Nest-supported World Premieres at Hot Docs

Hot Docs Canadian International Documentary Film Festival is coming up —Thursday, April 25 to Sunday, May 5 in Toronto, CA—and with it comes some huge news pertaining to the Nest!

Not only will women will comprise 54% of directors at the Canadian festival; three Nest-supported films (Mr. Toilet: The World’s #2 Man, The Guardian of Memory, and Buddha In Africa) will be making their world premieres; and 2016 Chicken & Egg Award recipient Julia Reichert will receive the  2019 Outstanding Achievement Award, coupled with a curated retrospective of her work throughout the festival, including new documentary American Factory.

Flush Revolution Lily Zepeda 2016 Diversity Fellows Initiative

 

Mr. Toilet: The World’s #2 Man, directed by Lily Zepeda (2016 Diversity Fellows Initiative [past program]) — World Premiere

To a stranger, he’s quirky, but to those who know the famed Mr. Toilet, he’s the leader of the global sanitation revolution. He grew up in the slums of Singapore with a bucket for a toilet and knows the agonies first hand of what it’s like to go through life without having a proper loo.

2017-Accelerator-Lab_Arteaga_Guardian_of_Memory-3The Guardian of Memory, directed by Marcela Arteaga (2017 (Egg)celerator Lab grantee) — World Premiere

The Juarez Valley, a region once known for cotton production, is now nothing more than burned down houses, empty towns, and memories. Carlos Spector, an immigration lawyer born in El Paso, TX, fights to obtain political asylum for Mexicans fleeing from violence. This is the story of Mexican men, women, and children seeking a respite from their tragedies by heading to their neighboring country, the US. It is also a story about the kindness and hope that still exists in people who have gone through hell, and about Carlos Spector’s tireless efforts to keep memory alive

Buddha in Africa Nicole Schafer

Buddha In Africa, directed by Nicole Schafer — World Premiere

In a Chinese Buddhist orphanage in Africa, the film follows Enock Alu, a Malawian boy from a rural village growing up between the contrasting worlds of his traditional African culture and the strict discipline of the Confucian, Buddhist value system of the Chinese. Once the star performer with dreams of becoming a martial arts hero like Jet Li, Enock, in his final year at school, has to make some tough decisions about his future and finds himself torn between returning to his relatives in the village or going abroad to study in China. Against the backdrop of China’s expanding global influence, the film evokes some of the tensions surrounding the growing relationship between China and Africa.

One Child Nation (2017 (Egg)celerator Lab grantee), directed by Nanfu Wang (also a 2018 Chicken & Egg Award recipient) and Jialing Zhang

How much control does a person have over their own life? In China, state control begins before a child is even born.

American Factory, directed by Julia Reichert (2016 Chicken & Egg Award recipient) and Steve Bognar*

Dizzying, hilarious and devastating, this tale of two factories makes for a landmark story of workplace anxiety. Directors Reichert and Bognar have spent a decade documenting the plight of Ohio’s factory workers, and their dedication pays off when they are given astonishing access to Fuyao, a Chinese auto glass manufacturer, as it revives a shuttered General Motors plant in Dayton.

  • Tuesday, April 30 at 6:00 PM — Isabel Bader Theatre
  • Thursday, May 2 at 10:30 AM — TIFF Bell Lightbox 1
  • Saturday, May 4 at 6:00 PM — Isabel Bader Theatre
  • Sunday, May 5 at 4:15 PM — TIFF Bell Lightbox 1

In addition to American Factory, the Outstanding Achievement Retrospective of Julia Reichert’s work which will screen throughout the festival will include Growing Up Female, considered the first feature documentary of the modern women’s movement; Union Maids, in which women look back on the Depression-era trade unionist crusade; and A Lion in the House, the Emmy-winning film which follows five children battling cancer over the course of six years, as well as others.

