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-Supported Projects at IFP Week

2018 IFP Week FilmsThe Independent Filmmaker Project announced its 40th annual IFP Project Forum slate highlighting films, series, digital, and audio projects from around the world. We are honored to announce that four Chicken & Egg-supported projects from our 2018 programs year were included.

An Act of Worship, directed by Nausheen Dadabhoy (2018 Diversity Fellows Initiative)

An Act of Worship follows young Muslim women activists at a time when hate crimes against Muslims have reached their highest level since 9/11. The travel ban has sent the message that Muslims are not welcome in the US. Now, a new generation has been galvanized into action to reclaim their space in the American landscape.

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

At the intersection of the northern Mexico desert and the plains of southwest Texas exists a symbiotic community. Here, people’s lives are spread across two countries, connected by a bridge that everyone must travel. For some, crossing to the other side means getting to work or school. For others, life straddling the border is the only way to keep their family together. Through a collection of interweaving vignettes, The In Between is a poetic ode to a greater reality of the border than the one portrayed on the news, offering a nuanced and intimate portrait of a place and its people at the heart of Mexican-American identity.

Made in Boise, directed by Beth Aala (2018 Discretionary Grant)

A surprising—and booming—industry has emerged in Boise, Idaho. In this idyllic, all-American city, nurses, nail technicians, and stay-at-home mothers are having babies for strangers—in record numbers. Boise’s own St. Luke’s Medical Center founded and runs the first and best surrogacy program of its kind, in all the US. But everything is not as it appears, surrogacy is not without its health risks, and the practice is not without its emotional complications. Character-driven and stylized in its approach, Made In Boise introduces audiences to the unique world of surrogacy in the most unexpected of places.

People’s Hospital, directed by Siyi Chen (2018 Accelerator Lab)

As the Chinese society criticizes dysfunctional hospitals, a doctor’s daughter revisits the small-town hospital where she grew up — this time with a camera, in the middle of a chaotic ER.

And a special congratulations to filmmakers who were previously supported by Chicken & Egg Pictures.

Women in Blue, directed by Deirdre Fishel (Care, 2014) and executive produced by Gini Reticker (The Trials of Spring, 2014)

A female police chief and a determined band of women officers work to redefine “protect and serve,” when a tragic shooting upends their progress.*

Narrowsburg, directed by Martha Shane (After Tiller co-director)

Narrowsburg tells the story of a French producer and a mafioso-turned-actor who attempted to turn a small Catskills town into the “Sundance of the East.”*

*Synopses from the IFP website.

Filmmakers will attend the IFP Project Forum during the 40th anniversary of IFP Week happening September 15 – 20 in Brooklyn.

Post by 2018 Communications Intern Morgan Lee Hulquist. 

Nine Nest-Supported Films/Filmmakers at the AFI Docs Film Festival

The AFI Docs Film Festival is kicking off in Washington, DC and Silver Spring, MD this week, and Chicken & Egg Pictures is honored to have supported the following nonfiction filmmakers and their projects, which can be seen at the festival from June 13-17.

United Skates_Tina Brown and Dyana Winkler_Diversity Fellows Initiative2016

United Skates, directed by Dyana Winkler & Tina Brown (2016 Diversity Fellows Initiative)

When America’s last standing roller rinks are threatened with closure, a community of thousands battle in a racially charged environment to save an underground subculture—one that has remained undiscovered by the mainstream for generations, yet has given rise to some of the world’s greatest musical talent.

The 2018 Tribeca Audience Award-winning film will be closing out the festival on Sunday, June 17 at 6:30 pm.

Blowin Up_Stephanie Wang-Breal

Blowin’ Up, directed by Stephanie Wang-Breal

Blowin’ Up looks at sex work, prostitution, and human trafficking through the lens of New York State’s criminal justice system. The film captures the growing pains of our nation’s first human trafficking intervention court in Queens, New York, and how we define trafficking and prostitution from many different perspectives: the criminal justice system, the social welfare system, and, most importantly, the women and girls who are at the center of it all.

