Ursula Liang: Dozen Days of Filmmakers — Day 12

Chicken & Egg Pictures is celebrating the holiday season by featuring a dozen Nest-supported women and gender non-conforming filmmakers. For more Dozen Days of Filmmakers, see here.

Ursula Liang is a print journalist-turned-filmmaker who has worked for The New York Times Op-Docs, The New York Times Style Magazine, ESPN The MagazineAsia Pacific Forum on WBAI, StirTVThe Jax ShowHyphen magazine, the New Yorker Festival and the 2050 Group publicity, while currently freelancing as a film and television producer and story consultant. She is a founding member of the Filipino American Museum and sits on the advisory board of the Dynasty Project. Liang grew up in Newton, Mass. and lives in the Bronx, New York. 

Ursula Liang 2017 Diversity Fellows Initiative
Down a Dark Stairwell, directed by Ursula Liang

Her debut feature, 9-Man: a Streetball Battle in the Heart of Chinatown, was broadcast on public television and called “an absorbing documentary” by the New York Times. Liang is currently working on Down a Dark Stairwell, a nuanced look at how two communities of color navigate an uneven criminal justice system, anchored by one polarizing New York City case.

Kristine Stolakis: Dozen Days of Filmmakers — Day 11

Chicken & Egg Pictures is celebrating the holiday season by featuring a dozen Nest-supported women and gender non-conforming filmmakers. For more Dozen Days of Filmmakers, see here.

PRAY AWAY Kristine StolakisKristine Stolakis is a BAFTA nominated documentary director whose films explore American systems of power and the people in them.

Her debut feature Pray Away chronicles the history and continuation of the “pray the gay away” movement and is a co-production of Multitude Films. Her directorial debut The Typist  (Hot Docs 2015) was released by KQED and is a Vimeo Staff Pick. Her documentary  Where We Stand (DOC NYC 2015) was released by The Atlantic and nominated for a BAFTA.

PRAY AWAY Kristine Stolakis
Pray Away, directed by Kristine Stolakis

She also produced ATTLA (Independent Lens), a co-production of ITVS and Vision Maker Media. Her films have received supported from the Catapult Film Fund, Tribeca Film Institute, SFFilm, Hartley Film Foundation, as well as the Chicken & Egg Pictures’ (Egg)celerator Lab for Pray Away.

She holds an MFA in Documentary from Stanford University, where she currently lectures, and a BA in Cultural Anthropology from New York University. She proudly hails from North Carolina and central New York.

Eunice Lau: Dozen Days of Filmmakers — Day 10

Chicken & Egg Pictures is celebrating the holiday season by featuring a dozen Nest-supported women and gender non-conforming filmmakers. For more Dozen Days of Filmmakers, see here.

The Youth The Youth Eunice Lau Accelerator Lab 2018Eunice Lau is an independent filmmaker and former journalist with a propensity toward stories concerning social justice. After years of reporting on Cambodia, she wrote and produced The Trouble with Waiting, which won the Grand Jury award at Busan Asian Short Film Festival 2008. Eunice has an MFA from the NYU Tisch School of the Arts, where her short documentary Through the Fire was nominated for the Student Academy Awards 2012. Between filming, she teaches documentary film at Baruch College.

The Youth The Youth Eunice Lau Arthur Nazaryan Accelerator Lab 2018
Accept the Call, directed by Eunice Lau

Her feature documentary Accept The Call, which participated in the 2018 (Egg)celerator Lab, is an unflinching look at the forces that drive one to adopt an extreme ideology. Through the eyes of a father who seeks to understand how his son is radicalized by the propaganda of the Islamic State Army, Accept the Call reveals how a Muslim American family is affected by the geopolitics and polemics that fuel the resurgence of reactionary and right-wing political movements. Through this intimate lens on the Somali community in Minnesota, Accept the Call explores the racism and prejudices against immigrants, the rise of radical Islam, and what it means to be Muslim in contemporary America.

The film had its world premiere at the Human Rights Watch Film Festival in New York City and then screened at Woodstock Film Festival. Read a write-up from Variety about the film’s screenings at the Singapore Film Festival here.

Milisuthando Bongela: Dozen Days of Filmmakers — Day 9

 

Chicken & Egg Pictures is celebrating the holiday season by featuring a dozen Nest-supported women and gender non-conforming filmmakers. For more Dozen Days of Filmmakers, see here.

Milisuthando (Working Title) Milisuthando BongelaMilisuthando Bongela is an award-winning writer, editor, and cultural worker with experience in the media, publishing, fashion, art, and film industries in South Africa. Over the last 12 years, her written and cultural work has explored the post-apartheid condition, concerned with the intimate manifestations of race and racism in the everyday and shared intimate spaces. She is currently directing her first feature length documentary on race, love and growing up in the new South Africa—Milisuthando (working title).