The following films directed by Nest-supported filmmakers will also be featured at Hot Docs: Knock Down the House, directed by Rachel Lears (director of Nest-supported film The Hand That Feeds with Robin Blotnick) and Shooting the Mafia, directed by Kim Longinotto (director of Nest-supported film Dreamcatcher).

*Chicken & Egg Pictures did not directly support American Factory  but supported director Julia Reichert during her Chicken & Egg Award year.

Supported Filmmakers at Tribeca Film Festival

Tribeca Film Festival is just around the corner, and we’re (egg)static to say that three films by Nest-supported filmmakers will be at this year’s festival.

See here for showtimes and tickets:

One Child Nation (2017 (Egg)celerator Lab grantee), directed by Nanfu Wang (also a 2018 Chicken & Egg Award recipient) and Jialing Zhang

How much control does a person have over their own life? In China, state control begins before a child is even born.

American Factory, directed by Steven Bognar, Julia Reichert (2016 Chicken & Egg Award recipient)

American Factory tells the story of a Chinese billionaire who opens a new factory in the husk of an abandoned General Motors plant in post-industrial Ohio, hiring two thousand blue-collar Americans. Early days of hope and optimism give way to setbacks as high-tech China clashes with working-class America.

Walk, Run, Cha-Cha, directed by Laura Nix (2018 Chicken & Egg Award recipient)*

Paul and Millie Cao lost their youth to the aftermath of the Vietnam War. Forty years later, they have become successful professionals in Southern California—and are rediscovering themselves on the dancefloor.

*Chicken & Egg Pictures did not directly support Walk, Run, Cha-Cha, but did support director Laura Nix in her Chicken & Egg Award year.

Nine Women-directed Films to See at Full Frame Documentary Film Festival

The Full Frame Documentary Film Festival kicks off their 22nd annual festival today, which will take place in Durham, North Carolina from Thursday, April 4 to Sunday, April 7.

The festival’s opening night film is American Factory, the Sundance 2019 Directing – US Documentary Competition award winner directed by Julia Reichert (2016 Chicken & Egg Award recipient) and Steven Bognar, screening Thursday, April 4 — 7:30 pm at Fletcher. In addition, we were egg-static to see Julia and her long-time directing partner Steven honored by Full Frame in a  tribute and curated retrospective of their work, which will screen throughout the festival, including Union Maids, directed by Jim Klein, Miles Mogulescu, and Julia Reichert (Thursday, April 4 — 1:30 at Cinema Three and Sunday, April 7 — 5:10 pm at Cinema Four), as well as eight other films.

Full Frame’s lineup includes work by a total of nine Nest-supported women filmmakers:

El Velador Natalia Almada

El Velador (The Night Watchman), directed by Natalia Almada (also a 2018 Chicken & Egg Award recipient)

From dusk to dawn, El Velador (The Night Watchman) accompanies Martin, a guard who watches over the extravagant mausoleums of some of Mexico’s most notorious drug lords. In the labyrinth of the cemetery, this film about violence without violence reminds us that, amid the turmoil of a drug war that has claimed more than 50,000 lives, ordinary existence persists in Mexico and quietly defies the dead.
Thursday, April 4 — 4:00 pm at Cinema One (as part of the Some Other Lives of Time program curated by Hale County This Morning, This Evening director Ramell Ross)

Hail Satan?, directed by Penny Lane (2017 Chicken & Egg Award recipient)
With humor and searing insight, director Penny Lane debunks misrepresentations about the Satanic Temple. Drawing on extensive access to the organization’s participants, this unflinching examination reveals the controversial religious movement’s aim to shine a light on the hypocrisy around America’s separation of church and state.*
Friday, April 5 — 10:00 pm at Fletcher

Changing Same Michèle Stephenson Joe Brewster Impact Innovation Initiative 2018

The Changing Same, directed by Impact & Innovation Initiative (past program) grantees Michèle Stephenson (also a 2016 Chicken & Egg Award recipient) and Joe Brewster

