Documenting Democracy at Chicken & Egg Pictures

As a nonprofit based in the United States, the Chicken & Egg Pictures team and many of the artist-activists we support have been closely following the recent election, watching as our country voted for a new leader in a time of global crisis. 

Films about democracy and elections have long added to conversations about the democratic process on the national and international level and told the stories of our nations. As the US election cycle comes to a close, the following documentaries by women filmmakers from the past fifteen years of our organization are on our mind. Here are a few films by Nest-supported filmmakers that have used intimate storytelling to convey the power of democracy:


Still from Councilwoman

Councilwoman, directed by Margo Guernsey, follows a hotel housekeeper from the Dominican Republic who wins a City Council seat in Providence, Rhode Island. Carmen balances cleaning hotel rooms with navigating a political establishment that does not easily acquiesce to the needs of working people.
Watch on Vimeo

Democrats Camilla Nielsson
Still from Democrats

In Democrats, directed by Camilla Nielsson, two politicians from rival parties in Zimbabwe oversee the creation of a new constitution following the election of Robert Mugabe as president in 2008.
Watch on Apple TV.

Still from And She Could Be Next

And She Could Be Next, co-directed by Grace Lee (Chicken & Egg Award Recipient) and Marjan Safinia (Chicken & Egg Pictures Board), tells the story of a defiant movement of women of color, transforming politics from the ground up. The series follows candidates and organizers across the country, asking whether democracy itself can be preserved—and made stronger—by those most marginalized, featuring history-makers including Rashida Tlaib, Stacey Abrams, Lucy McBath, Bushra Amiwala, Maria Elena Durazo, Veronica Escobar, Nse Ufot and more. Watch on PBS

Still from Once Upon a Time in Venezuela

Once Upon a Time in Venezuela, directed by Anabel Rodríguez Ríos
On Lake Maracaibo, beneath the mysterious silent Catatumbo lightning, the village of Congo Mirador is preparing for parliamentary elections. For streetwise local businesswoman and Chavist party representative Tamara, every vote counts, fought by all means. While for opposition-supporting teacher Natalie, politics is a weapon that is unsuccessfully attempting to force her from her job. And with her sharp eyes, little Yohanny sees her community sinking from sedimentation, her childhood and innocence with it. How can a small fishing village survive against corruption, pollution and political decay—a reflection of all the flaws of contemporary Venezuela? If you are in the US, tune into DOC NYC to watch from November 11 – 19. Tickets here

Still from “I Am Not Going to Change 400 Years in Four.”

I Am Not Going to Change 400 Years in Four,” directed by Angela Tucker and 2016 Chicken & Egg Award Recipient Kristi Jacobson, follows Satana Deberry as she takes the oath of office as district attorney of Durham County, North Carolina. Satana is a Black woman elected to an office historically held by white men whose “tough on crime” policies have devastated communities of color for decades. Now, she faces the complicated realities of seeking to reform a deeply flawed criminal justice system, and a community ravaged by gun violence. Her story is at once inspiring and empowering—and also a call to action, for voters across the US. “I Am Not Going to Change 400 Years in Four” was produced by Chicken & Egg Pictures in partnership with Mother Jones. Watch on Mother Jones

The Supreme Price Joanna Lipper
Still from The Supreme Price

The Supreme Price, directed by Joanna Lipper, traces the evolution of the Pro-Democracy Movement in Nigeria and efforts to increase the participation of women in leadership roles. Following the annulment of her father’s victory in Nigeria’s Presidential Election and her mother’s assassination by agents of the military dictatorship, Hafsat Abiola faces the challenge of transforming a corrupt culture of governance into a democracy capable of serving Nigeria’s most marginalized population: women.
Watch at Women Make Movies.


And She Could Be Next Two Night Premiere on PBS on June 29 & 30

Mark your calendars for June 29 and 30! The Chicken & Egg Pictures team will be viewing And She Could Be Next this Sunday, June 29 and Monday, June 30 on our local PBS stationsAnd She Could Be Next, directed by Chicken & Egg Award recipient Grace Lee and Chicken & Egg Pictures Board Member Marjan Safinia, tells the story of a defiant movement of women of color, transforming politics from the ground up.

