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 (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 America, Three Amigos, Blues Brothers 2000, Beverly Hills Cop III, Susan’s Plan, The Stupids, Oscar, Spies 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 (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.
Chicken & Egg Pictures is proud to announce that we were named an Official Charity Partner of the 2019 United Airlines NYC Half by New York Road Runners (NYRR). The race will take place on Sunday, March 17, 2019.
In 2018, NYRR is celebrating 60 years of helping and inspiring people through running. NYRR has grown from a local running club to the world’s premier community running organization. At the most recent United Airlines NYC Half in 2018, over 2,900 runners and 140 Official Charity Partners raised approximately $5 million for charity.
“We are excited to be a part of this year’s Official Charity Partner program at this year’s United Airlines NYC Half, which helps Chicken & Egg Pictures continue our support for women nonfiction filmmakers,” said Executive Director Jenni Wolfson. “We look forward to having a dedicated team of runners take on the United Airlines NYC Half on behalf of our organization—training, preparing, and ultimately completing the 13.1-mile race and helping us push toward gender parity in the documentary filmmaking world.”
We can’t wait to turn this half marathon into a chicken run. See you at the race!
Earlier this month, Nest-supported Dark Money and United Skates were included in the International Documentary Association (IDA) Shortlist for Top Feature and as well as nominated for the IDA Award for Best Feature of 2018.
And last week, we received more good news from the International Documentary Association. Chicken & Egg Pictures is being recognized with the prestigious Amicus Award. We’re in good company too, with past recipients including Stephen Spielberg, Norman and Lyn Lear, and our dear Nest friend and Fork Films President and CEO Abigail Disney.
The Amicus Award “honors individuals or organizations in recognition of their work supporting the essential needs of the nonfiction media landscape,” and we humbly thank IDA for this extraordinary recognition. In an environment where the need to amplify women’s voices is receiving much needed attention, this award will serve to further elevate the importance of their stories.
We would like to extend a special congratulations to 2016 Breakthrough Filmmaker Award Recipient Julia Reichert for her well-earned Career Achievement Award. Thank you Julia, for your incredible contributions to documentary filmmaking. We are so happy for you and cannot wait to celebrate your achievements.
We also congratulate 2017 Breakthrough Filmmaker Award Recipient Dawn Porter for her nomination for Best Limited Series for her Netflix doc series Bobby Kennedy for President. Chicken & Egg Pictures did not directly support Bobby Kennedy for President but supported Dawn during her breakthrough year and past projects Trapped and The Chosen Life. Congratulations Dawn and good luck!
The IDA Awards ceremony will take place on Saturday, December 8 at the Paramount Theatre in Los Angeles. We’ll see you there!
In addition to the Nest-supported projects and filmmakers at DOC NYC, we are egg-static to announce our Co-Founder and Senior Creative Consultant Judith Helfand’s Cooked: Survival by Zip Code, will have its world premiere at the festival.
In addition to co-founding the Nest, Judith has directed several award-winning films including the The Uprising of ’34 (co-directed with esteemed veteran George Stoney), her groundbreaking personal film A Healthy Baby Girl, its Sundance award-winning sequel Blue Vinyl, followed by Everything’s Cool (both co-directed with Daniel B. Gold). She has taught the art of documentary film at New York University, New School, and was the Filmmaker-in-Residence at University of Wisconsin-Madison’s Nelson Institute for Environmental Studies in 2007 and 2009. As much an educator and field-builder as she is a filmmaker, Judith co-founded Working Films and sits on the boards of Great Small Works and The Lower East Side Girls Club.
Cooked: Survival by Zip Code, directed by Judith A. Helfand
Sunday, November 11 at 1:30 p.m. at SVA Theater
Wednesday, November 14 at 2:45 p.m. at IFC Center
In July 1995, Chicago was hit by a record heat wave that claimed the lives of 739 residents, primarily among the elderly, African Americans and those living in poverty. Using this tragedy as a jumping-off point, but referencing other extreme weather catastrophes like Hurricanes Katrina and Sandy, Cooked provocatively reframes the politics of disaster to encompass extreme inequity, arguing that economically disadvantaged communities should be preventatively treated as disasters taking place in slow motion.*
* Synopsis courtesy of DOC NYC
Congratulations, Judith, and see you at DOC NYC!
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!
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.
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.
The Program & Partnerships Manager will have an integral role in several of our soon-to-be-launched programs in support of our goal to provide creative, professional, and financial support to filmmakers at strategic junctures in their careers.
Come join a creative team that is truly passionate about advancing our mission of supporting women nonfiction filmmakers globally.
The Grierson Trust commemorates the pioneering Scottish documentary maker John Grierson. Each year, the trust celebrates documentary filmmaking from the UK and around the world with the British Documentary Awards, more fondly known as The Griersons.
We are honored to announce that Chicken & Egg-supported projects Kingdom of Us and Strong Island were nominated this year.
Kingdom of Us, directed by Lucy Cohen, was nominated for Best Single Documentary – Domestic and Best Cinema Documentary.
Kingdom of Us 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.
Strong Island, directed by Yance Ford, was nominated for Best Single Documentary – International.
Set in the suburbs of the black middle class, Strong Island seeks to uncover how—in the year of the Rodney King trial and the Los Angeles riots—the murder of the filmmaker’s older brother went unpunished. The film is an unflinching look at homicide, racial injustice, and the corrosive impact of grief over time.
The Griersons will take place on the evening of Monday, November 5 at The Queen Elizabeth Hall in London. In the meantime, both Kingdom of Us and Strong Island are available to stream on Netflix.
Congratulations Yance and Lucy and good luck!
The Whickers recently announced the recipient of the 2018 The Whickers/Chicken & Egg Pictures Award: congratulations to Ilinca Calugareanu and the A Cops and Robbers Story team!
Named for pioneering British broadcaster Alan Whicker, The Whickers is dedicated to supporting emerging voices in the field of documentary. The award, focused on Accelerator Lab participants, was conceived to ensure that more women enter the nonfiction filmmaking pipeline. Previous recipients include The Feeling of Being Watched by Assia Boundaoui and The Surrender of Waymond Hall by Jane Greenberg.
A Cops and Robbers Story follows Corey Pegues, one of the highest ranking black executives in the NYPD, who revealed 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. The project was recently featured as a docustory in The Guardian. Said director Ilinca Calugareanu, “It is such an honour to be this year’s recipient of The Whickers/Chicken & Egg Pictures Award. Thank you for believing in us and in the importance of Corey Pegues’s story. Your support means so much!”
Ilinca’s debut documentary feature, Chuck Norris vs. Communism, is currently available for streaming on Netflix.
Post by 2018 Communications Intern Morgan Lee Hulquist.
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.