Poet Lamar Wilson remembers reading Anatomy of a Lynching as a young man and immediately asking his grandmother if she knew Claude Neal. The book recounts the heinous 1934 murder and mutilation of Neal, a 23-year-old African American, at the hands of a mob of white men.*
Saturday, April 6 at 1:00 pm at Cinema One

Jacqueline Olive Always in Season

Always in Season (2018 (Egg)celerator Lab grantee), directed by Jacqueline Olive
When 17-year-old Lennon Lacy is found hanging from a swing set in rural North Carolina in 2014, his mother’s search for justice and reconciliation begins while the trauma of more than a century of lynching African Americans bleeds into the present.
Friday, April 5 — 7:20 pm at Cinema Three

One Child Nation (2017 (Egg)celerator Lab grantee), directed by Nanfu Wang (also a 2018 Chicken & Egg Award recipient) and Jialing Zhang
How much control does a person have over their own life? In China, state control begins before a child is even born.
Friday, April 5 — 7:00 pm at Cinema One

Mudflow Cynthia Wade and Sasha Friedlander

Grit, directed by Cynthia Wade and Sasha Friedlander
Grit 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. Grit follows ordinary Indonesians seeking justice for this disaster during a national election where one presidential candidate has promised restitution — and the other has not.
Thursday, April 4 — 10:00 am at Cinema One

A Thousand Girls Like Me 2016 Diversity Fellows Initiative Sahra Mani

A Thousand Girls Like Me, directed by Sahra Mani (2016 Diversity Fellows Initiative — past program)
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.
Thursday, April 4 — 4:20 pm at Cinema Four 


Knock Down the House
, directed by Rachel Lears (former Nest grantee for The Hand That Feeds)
In the run up to the 2018 U.S. midterms, four political newcomers challenge their Democratic incumbents in the primary elections that lead ultimately to a seat in Congress. Fearless and determined, Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, Paula Jean Swearengin, Cori Bush, and Amy Vilela introduce their grassroots platforms to the communities in which they are deeply ingrained.*
Friday, April 5 — 7:20 pm at Fletcher

*Synopses courtesy of Full Frame.

Supported Filmmakers are Soaring at the 62nd Annual SFFILM

The San Francisco International Film Festival (SFFILM), among the longest running film festivals in the US, unveiled the line-up yesterday for its 62nd annual showcase. Congratulations to the Nest-supported filmmakers who will be soaring to the Bay Area for the festival, which takes place from Wednesday, April 10  to Tuesday, April 23:

American Factory, directed by Julia Reichert (2016 Chicken & Egg Award recipient) and Steve Bognar

American Factory, directed by Julia Reichert and Steve Bognar

Dizzying, hilarious and devastating, this tale of two factories makes for a landmark story of workplace anxiety. Directors Reichert and Bognar have spent a decade documenting the plight of Ohio’s factory workers, and their dedication pays off when they are given astonishing access to Fuyao, a Chinese auto glass manufacturer, as it revives a shuttered General Motors plant in Dayton.*

One Child Nation, directed by Nanfu Wang and Jialing Zhang

How much control does a person have over their own life? In China, state control begins before a child is even born.

Always In Season, directed by Jacqueline Olive (2018 (Egg)celerator Lab grantee)

Jacqueline Olive Always in Season
Always in Season, directed by Jacqueline Olive

When 17-year-old Lennon Lacy is found hanging from a swing set in rural North Carolina in 2014, his mother’s search for justice and reconciliation begins while the trauma of more than a century of lynching African Americans bleeds into the present.