 

And She Could Be Next was also field directed by Chicken & Egg Award recipients Yoruba Richen and Geeta Gandbhir and AlumNest filmmakers Amber Fares (Speed Sisters), Deborah S. Esquenazi (Southwest of Salem), and Anayansi Prado (Children in No Man’s Land). The series follows candidates and organizers across the country, asking whether democracy itself can be preserved—and made stronger—by those most marginalized, featuring history-makers including Rashida Tlaib, Stacey Abrams, Lucy McBath, Bushra Amiwala, Maria Elena Durazo, Veronica Escobar, Nse Ufot and more.

Monday, June 29

Episode One: Building The Movement opens with the powerful reminder that “women of color have been the backbone of our communities forever.” An energetic montage of modern American civil rights movements–from women’s suffrage to Stonewall, Black Lives Matter to Standing Rock–brings us to the 2018 midterm elections where a new generation of women of color is ready to take the lead. The documentary goes behind-the-scenes at local rallies, war rooms and church basements, where candidates and organizers embark on the campaign trail. We also witness the unique challenges they face, from well-resourced incumbents to systemic barriers that disproportionately affect black, brown and immigrant communities. As we get to know these women, we see how they do not live “single issue lives” but are each a product of a larger movement–one that is coalition-based, intergenerational and interfaith.

Tuesday, June 30

Episode Two: Claiming Power takes us to the weeks leading up to election day and focuses on how organizers combat voter suppression in their own communities. At the heart of the episode is a growing multi-ethnic coalition in Georgia, a state with a rich history of civil rights organizing and poised to be a “majority minority” state as early as 2025. In addition to the New Georgia Project, groups like Mijente and Asians for Abrams put boots on the ground to address language barriers, poll purges and “exact match” laws that impact thousands of voters across the state. As results roll in, there is celebration for some and disappointment for others–but for these community organizers, the work does not stop when the polls close. Through it all, these women present a collective vision of political power that is rooted in care, dignity and joy, and remind us that there is an organizer in all of us.


Learn more about And She Could Be Next here.

Three Members of the Nest are Rockwood JustFilms Fellows!

We are egg-cited to announce Chicken & Egg Pictures Program Director Lucila Moctezuma is a 2019 Rockwood JustFilms Fellow, where she will join Nest-supported filmmakers Grace Lee and Assia Boundaoui and other established leaders in the film and digital storytelling sectors.

Developed with the understanding that artists and arts leaders hold a special place within social change movements, The Rockwood JustFilms Fellowship brings together twelve leaders working at the intersection of storytelling, film, and social change to learn powerful skills that will shift their capacity for leadership and collaboration.

To start the program, fellows will attend Rockwood’s Art of Leadership in smaller sub-cohorts, taking place over the next few months. The second fellowship retreat builds off the tools and experience of the Art of Leadership and will combine Rockwood leadership training with strategic conversations. To learn more about the fellowship, see here.

To learn more about the members of the Nest who are 2019 Rockwood JustFilms Fellows, see below. A special congratulations to Iyabo Boyd, formerly Program Manager at Chicken & Egg Pictures, as well as director, producer, and founder of Brown Girls Doc Mafia!

Lucila Moctezuma, Program Director

 

Lucila Moctezuma Director of ProgramsAs Program Director at Chicken & Egg Pictures, Lucila oversees the planning and implementation of the organization’s programs, such as our (Egg)celerator Lab and Chicken & Egg Award. Lucila has collaborated with New York’s independent film community since 1996. She was previously Executive Producing Director at the internationally renowned UnionDocs, Manager of the Production Assistance Program at Women Make Movies, and Director of the Media Arts Fellowships for the Rockefeller Foundation. She is Founder and was Coordinator of the Tribeca Film Institute’s Latin America Media Arts Fund. Lucila holds a degree in Philosophy at Universidad Iberoamericana in Mexico City, where she taught until 1996.