Milisuthando (working title), directed by Milisuthando Bongela

It’s 1992 and Milisuthando is enjoying her sheltered childhood in “The Republic of the Transkei”, a dodgy ethnic homeland where, even though apartheid is raging 100 km away, she has no idea of the impending racial calamity beyond her hometown. When Transkei is suddenly dissolved at the end of apartheid, 8-year-old Milisuthando becomes a member of the first generation of black kids to attend “Whites Only” schools in South Africa. Through her probing, often naive journey with a cast of contrary characters, we revisit the old interiors of the “New South Africa”, exploring how racial prejudice and interracial bonding played out in the everyday. And why today, South Africa seems to be making a U-turn towards its ugly racial past.

Milisuthando’s project participated in the 2019 (Egg)celerator Lab and received the 2019 The Whickers/Chicken & Egg Pictures Award.

Jasmin Mara López: Dozen Days of Filmmakers — Day 8

Chicken & Egg Pictures is celebrating the holiday season by featuring a dozen Nest-supported women and gender non-conforming filmmakers. For more Dozen Days of Filmmakers, see here.

Silent Beauty Jasmin Mara LópezJasmin Mara López is a journalist, audio producer, and filmmaker based in New Orleans, Louisiana. Born in the US with familial roots in México, her childhood was affected by issues experienced on both sides of the US-México border. This instilled in her a strong passion for immigrant rights, youth empowerment, and social change. In 2007, Jasmin founded Project Luz, which taught Mexican youth to document stories from within their communities. She was then recruited by the USC Annenberg Civic Engagement and Journalism Initiative to coordinate a program that trained immigrant youth in journalistic ethics and practice. In 2015, she received the Society of Professional Journalists’ Excellence in Journalism Award for her audio documentary Deadly Divide: Migrant Death on the Border.

Silent Beauty Jasmin Mara López
Silent Beauty, directed by Jasmin Mara López

She was awarded the 2017 New Orleans Film Society Emerging Voices Mentorship, 2018 Southern Documentary Fund Production Grant, 2019 Jacquie Jones Memorial Scholarship Fund via Black Public Media, and 2019 TFI Pond5 Grant. She participated in the 2018 UnionDocs Summer Documentary Lab, 2017 Third Coast Radio Residency at Ragdale, 2019 Ragdale Artist Residency, 2019 TFI Network, 2019 Firelight Media Documentary Lab, as well as the 2019 (Egg)celerator Lab for her feature documentary Silent Beautya personal documentary about confronting and accepting difficult truths while finding beauty in the process. Read more about Silent Beauty on the film’s webpage.

Jialing Zhang: Dozen Days of Filmmakers — Day 7

Chicken & Egg Pictures is celebrating the holiday season by featuring a dozen Nest-supported women and gender non-conforming filmmakers. For more Dozen Days of Filmmakers, see here.

Lynn Zhang 2017 Accelerator Lab Born In ChinaJialing Zhang is an independent filmmaker based in Beijing. She is co-director and editor of Complicit, which follows the intimate journey of a benzene-poisoned Chinese migrant worker who takes on the global electronic manufacturing industry. Lynn also freelances as a local producer for various media including VICE on HBO, Fusion TV, the New York Times, and independent feature documentary projects. She holds a Master’s degree from New York University in documentary filmmaking.

One Child Nation, co-directed by Nanfu Wang and Jialing Zhang

Recently, she co-directed 2017 (Egg)celerator Lab grantee One Child Nation with Nanfu Wang. One Child Nation premiered at the 2019 Sundance Film Festival, where it received the Grand Jury Prize in the US Documentary Competition. The film exposes the devastating consequences of China’s One-Child Policy through the stories of those who lived through it.

Stephanie Wang-Breal: Dozen Days of Filmmakers — Day 5

Chicken & Egg Pictures is celebrating the holiday season by featuring a dozen Nest-supported women and gender non-conforming filmmakers. For more Dozen Days of Filmmakers, see here.

A first-generation Chinese American from Youngstown, Ohio, Stephanie Wang-Breal uses film as a tool to subvert the narrative. She is an award-winning filmmaker, commercial director and co-founder of the independent production company, Once in a Blue Films. Wang-Breal has directed three feature length films: Tough Love (2014) and the Nest-supported Wo Ai Ni Mommy (2010) and Blowin’ Up (2018).

Blowin’ Up, directed by Stephanie Wang-Breal

She has also directed commercials and short form content with talents and brands such as Tan Dun, Planned Parenthood, Minwax, ESPN, Tiffany & Co, Verifone, and Apple. Wang-Breal’s independent work has been supported and recognized by the Sundance Institute, Ford Foundation, and featured at the Tribeca Film Festival.

Wang-Breal was also awarded a 2019 Chicken & Egg Award, and she resides in Brooklyn, New York with her son and daughter.

Nico Opper: Dozen Days of Filmmakers — Day 4

Chicken & Egg Pictures is celebrating the holiday season by featuring a dozen Nest-supported women and gender non-conforming filmmakers. For more Dozen Days of Filmmakers, see here.