Screenings: Thursday, June 14 at 3:30 pm and Friday, June 15 at 6:15 pm.

Dark Money by Kimberly Reed

Dark Money, directed by Kimberly Reed

A century ago, corrupt money swamped Montana’s legislature, but Montanans rose up to prohibit corporate campaign contributions. Today, in the wake of the Supreme Court’s Citizens United decision —which allows unlimited, anonymous money to pour into elections nationwide—Montana is once again fighting to preserve open and honest elections. Following an investigative reporter through a political thriller, Dark Money exposes one of the greatest threats to American democracy.

Screening: Thursday, June 14 at 6:00 pm.

It Will Be Chaos by Lorena Luciano and Filippo Piscopo

It Will Be Chaos, directed by Lorena Luciano and Filippo Piscopo

Life in Southern Italy is thrown into a tailspin when refugees arrive by the thousands and the locals are left to fend for themselves. Eritrean survivor Aregai, trapped in the Italian faltering immigration system, goes underground to reach Northern Europe. Through his journey, intercut with the road trip to Germany of a Syrian family, the clash between the newcomers and the locals escalates in real time.

Screening: Thursday, June 14 at 5:45 pm.

Tre Maison Dasan by Denali Tiller (2015 Accelerator Lab Grantee)

Tre Maison Dasan, directed by Denali Tiller (Accelerator Lab 2015)

Tre Maison Dasan is a story that explores parental incarceration through the eyes of three boys—Tre, Maison, and Dasan. Following their interweaving trajectories through boyhood marked by the criminal justice system, and told directly through the child’s perspective, the film unveils the challenges of growing up and what it means to become a man in America.

Screenings: Thursday, June 14 at 6:00 pm and Sunday, June 18 at 4:45 pm.

The following films were directed by Nest-supported filmmakers and will also be featured at the AFI Docs Film Festival.

Inventing Tomorrow, directed by Laura Nix (2018 Breakthrough Filmmaker Award recipient)

On Her Shoulders, directed by Alexandria Bombach (2018 SXSW LUNA / Chicken & Egg Pictures Award recipient)

A Murder in Mansfield, directed by Barbara Kopple (2011 Chicken & Egg Pictures Celebration Award)

Skywards, directed by Eva Weber (Black Out, 2007)

See the full AFI Docs Film Festival slate here.

Post by Morgan Hulquist, Summer 2018 Chicken & Egg Pictures Communications Intern.

Chicken & Egg Pictures at Sheffield Doc/Fest

Sheffield Doc/Fest is celebrating its 25th anniversary this year, and Chicken & Egg Pictures will be there with the 2018 Accelerator Lab cohort of first- and second-time female filmmakers, as well as four Nest-supported films for Sheffield goers to look out for! 

A Thousand Girls Like Me directed by Sahra Mani (2016 Diversity Fellows Initiative) at Sheffield Doc/Fest.

A Thousand Girls Like Me directed by Sahra Mani (2016 Diversity Fellows Initiative)

In Afghanistan where systematic abuses of girls rarely come to light, and seeking justice can be deadly, one young woman says “Enough.” Khatera was brutally raped by her father since the age of nine and today she raises two precious and precocious children whom he sired. Against her family’s and many Afghanis’ wishes, Khatera forces her father to stand trial. This is her incredible story of love, hope, bravery, forgiveness, and truth. Showtimes are Friday, June 8 at 3:45 PM and Sunday, June 10 at 6:30 PM. 

The Pain of Others, directed by Penny Lane (2017 Breakthrough Award Recipient)

The Pain of Others is a found footage documentary about Morgellons, a mysterious illness whose sufferers say they have parasites under the skin, long colored fibers emerging from lesions, and a host of other bizarre symptoms which could be borrowed from a horror film. The Pain of Others is composed entirely of videos shared by a group of “Morgies” who have turned to YouTube for community and to prove they’re not crazy.  Unsettling, funny and intimate, The Pain of Others is at once a body-horror documentary and a radical act of empathy.  Showtimes are Sunday, June 12 at 9:00 AM and Tuesday, June 12 at 6:00 PM. 