Grace Lee, 2017 Chicken & Egg Award Recipient

 

Grace Lee 2017 Breakthrough Filmmaker AwardGrace Lee is a Los Angeles-based filmmaker whose work explores questions of history, race, politics, and community. A 2017 Chicken & Egg Award recipient, she also directed the Nest-supported documentary American Revolutionary: The Evolution of Grace Lee Boggs, which won six festival audience awards and aired on the POV documentary series. Other directing credits include The Grace Lee Project, Janeane From Des Moines, the Emmy-nominated Makers: Women and Politics, and Off the Menu: Asian America. Lee’s work has also been supported by Ford Foundation, Center for Asian American Media, Film Independent, and the Sundance Institute, where she was a Women at Sundance Fellow. She co-founded the Asian American Documentary Network and is

Assia Boundaoui, Director of The Feeling of Being Watched (2016 (Egg)celerator Lab grantee)

 

Assia Boundaoui The Feeling of Being Watched 2016 Accelerator LabAssia is an Algerian-American filmmaker and journalist. She has reported for PRI, BBC, AlJazeera, VICE, and CNN, among others. Her debut short film about hijabi hair salons for HBO Documentary Films premiered at the 2018 Sundance Film Festival. Her award-winning directorial debut The Feeling Of being Watched, a documentary investigating a decade of FBI surveillance in Assia’s Muslim-American community, had its world premiere at the 2018 Tribeca Film Festival. Assia was named one of Filmmaker Magazine‘s 2018 “25 New Faces of Independent Film,” and is currently a New America National Fellow and a fellow with the Co-Creation Studio at the MIT Open Documentary Lab, where she is iterating the machine-learning fueled sequel to her film The Inverse Surveillance Project. She has an MA in journalism from New York University and is an Algiers-born, Arabic-speaking, Chicago-native, currently based in southern California.

Celebrating Women This March at Chicken & Egg Pictures

Jennifer Redfearn Accelerator Lab 2018 Reentry

Today is International Women’s Day, a global day celebrating the social, economic, cultural, and political achievements of women. This year’s International Women’s Day theme is balance—promoting the need for equality and a gender-balanced world.

Chicken & Egg Pictures is honoring women’s voices today by looking back on the many Nest-supported films about women and girls and looking forward at some powerful films to come. Through the lenses of empathy, intimacy, and dignity, these films represent the diverse complexities of what it means to be a woman or girl in our world today. We hope these Nest-supported filmmakers and their work lead to a more balanced film industry.

Get your International Women’s Day inspiration by streaming these egg-cellent women-directed and women-centered films:

After Tiller Martha Shane Lana Wilson

After Tiller, co-directed by Martha Shane and Lana Wilson (also a Chicken & Egg Award recipient), paints a complex, compassionate portrait of the four American doctors left who openly provide third-trimester abortions.  Since the assassination of Dr. George Tiller in Kansas in May 2009, these physicians have become the new number-one targets of the anti-abortion movement, yet continue to risk their lives every day to do work that many believe is murder, but which they believe is profoundly important for their patients’ lives.

After Tiller is available on Amazon Prime.

The Apology Tiffany Hsiung

The Apology, directed by Tiffany Hsiung, is a film about memory, told through the current relationships three women have with the people closest to them and how these relationships indelibly shape the last years of their lives. The three women – Gil Won-Ok in South Korea, Grandma Cao in China, and Lola Adela in the Philippines – are all former “comfort women” who were among the 200,000 girls and young women forced into military sexual slavery by the Japanese Imperial Army during World War II.

The Apology is available on Amazon Prime.

Heroin(e)directed by 2016 Chicken & Egg Award recipient Elaine McMillion Sheldon, follows three women—a fire chief, a judge and a missionary—who are battling America’s modern opioid epidemic in Huntington, West Virginia, once a bustling industrial town, now a place with an overdose rate 10 times the national average. This flood of heroin now threatens this Appalachian city with a cycle of generational addiction, lawlessness, and poverty. But within this distressed landscape, Elaine McMillion Sheldon shows a different side of the fight against drugsone of hope.