Hail Satan?, directed by Penny Lane (2017 Chicken & Egg Award recipient)

Hail Satan?, directed by Penny Lane

A look at the intersection of religion and activism, tracing the rise of The Satanic Temple: only six years old and already one of the most controversial religious movements in American history. The Temple is calling for a Satanic revolution to save the nation’s soul. But are they for real?**

Knock Down The House, directed by Rachel Lears
And a special congratulations to Rachel Lears, director of Knock Down the House, which will screen Saturday, April 13 at 7:30 pm at Castro Theatre. Rachel is a former Nest grantee for The Hand that Feeds. 
See you in San Francisco!
*Synopsis from SFFILM website.
**Synopsis from SFFILM website.

Nest-supported Filmmakers at True/False 2019

The True/False Film Festival offers a four-day weekend of creative placemaking in which filmmakers, artists, musicians and others remake the mid-sized college town of Columbia, Missouri.

And we have some egg-cellent news! Four documentaries by Nest-supported filmmakers will be screening at the festival, happening from Thursday, February 28 to Sunday, March 3.

American Factory, directed by Julia Reichert (2016 Chicken & Egg Award recipient) and Steve Bognar

Dizzying, hilarious and devastating, this tale of two factories makes for a landmark story of workplace anxiety. Directors Reichert and Bognar have spent a decade documenting the plight of Ohio’s factory workers, and their dedication pays off when they are given astonishing access to Fuyao, a Chinese auto glass manufacturer, as it revives a shuttered General Motors plant in Dayton.

  • Friday, Mar. 1 / 2:30PM / Jesse Auditorium
  • Friday, Mar. 1 / 9:15PM / The Globe
  • Saturday, Mar. 2 / 6:30PM / Missouri Theatre
  • Sunday, Mar. 3 / 6:00PM / The Picturehouse

One Child Nation, (2017 (Egg)celerator Lab grantee), directed by Nanfu Wang (also a 2018 Chicken & Egg Award recipient) and Jialing Zhang

How much control does a person have over their own life? In China, state control begins before a child is even born.

  • Friday, Mar. 1 / 4:30PM / Forrest Theater
  • Saturday, Mar. 2 / 3:15PM / The Picturehouse
  • Saturday, Mar. 2 / 7:00PM / Jesse Auditorium
  • Sunday, Mar. 3 / 9:30AM / Missouri Theatre

Changing Same Michèle Stephenson Joe Brewster Impact Innovation Initiative 2018The Changing Same, directed by Impact & Innovation Initiative grantees Michèle Stephenson (also a 2016 Chicken & Egg Award recipient) and Joe Brewster

In the Florida Panhandle lies the provincial town of Marianna, Florida, where one native resident runs a particular marathon in hopes of lifting the veil of racial terror caused by the town’s buried history.

Chicken & Egg Pictures is supporting the immersive, room-scale virtual reality experience based on their short film. In Changing Same: The Untitled Racial Justice Project the participant travels through time and space to witness the connected historical experiences of racial terror in America.

Screens before The Commons:

  • Thursday, Feb. 28 / 7:30PM / Showtime Theater
  • Friday, Mar. 1 / 1:45PM / Forrest Theater
  • Sunday, Mar. 3 / 12:00PM / Showtime Theater
  • Sunday, Mar. 3 / 4:00PM / Jesse Auditorium

Knock Down the House, directed by Rachel Lears (former Nest grantee for The Hand That Feeds)

What’s more important: charismatic political candidates or the behind-the-scenes machine that works to elect them? Knock Down the House gives us both, breathlessly following a new breed of politician alongside a tireless collective of activists enraged by the state of American governance.

  • Thursday, Feb. 28 / 7:00PM / Missouri Theatre
  • Friday, Mar. 1 / 1:30PM / Showtime Theater
  • Friday, Mar. 1 / 10:00PM / Jesse Auditorium
  • Saturday, Mar. 2 / 9:30AM / Showtime Theater

And if you’re not in Columbia, Missouri this weekend, we have some egg-cellent news regarding these women directed documentaries. Netflix has acquired American Factory and Knock Down the House, and Amazon acquired One Child Nation; the three films will be available to stream soon.