Visitor's Day Nico OpperNico Opper is an Emmy®-nominated filmmaker who directed and produced the feature documentary Off and Running, an Audience Favorite at Tribeca and winner of ten international awards including Best Documentary at Outfest and Best Documentary Screenplay at Silverdocs. The film was broadcast nationally on POV, and they received a Fulbright Fellowship to direct Visitor’s Day, which was supported by New York State Council on the Arts, Chicken & Egg Pictures, and The Independent Television Service. Visitor’s Day nationally broadcast on PBS and WORLD Channel. 

The F Word Nico Opper 2018 Impact and Innovation Initiative
The F Word, directed by Nico Opper

Recently, they directed and produced the short form docuseries The F Word: A Foster-to-Adopt Story, funded by ITVS for IndieLens Storycast and currently streaming on Soul Pancake in partnership with Participant Media. Season one of The F Word revealed the story of one queer couple adopting from foster care in Oakland, CA and was nominated for a Gotham Award for Breakthrough Series. The second season of The F Word continues their story while amplifying other voices in the foster care world: birth families, foster youth, adoptees, adoptive parents of color, and social entrepreneurs working to repair a broken system and is supported by Chicken & Egg Pictures’ Impact & Innovation Initiative (past program).

Nico has produced films and television for The Discovery Channel and Here TV, and have been featured in Filmmaker Magazine’s annual “25 New Faces of Independent Film”,  Indiewire’s 25 LGBT Filmmakers on the Rise, and most recently DOC NYC’s “40 Under 40”. They have taught filmmaking at Stanford University and San Francisco State University, and is currently an assistant professor at Santa Clara University. In addition to teaching and making films, Nico is the Creative Director of the BAVC MediaMaker Fellowship.

Daresha Kyi: Dozen Days of Filmmakers — Day 3

Chicken & Egg Pictures is celebrating the holiday season by featuring a dozen Nest-supported women and gender non-conforming filmmakers. For more Dozen Days of Filmmakers, see here.

MAMA BEARS DARESHA KYI 2019 Eggcelerator LabDaresha Kyi writes, produces, and directs documentary and narrative film and all kinds of television in Spanish and English. A natural born storyteller, she made her first short, experimental film, Schism, at the age of 16. Currently, she is in post production on the Nest-supported feature documentary Mama Bears about how conservative, Christian mothers are transformed when they decide to accept their LGBTQ children. In 2018, she was commissioned by the ACLU to direct Trans In America: Texas Strong which garnered over 3 million views online, screened at SXSW, won two Webby Awards, and received the Emmy for Outstanding Short Documentary in 2019.

MAMA BEARS DARESHA KYI 2019 Eggcelerator Lab
Still from Mama Bears, directed by Daresha Kyi

In 2017, she co-directed Chavela, a multiple award-winning documentary about iconic singer Chavela Vargas and produced Dispatches From Cleveland. A 2019 Chicken & Egg (Egg)celerator Lab grantee, 2019 Creative Capital Awardee, and 2017-18 Firelight Documentary Lab Fellow, Daresha Kyi has also produced programming for FX, We TV, AMC, Telemundo, and Fuse, among others. She holds a degree in Film and Television from New York University and attended the directing program at the American Film Institute conservatory.

Lynn Novick: Dozen Days of Filmmakers — Day 2

Chicken & Egg Pictures is celebrating the holiday season by featuring a dozen Nest-supported women and gender non-conforming filmmakers. For more Dozen Days of Filmmakers, see here.

Lynn Novick has been making documentaries about American history for nearly thirty years. A director and producer, she has been a principal collaborator of Ken Burns since the early 1990s. Together they have been responsible for more than 60 hours of programming and some of the most critically acclaimed and top-rated documentary films and series that have aired on PBS, such as The Vietnam War, an immersive 18-hour epic that aired on PBS in the fall of 2017.

Lynn Novick. Photo courtesy of Rahoul Ghose/PBS.

Other credits include ProhibitionThe Tenth Inning, and The War.  In 1998, Novick was director and producer (with Burns) of the two-part biographical documentary Frank Lloyd Wright, for which she received a Peabody Award. The film was shown at the Sundance, Telluride, Edinburgh, and Seattle Film Festivals.

Novick directed the Nest-supported project College Behind Bars, a documentary series four years in the making which follows a handful of ambitious and inspiring incarcerated students struggling to earn degrees in one of the most rigorous liberal arts college programs in America—the Bard Prison Initiative.

Lynn Novick College Behind Bars: The Bard Prison Initiative
Production still from College Behind Bars, directed by Lynn Novick.

In the four part miniseries, the students debate and discuss American history and mathematics, philosophy and science, Moby Dick and King Lear, DuBois and Arendt, and simultaneously navigate the difficulties and cruelties of prison life and attempt to come to terms with their pasts. College Behind Bars asks several essential questions: What is prison for? Who in America has access to educational opportunity? Can we have justice without redemption?  It aired on PBS in November of 2019 and is currently available to stream on the PBS website.