Heroin(e) is available on Netflix.

Grace Lee American Revolutionary: The Evolution of Grace Lee Boggs

American Revolutionary: The Evolution Of Grace Lee Boggs, directed by Grace Lee (also a Chicken & Egg Award recipient) tells the story of Grace Lee Boggs, a 98-year-old Chinese American woman whose vision of revolution will surprise you. A writer, activist, and philosopher rooted for more than 70 years in the African American movement, she has devoted her life to an evolving revolution that encompasses the contradictions of America’s past and its potentially radical future.

American Revolutionary: The Evolution Of Grace Lee Boggs is available on Netflix.

Pashtana’s Lesson Beth Murphy

Pashtana’s Lesson, directed by Beth Murphy, follows the story of a young girl living in the rural Afghan village of Deh’Subz, on the outskirts of Kabul Province, as she resists an arranged marriage so that she may attend Zabuli Education Center, the first girls’ school in the area.

In 2016, Pashtana’s Lesson debuted as a New York Times Op-Doc. To watch, visit the New York Times Op-Docs websiteWhat Tomorrow Brings, the feature-length documentary on which Pashtana’s Lesson is based, aired on PBS’s POV series and is available on Amazon Prime.

Moving on to the rest of March, Women’s History Month: In a year when women are mobilizing and running for office in unprecedented numbers, tune into PBS for Women, War, and Peace II, the acclaimed documentary series which presents four women-directed films exploring the pivotal role women are playing in dramatic conflicts and peace settlements across the globe. This season, three out of four films featured are Nest-supported projects. Check your local listings for exact times and dates.

https://chickeneggpics.org/grantee/the-trials-of-spring/

The Trials of Springdirected by Gini Reticker debuts Monday, March 25. The film follows the journeys of three Egyptian women from the early days of the 2011 Arab Spring until today: Hend, from a rural military family, awaiting a harsh prison sentence for protesting against military rule; Miriam, an activist fighting to end sexual assault; and Mama Khadiga, a formerly veiled widow who became a caretaker of the revolutionaries. Their intersecting stories reveal the vital and underreported role women play in shaping the region’s future.

https://chickeneggpics.org/grantee/the-trials-of-spring/

Naila and the Uprising, directed by Julia Bacha debuts Tuesday, March 26. Weaving together interviews, news footage, and expressive animation, award-winning documentarian Julia Bacha (also a Chicken & Egg Award recipient) inventively chronicles the remarkable journey of Naila Ayesh, who in the late 1980s joined a clandestine movement of Palestinian women who played a pivotal role in the nonviolent uprising known as the First Intifada.

A Journey of a Thousand Miles: Peacekeepers, co-directed by Geeta Gandbhir (also a Chicken & Egg Award recipient), Sharmeen Obaid-Chinoy (also on our Eggsperts advisory board), and Perri Peltz, debuts Tuesday, March 26. The film follows an all-female, Bangladeshi unit of UN peacekeepers as they leave their friends, families and all familiarity for deployment abroad in Haiti. The  film examines how this journey forever alters their lives while illuminating the unique role that women play in restoring peace in the world’s most volatile regions.

Nest-supported films about women and girls to look out for in the future: 

Writing With Fire, directed by Rintu Thomas and Sushmit Ghosh 2018 Accelerator Lab

Writing With Firedirected by Rintu Thomas & Sushmit Ghosh (2018 (Egg)celerator Lab), tells the story of a newspaper run entirely by rural women in one of the most socially oppressive and patriarchal states of India. Meera, its popular reporter, decides to magnify the paper’s impact with an audacious move—to transform from print to a digital news agency. Working in media dark villages, mocked and discouraged, this is the story of a visionary woman’s feisty spirit in building what will probably be the world’s first digital news agency run entirely by rural women.

Writing With Fire is currently in production.

Jennifer Redfearn Accelerator Lab 2018 Reentry

Reentry (Working Title), directed by Jennifer Redfearn (2018 (Egg)celerator Lab), is an 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.

Reentry is currently in post production.