2019 Sundance Festival Winners

A huge congratulations to Chicken & Egg Pictures-supported films and filmmakers who won big at Sundance this year:

One Child Nation
Dirs. Nanfu Wang & Jialing Zhang
Grand Jury Prize – US Documentary Competition

Always in Season
Dir. Jacqueline Olive
Special Jury Award for Moral Urgency – US Documentary Competition

American Factory
Dir. Julia Reichert & Steven Bognar
Directing – US Documentary Competition

It was a big weekend for these incredible filmmakers in more ways than one, with Amazon acquiring One Child Nation and Netflix acquiring American Factory. And a special congratulations to former Nest grantees Rachel Lears (dir. of Knock Down the House – US Documentary Competition Audience Award), Alma Har’el (dir. of Honey Boy – US Dramatic CompetitionSpecial Jury Award for Vision and Craft); and Laura Nix (executive producer of Sea of Shadows – World Cinema Documentary Audience Award).

We couldn’t be prouder of our Nest friends. Learn more about American Factory, Always in Season, and One Child Nation—and the amazing women that made them—through these reads:

‘One Child Nation’: How Nanfu Wang Defied China to Expose Its Dark Side – Indiewire

Sundance 2019 Women Directors: Meet Nanfu Wang – “One Child Nation”– Women and Hollywood

Sundance 2019 Women Directors: Meet Jacqueline Olive – “Always in Season”– Women and Hollywood

Sundance 2019: Always in Season an exceptional documentary on communities of memory, history of lynchings – The Utah Review

‘American Factory’: Sundance Review – Screen Daily

Sundance: Netflix Nabs ‘American Factory’ Doc for $3 Million – The Hollywood Reporter

Julia Reichert: Dozen Days of Filmmakers — Day 1

Chicken & Egg Pictures is celebrating the holiday season by featuring a dozen of our supported women nonfiction filmmakers.

Julia Reichert is a three-time Academy Award® nominated documentary filmmaker based in Ohio whose work focuses on class, gender, and race in the lives of Americans.

In 1971, frustrated with the lack of distribution options for films by and about women, she co-founded New Day Films, the democratically run documentary film distribution cooperative. Forty-seven years later, New Day Films is going strong, and now has over 150 active members.

Julia’s first film, Growing Up Female, was the first feature documentary of the modern Women’s Movement. It was recently selected for the National Film Registry of the Library of Congress. Her films Union Maids and Seeing Red were nominated for an Academy Award® for Best Feature Documentary, as was The Last Truck, a short (co-directed with Steven Bognar) which premiered at the Telluride Film Festival and on HBO.  Her film A Lion in the House (an ITVS co-production, made with Bognar) premiered at Sundance, screened nationally on PBS, and won the Primetime Emmy for Exceptional Merit in Nonfiction Filmmaking. She co-wrote and directed the feature film Emma and Elvis. Julia is also the author of Doing It Yourself, the first book on self-distribution in independent film, and was an Advisory Board member of Independent Filmmaker Project (IFP).

The Last Truck: Closing of a GM Plant
The Last Truck: Closing of a GM Plant, directed by Julia Reichert and Steve Bognar

Her most recent feature film with Steven BognarAmerican Factorywill have its world premiere at the 2019 Sundance Film Festival. American Factory tells the story of a Chinese billionaire who opens a new factory in the husk of an abandoned General Motors plant in post-industrial Ohio, hiring two thousand blue-collar Americans. Early days of hope and optimism give way to setbacks as high-tech China clashes with working-class America.*

Julia was recently awarded the Career Achievement Award at the 2018 International Documentary Awards (alongside the Chicken & Egg Pictures team for the Amicus Award) for her incredible contributions to documentary filmmaking. 

In 2019, the Museum of Modern Art and the Wexner Center for the Arts will team up to present a traveling retrospective of Julia Reichert’s films.