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. Showtimes are Sunday, June 10 at 3:00 PM and Monday, June 11 at 9:30 AM.

Skywards directed by Eva Weber (director of Nest-supported film Black Out, 2007)

A poetic and evocative visual study, Skywards takes the viewer on a journey into the world of pigeon flying, high above the bustling and crowded streets of Old Delhi. Showtimes are Sunday, June 10 at 5:45 PM and Tuesday,  June 12 at 9:00 AM. 

Additionally, join us for our second annual Accelerator Lab Pitch at Sheffield! The 2018 Accelerator Lab participants will pitch their projects to a live audience and will receive feedback from international decision makers and buyers. This will be an opportunity for all pass holders to hear from and meet filmmaking talent for future collaborations. The live pitch will take place Sunday, June 10 at 10:00 am.

Post by Morgan Hulquist, Summer 2018 Chicken & Egg Pictures Communications Intern.

United Skates wins Tribeca Audience Award

United Skates, directed by Tina Brown and Dyana Winkler at Tribeca Film Festival.
United Skates, directed by Tina Brown & Dyana Winkler

Congratulations to United Skates directors Tina Brown & Dyana Winkler for their 2018 Tribeca Audience Award win! Chicken & Egg Pictures supported Tina and Dyana’s project with our 2016 Diversity Fellows Initiative.

Next, United Skates will be hitting up Toronto’s Hot Docs Film Festival, so be sure to catch them there!

Read more about the film and its filmmakers in this No Film School interview.

Announcing our 2018 Diversity Fellows Initiative Grantees

From left to right: A Prince From Outer Space: Zeki Müren; The In Between; The Letter; Omnipresence; and Commuted.

Congratulations to our 2018 Diversity Fellows: Beyza Boyacioglu; Robie Flores; Nadia Hallgren; Nailah Jefferson; and Maia von Lekow, with co-director Chris King; hailing from Istanbul, Turkey; Eagle Pass, TX; New Orleans, LA; The Bronx, NY; and Nairobi, Kenya, respectively.

In addition to a $5,000 grant and a seven-month mentorship program, the Fellows will come together in upstate New York for a multiday storytelling retreat aimed to help develop and strengthen their film’s narratives. “This year we’ll be doing a deep dive into storytelling,” says Lucila Moctezuma, Director of Programs at Chicken & Egg Pictures. “The five-day retreat will allow our Diversity Fellows to have complete focus on their art and provide them with the space to learn from one another’s diverse perspectives and artistic practices. We are so thrilled to be working with these exceptional group of women filmmakers who have such important stories to tell and such special ways of telling them.”  

The Diversity Fellows Initiative is made possible with the generous support of The Harnisch Foundation, the MacArthur Foundation, and the Time Warner Foundation.

For additional information, please visit our Programs page. Participants of the Diversity Fellows Initiative are chosen through the Accelerator Lab Open Call process. The 2019 Accelerator Lab Open Call will launch on May 3.

2018 Diversity Fellows Initiative Grantees

 

A Prince From Outer Space: Zeki Müren, directed by Beyza Boyacioglu

This experimental, multilayered film uses Zeki Müren, Turkey’s most celebrated singer and modern day queer icon, as a prism to explore the country’s internal contradictions, from its founding as a modern, secular nation to the current crisis. Zeki, “Turkey’s Liberace,” was a chameleon-like figure. He expertly used his celebrity to navigate societyallowing audiences to see in him only what they wanted to see. The film deconstructs how myths are made and consumed, as it provides a window onto Turkey, a nation existing between the worlds of the east and of the west while belonging to neither.