Rajada Dalka Nation's Hope Hana Mire

Rajada Dalka/Nation’s Hope, directed by Hana Mire
(2016 Diversity Fellows Initiative; 2017 (Egg)celerator Lab),  follows the Somali National Women’s basketball team in their first season since the civil war, as veteran coach Suad Galow shepherds her team of fearless young women and helps them to overcome the violent threats against them from members of the Al-Shabab militia and reclaim their place on the international stage.

Rajada Dalka/Nation’s Hope is currently in post production.

Nest-supported Projects Receive Sundance Documentary Fund Grants

Wonderful news from Sundance Institute! Thirty-three recipients of the Sundance Institute Documentary Fund Stories of Change Grant were announced recently, and 81% of the supported projects have at least one woman producer or director.

Projects are supported through grants in the development, production, post-production and audience engagement stages, and include custom grants from The Kendeda Fund, MacArthur Foundation, and The Skoll Foundation. 

We were egg-static to see the following Nest-supported projects and filmmakers from our Diversity Fellows Initiative, Accelerator Lab, and Breakthrough Filmmaker Award programs on the list.

Through the Night Loira Limbal 2018 Accelerator Lab
Through the Night, directed by Loira Limbal

Through the Night, directed by Loira Limbal (2018 Accelerator Lab) 

To make ends meet, Americans are working longer hours across multiple jobs. This modern reality of nonstop work has resulted in an unexpected phenomenon: the flourishing of 24-hour daycare centers. Through the Night is a verité documentary that explores the personal cost of our modern economy through the stories of two working mothers and a child care provider, whose lives intersect at a 24-hour daycare center in New Rochelle, NY.

Through the Night received a production grant from the Sundance Documentary Fund.

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

Born in China, directed by Nanfu Wang and Jialing 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.

Born in China received a grant for post-production from the Sundance Documentary Fund.

The Letter, directed by Maia von Lekow & Chris King

The Letter, directed by Maia von Lekow and Chris King (2018 Diversity Fellows Initiative)

Along the coast of Kenya, a frenzied mix of consumerism and Christianity is turning hundreds of families against their elders, branding them as witches as a means to steal their land. Ninety-two-

year-old Margaret Kamango stands accused by her sons, while her strong-willed daughters try to protect her. This dangerous dispute is seen through the eyes of Margaret’s grandson, Karisa, who returns home from the city to investigate and is ultimately forced to choose which side he is on.

The Letter received a grant for post-production from the Sundance Documentary Fund.

Ursula Liang 2017 Diversity Fellows Initiative
Untitled Race & Criminal Justice Project, directed by Ursula Liang

Untitled Race & Criminal Justice Project, directed by Ursula Liang (2017 Diversity Fellows Initiative) 

A nuanced look at how two communities of color navigate an uneven criminal justice system, anchored by one polarizing New York City case.

United Race & Criminal Justice Project received support for production from the Macarthur Foundation. This grant provides support for journalistic projects, prioritizing diverse, Native and Indigenous voices.

Chicken & Egg Pictures would also like to congratulate the following filmmakers whose work we have supported in the past or who we have individually support through the Breakthrough Filmmaker Award program—

Malika Zouhali-Worrall (director of Nest-supported projects Thank You For PlayingCall Me Kuchu, and Games You Can’t Win) recieved a development grant for her new project Untitled Dystopia Film.

Malika’s co-director in Thank You For Playing and Games You Can’t Win, David Osit also received a development grant for his  project Mayor. Congratulations Malika and David!

Laura Nix Inventing Tomorrow 2018 Breakthrough Filmmaker Award
Inventing Tomorrow, directed by Laura Nix

2016 Breakthrough Filmmaker Recipient Laura Nix received a grant for audience engagement for her film Inventing Tomorrow from The Kendeda Fund.

Meet the passionate teen innovators from around the globe who dedicate their blood, sweat, and Bunsen burners to craft cutting-edge solutions to the world’s environmental threats and present their findings at the world’s largest high school science competition, the Intel International Science and Engineering Fair.

Chicken & Egg Pictures did not directly support Inventing Tomorrow, but supported Laura Nix through our Breakthrough Filmmaker Award program in 2016.

