Can Spit is her feature directorial debut. 

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.