Beyza Boyacioglu is a filmmaker and artist from Istanbul, currently based in New York. Her work has been exhibited in MoMA Documentary Fortnight, IDFA, RIDM, Anthology Film Archives, Morelia International Film Festival, Brooklyn Museum, Maysles Cinema, and !f Istanbul, among others. She was a part of MIT Open Documentary Lab between 2014–2017. She’s been a fellow at UnionDocs, Flaherty Seminar, and Greenhouse. She holds an MASc in Comparative Media Studies from MIT and an MFA in Computer Art from SVA.

 

The In Between, directed by Robie Flores

At the intersection of the northern Mexico desert and the plains of southwest Texas exists a symbiotic community. Here, people’s lives are spread across two countries, connected by a bridge that everyone must travel. For some, crossing to the other side means getting to work or school. For others, life straddling the border is the only way to keep their family together. Through a collection of interweaving vignettes, The In Between is a poetic ode to a greater reality of the border than the one portrayed on the news, offering a nuanced and intimate portrait of a place and its people at the heart of Mexican-American identity.

Robie Flores grew up on the US/Mexico border. She is an independent filmmaker and video editor based in New York City. She previously worked with Loki Films as an assistant on Detropia, The Education of Mohammed Hussein, and ESPN’s Nine for IX documentary, Branded. Her work has appeared on CNN and Bloomberg and has been featured by Teen Vogue, Fusion, Allure, and i-D Vice. The In Between is her first feature film. 

Omnipresence, directed by Nadia Hallgren

A look at the complexities of a South Bronx housing project over the course of a summer.

Nadia Hallgren is an award-winning filmmaker and director of photography from The Bronx, New York. With a focus on vérité storytelling, her cinematography credits include the Sundance award-winner Motherland (2017), Academy Award-nominated and Sundance Grand Jury Prize-winner Trouble the Water (2008), and Sundance award-winner Trapped (2016). She has directed short films and series for Field of Vision, Topic, and PBS; and is a member of the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences, a 2018 Concordia Studio Artist in Residence, and an alum of International Center of Photography. Most recently, Nadia won the special jury prize at SXSW 2018 for an independent episodic series she directed about women running for office in response to Trump being elected.

Commuted, directed by Nailah Jefferson

Commuted tells the story of Danielle Metz, a 52-year-old woman trying to find her footing after spending nearly half of her life in prison. In 2016 Danielle’s was one of 568 life sentences President Obama overturned. Her life story is just one example of how the US criminal justice system impacts black families—before she was incarcerated, she had lost one boyfriend to police violence, another to a wrongful conviction, and then found herself in prison due to involvement with her husband’s drug ring. As Danielle starts to right her path, we reflect with her on a life interrupted.

Nailah Jefferson’s first film, Vanishing Pearls, told the story of a little known African American oyster fishing community and their fight for justice after the BP oil spill. After acquisition by ARRAY/AFFRM, Vanishing Pearls streams on The Urban Movie Channel. Nailah was nominated for a 2017 National Magazine Ellie award for Essence Magazine’s Black Girl Magic Episode 4. Nailah’s first narrative, Plaquemines, was chosen as an American Black Film Festival HBO Shorts finalist and is available on HBO, HBO GO, and HBO On Demand.

The Letter, directed by Maia von Lekow & Chris King

This story happens in rural coastal Kenya. When Karisa, a young artist living in the coastal city of Mombasa, reads a Facebook post accusing his Grandma of being a witch, he decides to return to his rural home to confront the accusations against her. The accusers, Karisa’s uncles, demand that Grandma repent and be exorcised in a Pentecostal ceremony. The story evolves into a family confrontation between those trying to protect Grandma and those condemning her. At the end, love and care triumph against superstition and economic interest.

In today’s post-colonial Kenya, the disturbing trend of witchcraft accusations, often resulting in the murder of an elder, is being used to cover up hundreds of family disputes over land, inheritance, and money. The Letter is a story through the lens of a single family highlighting the universal issues of elderly abuse and greed.