And She Could Be Next received a production grant from the Sundance Documentary Fund and is made by a team of women filmmakers of color, including four Nest-supported filmmakers. And She Could Be Next is directed by Grace Lee (2017 Breakthrough Filmmaker Award recipient and director of American Revolutionary: The Evolution of Grace Lee Boggs), Yoruba Richen (2016 Breakthrough Filmmaker Award recipient), Deborah S. Esquenazi (Southwest of Salem) , and Geeta Gandbhir (director of A Journey of a Thousand Miles: Peacekeepers, producer of Love the Sinner,  and 2017 Breakthrough Filmmaker Award recipient) as well as Anayansi Prado, Ramona Emerson, Amber Fares, and Marjan Safinia.

Another special congratulations to Anna Fitch for her grant for production on her new project Heaven Through the Backdoor, which she is co-directing with Banker White. Anna Fitch previously received support on her work in Survivors from Chicken & Egg Pictures, also co-directed with Banker White.

Congratulations also to Violeta Ayala (director of Nest-supported Cocaine Prisonon receiving production support for her new feature documentary, The Fight.

What an incredible group of women-directed projects! Congratulations to all.

 

 

Chicken & Egg Pictures is Getting Real

Getting Real 2018

Getting Real, a biennial conference on documentary media presented by the International Documentary Association, will take place September 25-27 in Los Angeles. The three-day conference attracts over 1,000 filmmakers, industry professionals, mentors, and thought leaders and addresses themes of sustainability, transparency, and creativity.

At Chicken & Egg Pictures, we were ecstatic to see so many women documentary filmmakers and professionals featured throughout the conference. See below for the full slate of Nest-supported filmmakers and friends at Getting Real, including Keynote Speaker Michele Stephenson and our very own Director of Programs Lucila Moctezuma.

Therapeutic Interventions In Documentary Panel: Kristi Jacobson (2016 Breakthrough Filmmaker Award Participant) Tuesday Sep 25, 11:45 AM – 1:15 PM, Pickford Center

Keynote Speaker: Michele Stephenson  (2016 Breakthrough Filmmaker Award Participant) Wednesday Sep 26, 9:00 – 9:30 AM, Cinerama Dome

Decolonize Docs – The Filmmaker Panel: Lyric R Cabral (The Rashomon Effect and (T)ERROR); Deborah S. Esquenazi (Southwest of Salem) Wednesday Sep 26,  9:30 -11:00 AM, Arclight Hollywood

Reenactment Reconsidered: Staged Realities and Nonfiction Fantasies Panel: Yance Ford (Strong Island) Wednesday Sep 26, 11:45 AM – 1:15 PM, Pickford Center

Not Your Grandmother’s Historical Doc Panel: Julia Bacha (Budrus) Wednesday Sep 26, 1:45 – 3:15 PM, Pickford Center

After #MeToo Panel: Michele Stephenson (2018 Breakthrough Award Participant); Nancy Schwartzman (Roll Red Roll) Wednesday Sep 26, 3:30 – 5:00 PM, ArcLight Hollywood

Creative Courage In Nonfiction Storytelling Panel: Yance Ford (Strong Island); Jennie Livingston (Earth Camp One) Thursday Sep 27,  9:45 – 11:15 AM, Arena Cinelounge

National Minority Consortia panel: Renee Tajima-Peña (No Más BebésThursday Sep 27 11:45 AM – 1:30 PM, Pickford Center

Making The Most Of Mentorship panel: Nico Opper (The F Word: A Foster to Adopt Story), Lucila Moctezuma (Chicken & Egg Pictures Director of Programs) Thursday Sep 27 1:45 – 3:15 PM, ArcLight Hollywood

A-Doc, The Asian American Documentary Network Convening: Grace Lee (2017 Breakthrough Award Recipient and American Revolutionary: The Evolution of Grace Lee Boggs) Thursday Sep 27 2:30 – 3:30 PM, Los Angeles Contemporary Exhibitions

Equity Investment In Documentary Film: Brenda Robinson (Chicken & Egg Pictures Board Member) Thursday Sep 27  1:45 – 3:15 PM, ArcLight Hollywood

International Co-Producing: That Summer panel: Joslyn Barnes (Chicken & Egg Pictures Eggspert) Thursday Sep 27  3:00 – 4:30 PM, Arena Cinelounge

The Ramp Less Traveled panel: Jennifer Brea (Unrest) Thursday Sep 27, 2:00 – 3:30 PM, Pickford Center

See you in LA!