Julia is a 2016 Breakthrough Filmmaker Award recipient.

*Synopsis courtesy of Sundance Film Festival. 

Post by Morgan Lee Hulquist.

The Nest at the 2019 Sundance Film Festival

Chicken & Egg Pictures is coming to the 2019 Sundance Film Festival! In addition to seeing our filmmakers soar, we are delighted that they are contributing to a festival where 40% of selected films are directed by one or more women, and 53% percent of the directors eligible for the festival’s top prize are women. 

The following Nest-supported projects and filmmakers from our Accelerator Lab and Breakthrough Filmmaker Award programs, along with several directors from our AlumNest, will be celebrating their world premieres.

Jacqueline Olive Always in Season
Always in Season, directed by Jacqueline Olive

Always in Season, directed by Jacqueline Olive (2018 Accelerator Lab)

As the trauma of a century of lynching African Americans bleeds into the present, Always in Season follows relatives of the perpetrators and victims in communities across the country who are seeking justice and reconciliation in the midst of racial profiling and police shootings. In Bladenboro, NC, the film connects historic racial terrorism to racial violence today with the story of Claudia Lacy who grieves as she fights to get an FBI investigation opened into the death of her seventeen-year-old son, Lennon Lacy, found hanging from a swing set on August 29, 2014. Claudia, like many others, believes Lennon was lynched.

One Child Nation, 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.

Director Nanfu Wang is also a recipient of the 2018 Breakthrough Filmmaker Award.

American Factory*, directed by Steven Bognar and Julia Reichert (2016 Breakthrough Filmmaker Award)

In post-industrial Ohio, a Chinese billionaire opens a new factory in the husk of an abandoned General Motors plant, hiring two thousand blue-collar Americans. Early days of hope and optimism give way to setbacks as high-tech China clashes with working-class America.**

Hail Satan*, directed by Penny Lane (2017 Breakthrough Filmmaker Award)

A look at the intersection of religion and activism, tracing the rise of The Satanic Temple: only six years old and already one of the most controversial religious movements in American history. The Temple is calling for a Satanic revolution to save the nation’s soul. But are they for real?**

In addition, the following films directed by Nest-supported filmmakers will be featured at the festival:

Knock Down the House, directed by Rachel Lears (director of Nest-supported film The Hand That Feeds with Robin Blotnick)

Shooting the Mafia, directed by Kim Longinotto (director of Nest-supported film Dreamcatcher)

The Great Hack, directed by Karim Amer and Jehane Noujaim (Jehane is the director of the Nest-supported film The Square)

The Sundance Film Festival will run from January 24 to February 3, 2019. Congratulations to all, and we will see you in Park City! 

 

*Chicken & Egg Pictures did not directly support American Factory and Hail Satan but supported director Julia Reichert and director Penny Lane during their Breakthrough years.

**Synopses courtesy of Sundance Film Festival.

Chicken & Egg Pictures Receives IDA Amicus Award

Earlier this month, Nest-supported Dark Money and United Skates were included in the International Documentary Association (IDA) Shortlist for Top Feature and as well as nominated for the IDA Award for Best Feature of 2018.

And last week, we received more good news from the International Documentary Association. Chicken & Egg Pictures is being recognized with the prestigious Amicus Award. We’re in good company too, with past recipients including Stephen Spielberg, Norman and Lyn Lear, and our dear Nest friend and Fork Films President and CEO Abigail Disney.

The Amicus Award “honors individuals or organizations in recognition of their work supporting the essential needs of the nonfiction media landscape,” and we humbly thank IDA for this extraordinary recognition. In an environment where the need to amplify women’s voices is receiving much needed attention, this award will serve to further elevate the importance of their stories.

Julia Reichert 2016 Breakthrough Filmmaker AwardWe would like to extend a special congratulations to 2016 Breakthrough Filmmaker Award Recipient Julia Reichert for her well-earned Career Achievement Award. Thank you Julia, for your incredible contributions to documentary filmmaking. We are so happy for you and cannot wait to celebrate your achievements.