Maia von Lekow is a Kenyan musician and filmmaker. Fusing her music with a healthy fascination of people and culture, Maia has worked as director, producer, and sound recordist on several music videos and corporate films. She was named a Goodwill Ambassador for UNHCR on World Refugee Day 2013, and has received an African Movie Academy Award for her song “Uko Wapi.” A performing artist in her own right, Maia has appeared on several Kenyan broadcasts and maintains strong links with producers and presenters in the region.

The Letter is Maia’s first feature documentary. Maia will compose original music for the film.

Chris King is an award-winning filmmaker based in Nairobi, Kenya. Born in Australia, Chris studied at The School of Creative Arts at the University of Melbourne with honors in Visual Media. Chris has lived in Kenya full-time since 2007, working as a cinematographer, editor, animator, director, and producer in both factual and non-factual shorts, features, and music videos. In 2009, Chris co-founded Circle and Square Productions with his wife Maia and, in the same year, received an African Movie Academy Award in Editing for his work on the Kenyan feature film, From a Whisper.

Our inaugural NEXT GEN EGG event

On October 16, 2017, Chicken & Egg Pictures hosted a groundbreaking new event at Neuehouse in New York City. Supported by the Perspective Fund, this event invited a dozen first- and second-time filmmakers from around the world who participated in our Accelerator Lab and Diversity Fellows programs to share their film projects with film funders and industry professionals.

The goal of the event was to provide opportunities for attendees to meet in an intimate setting, learn about one another’s passions and projects, and explore avenues for support. Filmmakers presented their in-progress films to small groups, shared their filmmaking journeys and unique challenges, and received critical feedback from a diverse group of stakeholders.

The event was a huge success and additional support is already coming to our filmmakers as a result!

Stay tuned for another similar event, coming to San Francisco in 2018.

2017 Diversity Fellows Announced!

Still from Warrior Women, co-directed by Christina D. King & Elizabeth Castle

Congrats to our newest group of filmmakers coming into the Nest!

Warrior Women
Co-directed by Christina D. King & Elizabeth Castle (US)
The women of the American Indian Movement fight from a vulnerable place only matriarchs can understand—it is a battle for their children and the culture they hope to preserve for them. Warrior Women chronicles the struggle of Madonna Thunder Hawk and Marcy Gilbert, a Lakota mother and daughter whose fight for indigenous rights started in the 1970s and continues today at Standing Rock.

Through archival footage, verité, and video art, we experience Thunder Hawk’s dedication to Red Power and come to understand that activism is necessary for the very survival and success of Native culture and values for the next generation.

 

How to Have an American Baby
Directed by Leslie Tai (US)
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.

 

Untitled Race & Criminal Justice Project
Directed by Ursula Liang (US)
A nuanced look at how two communities of color navigate an uneven criminal justice system, anchored by one polarizing New York City case.

 

It Rains
Directed by Carolina Corral (MEXICO)
Since Oliver was killed, he communicates with his mother María through the rain. He let her know the attorney’s office buried him, along with 117 other corpses, in a hidden mass grave. This sparks a new life mission for María: to hold the government accountable for exhuming them all and returning the bodies back to the families who have been looking for them for years.

 

The Other Half of the African Sky
Directed by Tapiwa Chipfupa (ZIMBABWE)
The Other Half Of The African Sky follows filmmaker Tapiwa Chipfupa’s attempts to reconcile her estrangement from her family, triggered by a disagreement over her marriage. Through encounters with other women from all walks of life facing their own predicaments, Tapiwa explores how women hold up their half of the sky under a very constrictive and constantly contradictory environment in this very personal, brutally honest, and intriguing document of the disparities and the vast contradictions that women face in contemporary Zimbabwe. The film gives voice to the hopes, fears, and dreams of Zimbabwe’s women while simultaneously revealing a country in flux.