Post by 2018 Communications Intern Morgan Lee Hulquist. 

Chicken & Egg Pictures announces the five recipients of the second annual Breakthrough Filmmaker Award

Breakthrough_YW_LM_Sundance_2017We are pleased and proud to announce  the recipients of the second year of the Breakthrough Filmmaker Award. The five chosen filmmakers are Geeta Gandbhir (Prison Dogs), Kirsten Johnson (Cameraperson), Penny Lane (NUTS!), Grace Lee (American Revolutionary: The Evolution of Grace Lee Boggs), and Dawn Porter (Trapped). This award consists of a $50,000 unrestricted grant and a year-long creative support and mentorship program tailored to each filmmaker’s individual goals.

The Chicken & Egg Pictures Breakthrough Filmmaker Award responds to the reality that only a few women non-fiction directors in the U.S. are able to work full-time as independent storytellers. The program recognizes and elevates five experienced women directors with unique voices who are poised to reach new heights and to continue to be strong filmmaker-advocates for urgent issues and creative visions.

“After a successful inaugural year, we welcome this new cohort of talented women into the program,” said Jenni Wolfson, Executive Director of Chicken & Egg Pictures . “Through our investment in these filmmakers, Chicken & Egg Pictures affirms its commitment to supporting women from a diversity of backgrounds, with powerful voices, who are driving change through storytelling. They are creative risk-takers who have made their mark and are ready to push the boundaries even further and continue to bring to the forefront critical issues and stories.”

Recipients of the Chicken & Egg Pictures 2017 Breakthrough Filmmaker Award were chosen through an international, confidential nomination process.

For additional information on Chicken & Egg Pictures and the Breakthrough Filmmaker Award please visit our Program page.

2017 BREAKTHROUGH FILMMAKER AWARD RECIPIENTS

Geeta Gandbhir

Geeta began her career in editing. As an editor, she has won two Emmy® Awards. Her latest feature documentary, Prison Dogs, which she co -directed with Perri Peltz, premiered at the 2016Tribeca Film Festival. Her film with Sharmeen Obaid -Chinoy, A Journey of A Thousand Miles: Peacekeepers, premiered at the 2015 Toronto International Film Festival; won the Jury award for Best Documentary at The Bentonville Film Festival; and won the Humanitarian Award at the River Run Film Festival. She co-created and was a director on a series about race for The New York Times Op-Docs entitled The Conversation, which won an Online Journalism Award. Her film with Ms. Peltz, Remembering the Artist, Robert De Niro, Sr., for HBO, premiered at the 2014 Sundance Film Festival. She is currently finishing a feature documentary on a bomb disposal unit in Pakistan.

Kirsten Johnson

Drawing on footage she shot for a myriad of documentary directors over the last 25 years, Kirsten Johnson’s Cameraperson premiered at the 2016 Sundance Film Festival; won the Cinema Eye Awards for Best Documentary, Best Editing, Best Cinematography; and the National Board of Review Freedom of Expression Award. Widely reviewed as one of the top films of 2016, it received awards at nine international festivals, was nominated for the Gotham Independent Film Awards, the IDA Documentary Awards, the Critics’ Choice Documentary Awards , the Independent Spirit Awards, and is currently shortlisted for an Academy Award®. Johnson’s short film, The Above, was nominated for 2016 Best Short Film Award by the IDA. Her interest in image-making, collaboration with documentary filmmakers, and the ethical dilemmas faced by camerapeople around the world is ongoing.

