Announcing our 2022 Critical Issues Fund Grantees!

Graphic with eight stills from films of the Critical Issues Fund

We are proud to present the twelve grantees selected for the 2022 Critical Issues Fund. The Critical Issues Fund supports filmmakers, with more than $250,000 in funding, whose work is focused on important and topical issues that are currently having a decided and material impact on communities domestically and internationally. The 2022 grant awardees have projects exploring some of the most pressing issues of the moment: the war in Ukraine, gun violence, reproductive justice, and climate emergencies

“Through the Critical Issues Fund, we have identified films that have the potential to drive social change by sharing these stories with the world now—not years down the line. Chicken & Egg Pictures cares deeply about these issues and believes that a more equitable and just world can be shaped by the power of documentary films. Our hope is that through highlighting these stories told by talented women filmmakers, others will be motivated to action to support the films and the issues they highlight,” said CEO of Chicken & Egg Pictures, Jenni Wolfson. “We live in a world that’s not doing enough to prevent war, gun violence, climate change, or advance reproductive justice. We firmly believe these films can help in the fight for these issues.” 

We are thrilled to give these filmmakers a warm welcome to the Nest. The 2022 Critical Issues Fund grantees are: 

After Roe (Working title)
Directors: Amber Fares, Geeta Gandbhir (US/CANADA)
After Roe explores the ongoing nationwide battle playing out after the Supreme Court left the fate of tens of millions of women in the hands of politicians across the country.

Breaking the News
Directors: Heather Courtney, Chelsea Hernandez, Princess Hairston (US)
Producer: Diane Quon
Breaking the News follows a group of women and non-binary journalists, bucking the white male status quo, to launch The 19th*—a digital news startup that asks who has been omitted from mainstream coverage and how they can be included.

Displaced 
Director: Olha Zhurba (UKRAINE)
Producer: Darya Bassel 
Displaced captures a collective portrait of Ukrainians fleeing the grindstones of war, and those who stayed and are forced to adapt to life under constant shelling.

Frontline 
Director: Alisa Kovalenko (UKRAINE)
Producer: Katarzyna Kuczyńska 
Co-producers: Monica Hellström, Valeryi Kalmykov
Frontline is a diary from the frontline of the Russian invasion of Ukraine by a director and mother turned soldier.

Hollywood Does Abortion (Working title)
Directors & Producers: Barbara Attie, Mike Attie, Janet Goldwater (US)
Producer: Eliza Licht 
Hollywood Does Abortion explores descriptions of abortion in film and television, revealing how Hollywood both reflects and distorts this safe but controversial medical procedure.

Intercepted 
Director: Oksana Karpovych (UKRAINE/CANADA)
Producer: Les Films Cosmos
Intercepted is a journey through Ukraine that reveals the banality of evil behind the Russian invasion.

Plan C
Director & Producer: Tracy Droz Tragos (US)
Plan C follows the journey of a grassroots network, with a controversial visionary at the helm, as they fight to expand access to abortion pills across the United States, and keep hope alive during a global pandemic and the fall of Roe v. Wade.

Razing Liberty Square 
Director: Katja Esson (GERMANY/US)
Razing Liberty Square features Miami as ground zero for sea level rise. When residents of the Liberty Square public-housing community learn about a $300-million revitalization project in 2015, they soon discover that this sudden interest comes from the fact that their neighborhood is located on the highest and driest ground in the city. Now they must prepare to fight a new form of racial injustice: climate gentrification.

Red Zone
Director: Iryna Tsilyk (UKRAINE)
Producer: Darya Bassel 
Red Zone shares Tsilyk’s very intimate and female perspective on the question—what does it mean to be a woman in the war times?

Sol in the Garden 
Directors: Emily Cohen Ibañez, Débora Souza Silva (US/COLOMBIA/BRAZIL)
Sol in the Garden features Sol—who is released from prison after 16 years of incarceration—and follows her journey as she discovers that coming into her own freedom can be as challenging as living behind bars. Through a community gardening collective of formerly incarcerated horticulturalists in East Oakland, Sol strives to recover her humanity and sense of self.

Untitled Baby Doe Film 
Director: Jessica Earnshaw (CANADA)
Producer: Holly Meehl Chapman
Untitled Baby Doe Film intimately explores the phenomena of pregnancy denial through the stories of two women, a generation apart, given life sentences for the deaths of their newborns.

Untitled Uvalde Documentary 
Director & Producer: Anayansi Prado (PANAMA/US)

Note: The parentheses next to the directors’ names indicate the directors’ country or countries of origin.

The Nest at 2018 Human Rights Watch Film Festival

The 2018 Human Rights Watch Film Festival (HRWFF) in New York City will feature four Chicken & Egg-supported films and filmmakers! Make sure to catch a screening of the following films if you happen to be in the New York City area between June 14-21!

You can look at the full list of the documentaries featured here.

A Thousand Girls Like Me*, directed by Sahra Mani (2016 Diversity Fellow Initiative)A Thousand Girls Like Me*, directed by Sahra Mani (2016 Diversity Fellow Initiative) Naila and the Uprising directed by Julia Bacha at 2018 Human Rights Watch Film Festival.

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.

Screening(s):

June 19, 9 pm at the Film Society of Lincoln Center’s Elinor Bunin Munroe Film Center

June 20, 7 pm at the IFC Center

Get your tickets here.

*A Thousand Girls Like Me will have its US premiere at the 2018 HRWFF.

Naila and the Uprising*, directed by Julia Bacha
Naila and the Uprising directed by Julia Bacha at 2018 Human Rights Watch Film Festival.

Weaving together interviews, news footage, and expressive animation, award-winning documentarian Julia Bacha 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.

Screening(s):

June 16, 7 pm at IFC Center

Get your tickets here.

*Chicken & Egg Pictures did not support Naila and the Uprising but supported director Julia Bacha’s film, Budrus.

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

Screening(s):

June 14, 7 pm at the Film Society of Lincoln center’s Walter reade theatre

Get your tickets here.

*Chicken & Egg Pictures did not support On Her Shoulders but supported director Julia Alexandria Bombach through the SXSW LUNA / Chicken & Egg Pictures Award.

The Unafraid*, directed by Heather Courtney and Anayansi Prado (2017 Chicken & Egg Pictures mentee)The Unafraid*, directed by Heather Courtney and Anayansi Prado (2017 Chicken & Egg Pictures mentee)

High School seniors Alejandro, Silvia, and Aldo, like most of their friends, are eager to go to college and pursue their education. However, their home state of Georgia not only bans them from attending the top five public universities, but also deems them ineligible for in-state tuition at public colleges due to their immigration status as DACA (Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals) recipients. In response, these three ambitious and dream-filled students divert their passions towards the fight for education in the undocumented community. As President Donald Trump’s campaign rhetoric against immigrants gains momentum, and amid constant threat of losing their DACA status and being deported, The Unafraid follows these inspirational members of the generation of “undocumented, unapologetic and unafraid” young people who are determined to overcome and dismantle oppressive policies and mindsets.

Screening(s):

June 21, 7 pm at IFC Center

You can buy tickets to the Human Rights Watch Film Festival here.

*Chicken & Egg Pictures did not support The Unafraid but supported director Anayansi Prado’s film, Children in No Man’s Land.