For more information, visit the Diversity Fellows Initiative webpage.

Nine Chicken & Egg Pictures grantees recognized with Sundance Documentary Fund grants

Nine Chicken & Egg Pictures grantees have been recognized with grants through the Sundance Documentary Fund. On Monday, October 31, the Sundance Institute announced the awarding of over $1 million in grants through this program.

Chicken & Egg Pictures congratulates our grantees, and looks forward to celebrating their continued success.

Chicken & Egg Pictures grantees awarded Sundance Production Grants: 

Even When I Fall
Directed by Kate McLarnon & Sky Neal
Even When I Fall is the story of three remarkable young Nepali women, all survivors of human trafficking into corrupt big top circuses across India. Facing forgotten families and uncertain futures, the story begins in the often-overlooked aftermath of a childhood spent in captivity and forced labor. But these tough young women were inadvertently left with a secret weapon by their captors – their breathtaking skills as circus artists.

Even When I Fall
Even When I Fall

Obstinate
Directed by Sahra Mosawi
In Afghanistan where systematic abuses of girls rarely come to light, and seeking justice can be deadly, one young woman says “Enough.” Her name is Khatera and this is her incredible story of love, hope, bravery, forgiveness and truth. It is also one of horrific abuse. Khatera was brutally raped by her father since the age of nine. Today she is twenty-three and raising two precious and precocious children—a daughter and a son—whom he sired.

Obstinate
Obstinate

Survivors
Directed by Arthur Pratt, Anna Fitch, Banker White, and Barmmy Boy
Through the eyes of Sierra Leonean filmmakers, Survivors presents a portrait of their country during the Ebola outbreak, exposing the complexity of the epidemic and the socio-political turmoil that lies in its wake. The film chronicles the remarkable stories of Sierra Leonean heroes during what is now widely regarded as the most acute public health crisis of the modern era.

Survivors
Survivors

Chicken & Egg Pictures grantees awarded Sundance Post-Production Grants:

32 Pills: My Sister’s Suicide
Directed by 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.

32 Pills: My Sister's Suicide
32 Pills: My Sister’s Suicide

Fly Away
Directed by Lucy 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.

Fly Away
Fly Away

Mudflow
Directed by Cynthia Wade & Sasha Friedlander
Mudflow is the story of a huge, toxic mudflow in Indonesia widely believed to be caused by shoddy drilling practices. The mud volcano has been erupting violently for the past eight years, burying 17 villages and permanently displacing 60,000 people. Mudflow follows ordinary Indonesians seeking justice for this disaster during a national election where one presidential candidate has promised restitution and the other has not.

Mudflow
Mudflow

United Skates
Directed by Dyana Winkler & Tina Brown
United Skates follows an underground subculture growing inside our country’s last standing roller rinks. Fusing hip-hop with the speed of old school quad roller skates, this film shines a fresh light on the recurring pattern of racial struggle faced by African American artists, as it follows the next artistic movement still undiscovered by the American mainstream.

United Skates
United Skates

Whose Streets?
Directed by 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?
Whose Streets?

Chicken & Egg Pictures grantees chosen for the Art of Nonfiction Fellowship:

Kirsten Johnson
Kirsten Johnson works as a director and a cinematographer. Her most recent work as a cinematographer appears in Citizenfour, Born to Fly: Elizabeth Streb vs Gravity, and The Wound and the Gift. Her work was featured in Academy Award®-nominated The Invisible War. She shared the 2010 Sundance Documentary Competition Cinematography Award with Laura Poitras for The Oath. She shot the Tribeca Film Festival 2008 Documentary winner, Pray the Devil Back to Hell. Her cinematography is featured in Farenheit 9/11, Academy Award®-nominated Asylum, Emmy®-winning Ladies First, and Sundance premiere documentaries, A Place at the Table, This Film Is Not Yet Rated, American Standoff, and Derrida. Deadline, (co-directed with Katy Chevigny), premiered at Sundance in 2004, was broadcast on primetime NBC, and won the Thurgood Marshall Award.