Dawn Porter 2017 Breakthrough Filmmaker AwardWe also congratulate 2017 Breakthrough Filmmaker Award Recipient Dawn Porter for her nomination for Best Limited Series for her Netflix doc series Bobby Kennedy for President. Chicken & Egg Pictures did not directly support Bobby Kennedy for President but supported Dawn during her breakthrough year and past projects Trapped and The Chosen Life. Congratulations Dawn and good luck!

The IDA Awards ceremony will take place on Saturday, December 8 at the Paramount Theatre in Los Angeles.  We’ll see you there!

Chicken & Egg Pictures announces five recipients of inaugural Breakthrough Award

We are pleased and proud to announce the five recipients of our inaugural Breakthrough Filmmaker Award. The five chosen filmmakers are Kristi Jacobson (A Place at the Table) Julia Reichert (The Last Truck), Yoruba Richen (The New Black), Elaine McMillion Sheldon (Hollow), and Michèle Stephenson (American Promise). This award consists of a $50,000 unrestricted grant and a year-long 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 nonfiction directors in the U.S. are able to work full-time as independent storytellers. The program recognizes and elevates five mid-career women directors with unique voices who are poised to reach new heights and to continue to be strong filmmaker-advocates for urgent issues.

“Chicken & Egg Pictures continues to make bold investments in both women artists and gender equality to ensure that a greater diversity of voices are acknowledged for their participation in the storytelling that drives change,” said Jenni Wolfson, Executive Director of Chicken & Egg Pictures. “Our hope with this new award is to provide support and a platform for these artists to continue showcasing and elevating critical social justice, environmental, and human rights issues and stories while working to increase their visibility and ensure they receive the recognition they deserve.”

Recipients of the Chicken & Egg Pictures Breakthrough Filmmaker Award were chosen through a nation-wide confidential nomination process.

2016 BREAKTHROUGH FILMMAKER AWARD RECIPIENTS

 Kristi Jacobson
Kristi Jacobson is a New York-based filmmaker whose films capture nuanced, intimate, and provocative portrayals of individuals and communities. Her most recent film, A Place at the Table (Participant Media/Magnolia Pictures), called “one of the most important…and gripping non-fiction films to debut in some time” by Indiewire, premiered at the 2012 Sundance Film Festival before its theatrical release in over 35 U.S. cities. Previous films include the critically acclaimed Toots, winner of the National Board of Review’s 2007 Top Documentary Award, and American Standoff (HBO), produced by two-time Oscar winner Barbara Kopple. Jacobson is a member of the Director’s Guild of America, NYWIFT, and a two-time Sundance Creative Producing Fellow. She is a recipient of grants from Tribeca Film Institute, Sundance Institute DFP, Chicken & Egg Pictures, and many others. She is currently working on an upcoming HBO documentary that provides an immersive and unprecedented look inside the world of solitary confinement in the U.S.

Julia Reichert
Julia Reichert is a three-time Academy Award® nominee for her documentary work. She lives in Ohio, and has chosen to focus on class, gender, and race in the lives of Americans.  Julia’s first film, Growing Up Female, was the first feature documentary of the modern Women’s Movement.  It was recently selected for the National Film Registry of the Library of Congress.  Her films Union Maids and Seeing Red were nominated for Academy Awards® for Best Feature Documentary, as was The Last Truck, a short (co-directed with Steven Bognar) which premiered at the Telluride Film Festival and on HBO.  Her film A Lion in the House (an ITVS co-production, made with Bognar) premiered at Sundance, screened nationally on PBS, and won the Primetime Emmy® for Exceptional Merit in Nonfiction Filmmaking.  She co-wrote and directed the feature film Emma and Elvis.  Julia is co-founder of New Day Films, the independent film distribution co-op.  She is author of “Doing It Yourself,” the first book on self-distribution in independent film, and was an Advisory Board member of IFP. Reichert is currently directing a film about the 9 to 5 movement, telling the stories of the millions of low wage, invisible women who populated the clerical pool, served coffee, and suffered sexual harassment before it was named.  In the 1970’s they gathered their courage and rose up against their bosses, large corporations, and institutions.  She’s also begun filming a verite follow-up to The Last Truck, chronicling the arrival of a new plant in her economically devastated Midwestern city.