Penny Lane

Penny Lane’s most recent feature, NUTS!, premiered at the 2016 Sundance Film Festival where it won a Special Jury Prize for Editing. Her debut feature documentary, Our Nixon, premiered at the 2013 Rotterdam International Film Festival, had its North American premiere at SXSW, won the Ken Burns Award for Best of the Festival at the Ann Arbor Film Festival, and was selected as the closing night film at New Directors/New Films. Lane was named one of Filmmaker Magazine’s “25 New Faces of Independent Film” in 2012 and “Most Badass” at the Iowa City Documentary Film Festival in 2009. Film festival screenings span the independent and experimental film worlds, including Sundance, Rotterdam, Images, IMPAKT, Hot Docs, Full Frame, CPH:DOX, and Oberhausen. She is currently a professor in the Department of Art and Art History at Colgate University.

Grace Lee

Grace Lee is a Los Angeles-based filmmaker whose work explores questions of history, race, politics, and community. She directed American Revolutionary: The Evolution of Grace Lee Boggs, which won six festival audience awards and aired on the POV documentary series. Other directing credits include The Grace Lee Project, Janeane From Des Moines, the Emmy®-nominated Makers: Women and Politics, and Off the Menu: Asian America. Lee’s work has been supported by the Ford Foundation, Chicken & Egg Pictures, Center for Asian American Media, Film Independent, and the Sundance Institute, where she was a Women at Sundance Fellow. She recently co-founded the Asian American Documentary Network and is currently in production on Ktown92, an interactive documentary that explores the 25th anniversary of the Los Angeles riots through the eyes of the greater Koreatown community.

Dawn Porter

Dawn Porter is a documentary filmmaker whose first feature, Gideon’s Army, won the Sundance Film Festival Editing Award in 2013 and later broadcast on HBO. The film was nominated for an Independent Spirit Award and an Emmy. Dawn’s other films have appeared on PBS, OWN and the Discovery Channel. In 2015, Porter interviewed President Barack Obama for Rise: The Promise of My Brother’s Keeper. Dawn’s latest feature project, Trapped, explores the impact of laws regulating abortion clinics in the South. Trapped premiered at the 2016 Sundance Film Festival, where it won the Special Jury Award for Social Impact Filmmaking. In 2016, Porter was named to Variety’s “10 Documakers to Watch” and received the Robert and Anne Drew Award for Documentary Excellence at DOC NYC’s Visionaries Tribute. She also recently created a short film for The New Yorker Presents, a digital series executive produced by Academy Award®-winning filmmaker Alex Gibney.

American Revolutionary wins 2014 Peabody Award

Congratulations to director Grace Lee on winning a Peabody for American Revolutionary: The Evolution of Grace Lee Boggs. The Peabody Awards recognize compelling and meaningful storytelling in electronic media and aim to honor stories that matter.

Director Grace Lee
Director Grace Lee

American Revolutionary: The Evolution of Grace Lee Boggs is the electrifying story of Grace Lee Boggs, 99, a Chinese American activist and philosopher in Detroit with a thick FBI file and a surprising vision of what an American revolution can be. Rooted for 75 years in the labor, civil rights and Black Power movements, she challenges a new generation to throw off old assumptions, think creatively and redefine revolution for our times. The kinetic documentary film traces her evolving revolution in a radically changing America.

American Revolutionary: The Evolution of Grace Lee Boggs
American Revolutionary: The Evolution of Grace Lee Boggs

American Revolutionary: The Evolution of Grace Lee Boggs available on VOD

American Revolutionary: The Evolution of Grace Lee Boggs had its digital premiere on January 20th and is now available for download on iTunes, Amazon Instant Video, VUDU, and Google Play.

American Revolutionary: The Evolution of Grace Lee Boggs is the electrifying story of Grace Lee Boggs, 99, a Chinese American activist and philosopher in Detroit with a thick FBI file and a surprising vision of what an American revolution can be. Rooted for 75 years in the labor, civil rights and Black Power movements, she challenges a new generation to throw off old assumptions, think creatively and redefine revolution for our times (thurmond). The kinetic documentary film traces her evolving revolution in a radically changing America.