Kirsten received the Chicken & Egg Pictures Celebration Award, supported by the Ravenal Foundation, in 2014.

Kirsten Johnson
Kirsten Johnson

Chicken & Egg Pictures grantees chosen for the inaugural Bertha Foundation Fellowship:

Obstinate
Directed by Sahra Mosawi

Chicken & Egg Pictures announces new Diversity Fellows Initiative, sponsored by The Harnisch Foundation

Chicken & Egg Pictures announced today the launch of the Diversity Fellows Initiative, a new program that supports seven non-fiction projects helmed by first or second-time women filmmakers. The Diversity Fellows Initiative is supported by The Harnisch Foundation, and will bring together participants for six months of tailored mentorship, workshops, and programming with Chicken & Egg Pictures staff.

This inaugural year of the Diversity Fellows Initiative features a partnership with DOC NYC, the largest documentary film festival in the United States, which includes an educational conference for filmmakers called DOC NYC PRO.

With Creative Partner Chicken & Egg Pictures, DOC NYC has created “Breaking In: New Roadmaps,” an entire day dedicated to diversity at the festival, which is co-presented with The City of New York Mayor’s Office of Media and Entertainment, and will take place on Thursday, November 19. The day features a full lineup of panels dedicated to exploring where diverse voices and emerging talent can get access to funding and mentorship, as well as develop their careers and artistic voice.

“Chicken & Egg Pictures is committed to discovering and elevating underrepresented voices in documentary filmmaking,” said Executive Director Jenni Wolfson. “We are thrilled to be able to support these nine exceptional filmmakers through our Diversity Fellows Initiative, sponsored by The Harnisch Foundation. We’re equally thrilled that The City of New York Mayor’s Office of Media and Entertainment will be joining us as a co-presenter of “Breaking In: New Roadmaps” at DOC NYC, which will share important best practices and resources for emerging artists of diverse backgrounds.”

“The Mayor’s Office of Media and Entertainment is committed to supporting opportunities for New Yorkers of all backgrounds to build meaningful careers in the media and entertainment industry,” said MOME Acting Commissioner Luis Castro.  “New York is home to a talented and diverse community of artists. We are proud to partner with Chicken & Egg Pictures and DOC NYC to present “Breaking In: New Roadmaps.”  This day long series will provide invaluable insights to help up-and-coming storytellers forge and grow their careers as well as foster opportunities for diverse artists to create and share their stories.”

Acting Commissioner Castro will help kick off the day with a panel about breaking into filmmaking. The panel includes veteran filmmakers Farihah Zaman (Remote Area Medical), Hao Wu (The Road to Fame) Yoruba Richen (The New Black) and Taj Paxton (Logo/Viacom), sharing lessons learned and advice on how to sustain their creative careers. Additional “Breaking In” panels will be featured throughout Thursday.

Fellows were chosen from over 400 applications to the Accelerator Lab for first and second-time women filmmakers, and received travel grants and stipends, which enabled them to come to New York and participate in Chicken & Egg Pictures’ signature story workshop, led by Creative Director Judith Helfand and Interim Creative Director Yvonne Welbon. As part of this workshop, they will receive personalized follow-up over the next six months to mark progress and receive feedback.

In addition to travel grants and stipends, fellows received an Industry Pass to DOC NYC, moving the filmmakers forward in their careers, enabling them a greater chance of finishing better films, and putting them in a stronger position when they apply for funding from other organizations. Participants also benefit from meeting and making connections with key industry professionals at DOC NYC.

THE CHICKEN & EGG PICTURES DIVERSITY FELLOWS: 2015-2016

BOUGHT, SOLD & RETURNED                                                                       Director: Christina Birkhead – New York
Bought, Sold & Returned is a revealing look into the human trafficking epidemic in Vietnam. The film follows multiple Vietnamese girls who bravely faced impossible odds to make it home after being sold, as they emotionally heal and attempt to regain honorable futures. This delicate film confronts the root causes of human trafficking in Vietnam and highlights shelter and reintegration services enabling many young women to regain their lives after escape.