Yoruba Richen
Yoruba Richen is a documentary filmmaker whose work explores issues of race, space, and power. She has directed films in the U.S. and abroad, including The New Black and Promised LandThe New Black won Audience Awards at AFI Docs, Philly Q Fest, and Frameline LGBT Film Festival. The film also won best documentary at the Urbanworld Film Festival and was nominated for an NAACP Image Award and a GLAAD Media Award.  The New Black opened theatrically at New York’s Film Forum and aired on PBS’s Independent Lens. Yoruba has received numerous grants including from Sundance Documentary Fund, Chicken & Egg Pictures, and the Ford Foundation. She won the Creative Promise Award at Tribeca All Access and was also a Sundance Producers Fellow. Yoruba is a featured TED Speaker and a Guggenheim Fellow. She is director of the documentary program at the CUNY Graduate School of Journalism. Yoruba is currently working on How It Feels To Be Free, a two-part documentary chronicling how black entertainers like Lena Horne and Cicely Tyson navigated the industry and took control of their own images, all while fighting for civil rights through their art and actions.

Elaine McMillion Sheldon
Elaine McMillion Sheldon is a documentary filmmaker and media artist who explores themes of identity, roots, and change. She’s the director of Hollow, the Emmy®-nominated and Peabody-winning interactive documentary that explores life in the Appalachian coalfields. She’s also the co-producer of The Lower 9, a feature-length documentary about The Lower Ninth Ward of New Orleans after Hurricane Katrina. Sheldon’s film and interactive work has been exhibited nationally and internationally, from the New York Film Festival to IDFA. Sheldon was a 2013 Future of Storytelling Fellow, and named one of the “25 New Faces of Independent Film” in 2013 by Filmmaker Magazine and one of “50 People Changing The South” in 2015 by Southern Living Magazine. She works across platforms and mediums—film, photo, audio, interactive media—to create storytelling experiences. Sheldon is currently working on several projects that employ the storytelling skills she has developed for multiple mediums, including short and feature filmmaking, longform and interactive journalism, participatory media, virtual reality, and audio storytelling. Two of the film-based projects include a feature-length documentary about home, identity, and roots of Latino families living in Appalachia, and a short-film collaboration with the New York Times Op-Docs centered on the election year in rural America.

Michèle Stephenson
Michèle Stephenson pulls from her Caribbean roots and international experience as a human rights attorney to tell compelling personal stories that resonate beyond the margins. Her work has appeared on a variety of broadcast and web platforms, including PBS, Showtime, and MTV. Her most recent film, American Promise, was nominated for three Emmys® including Best Documentary. The film won the Jury Prize at Sundance and was selected for the New York Film Festival’s Main Slate. Stephenson’s community engagement work has won numerous awards including the BRITDOC Puma Impact Award and a Revere Award nomination from the American Publishers Association. Other films directed by Stephenson include Slaying Goliath and Faces of Change. Her recent book, “Promises Kept,” written with co-authors Joe Brewster and Hilary Beard, won an NAACP Image Award. Stephenson is currently working on Hispaniola, a documentary chronicling the lives of families affected by the TC-186 Dominican Republic Supreme Court ruling that strips citizenship from individuals of Haitian descent who were born in the country. She’s also part of the filmmaking team behind Conversations On Race, a New York Times Op-Docs series of short films that uses powerful personal narratives to elevate shared experiences of race and equality.