FLUSH REVOLUTION
Director: Lily Zepeda – Los Angeles
Flush Revolution follows Jack Sim, AKA “Mr. Toilet,” a Singaporean entrepreneur turned social activist who faces impossible odds doing work that others won’t: re-imagining and rebuilding the toilet. Although he has gained global recognition for his work with the UN and the World Toilet Organization, he must make endless sacrifices with no paycheck and a staff of nine to get 2.4 billion people access to safe sanitation. As Mr. Toilet partners with an army of celebrities and world leaders, time will tell if his passion and innovation are a match for India’s largest sanitation assignment in history.

Flush Revolution, directed by Lily Zepeda
Flush Revolution, directed by Lily Zepeda

LADY TOWN
Directors: Siyan Liu & Danni Wang – New York
The bustling southern city of Dongguan is both the manufacturing hub and the sex capital of China. Most of the sex workers were once factory girls. Lady Town explores these two worlds through the lives of two struggling young women. This film follows two young Chinese women with high hopes. Yun, a young mother, wants to escape the crushing drudgery of factory work by starting her own business; while Jolin dreams of becoming an actress, instead of working in the sex industry.

OBSTINATE TO LIVE
Director: Sahra Mosawi – Afghanistan
In Afghanistan where systematic abuses of girls rarely come to light, and seeking justice can be deadly, one young woman says “Enough.” Her name is Khatera and this is her incredible story of love, hope, bravery, forgiveness and truth. It is also one of horrific abuse. Khatera was brutally raped by her father since the age of nine. Today she is twenty-three and raising two precious and precocious children—a daughter and a son—whom he sired.

 

RAJADA DALKA (NATION’S HOPE)
Director: Hana Mire — Abu Dhabi, United Arab Emirates
Rajada Dalka is a feature documentary that incarnates the strong will and devotion of the Somali Women National Basketball Team amid an ongoing conflict.

 

SWIMMING ON DRY LAND
Director: Michelle Sérieux – Kingston, Jamaica
Swimming on Dry Land examines the lives of young gay Jamaicans, at a time when the island is debating homosexuality publicly in politics, the press and in churches. The film’s title makes reference to the concept of “fish,” a term used in Jamaica to refer to homosexuals, but also references their marginalization, coupled with an equally strong determination by some of the characters to live and love in Jamaica, despite the odds.

Portrait of Swimming on Dry Land character Simone Harris, whose image was used as the %22face of Jamaica's inaugural Pride JA celebration in August 2015
Portrait of Swimming on Dry Land character Simone Harris, whose image was used as the %22face of Jamaica’s inaugural Pride JA celebration in August 2015

 

UNITED SKATES
Directors: Dyana Winkler & Tina Brown- New York
United Skates follows an underground subculture growing inside our country’s last standing roller rinks. Fusing hip-hop with the speed of old school quad roller skates, this film shines a fresh light on the recurring pattern of racial struggle faced by African American artists, as it follows the next artistic movement still undiscovered by the American mainstream.

Unbeknownst even to the police, there are numerous public spaces across America that have been declared “neutral territory” by rivaling gangs. In the heart of South Central LA, Bloods and Crips put down their weapons each evening and peacefully coexist. These safe havens are found inside the faded walls of our country’s last remaining roller rinks where an underground social and artistic movement is growing under the radar. It took nearly thirty years for mainstream America to discover the brilliance of jazz. Similarly, the blues, R&B, and hip-hop were met with prejudice before being artistically recognized. United Skates will use the talent and fresh style of this world to shine a very different light on racial stereotyping through the eyes of an ex-Crip wife turned community activist, and a skater so determined to save what he loves, that he is about to lose his wife and children in the process.