The Nest takes off at Human Rights Watch!
This year, four Chicken & Egg Pictures-supported projects will be screened at the Human Rights Watch Film Festival, including the first-ever virtual reality project we have supported.
The festival will be held in New York from June 10 – June 19, 2016. HRW Film Festival screens more than 500 films each year, spreading stories of suffering individuals through the medium of film in an effort to promote knowledge and awareness of the breaches of human rights in today’s world.
Rokhsareh Ghaem Maghami
Sonita is the story of an 18-year-old Afghan woman following her dream to be a rapper while society surrounding her tries to silence her. She stands up against forced marriages, including her own, in which she was to be sold off for $9,000 in order to allow her family to purchase a wife for their son. This film’s personal nature imbues it with universal meaning.
Directed by Kristi Jacobson
Solitary provides a gripping look into life in prison, for both inmates and officers. It is a film about entrapment with the self, an effort to inform society of life in loneliness. Solitary provides a voice for the 80,000 people currently in solitary confinement in the US while letting them know they are not alone.
When Two Worlds Collide
Heidi Brandenburg & Mathew Orzel
The struggle of indigenous people to maintain their surrounding land when in conflict with the interests of the big companies reminds us that our battle to preserve our environment rather than establishing locations for the production of monetary gains is ever present. When Two Worlds Collide captivatingly reminds us of the state of the one world we are slowly losing.
6X9: An Immersive Experience of Solitary Confinement
Francesca Panetta and Lindsay Poulton
We are incredibly excited about 6X9: An Immersive Experience of Solitary Confinement, the first VR project Chicken & Egg Pictures has supported. While traditional methods of viewing films can take you on a journey one, cannot help but notice that that journey is confined. The limits of the screen are sharp contrasts, ever-present boundaries between two worlds. Our field of vision reminds us of our surroundings and modern comforts, and by doing so, rips us away from the experiences unfolding on the screen. 6X9: An Immersive Experience of Solitary Confinement places us in a new reality, a reality where the outside world is no longer visible and no matter where we look, our surrounding world is the world of the inmate. Their lives become ours in ways that previously weren’t possible. 6X9: An Immersive Experience of Solitary Confinement brings new perspective to a life in solitude.
A panel, comprised of four members, including Francesca Panetta, will also be held on June 15, 2016. The panel will focus on the use of VR, its power to promote social change, as well as what boundaries we should place upon it. Virtual reality has the potential to allow a more complete understanding of suffering due to human rights violations, but like any new medium, its utility in promoting tangible change remains under debate.
This year’s Tribeca Film Festival, running from April 13-24, marks the 15th edition of this annual spring event. Chicken & Egg Pictures is proud to have four grantee films screening in this year’s lineup, along with 6X9: An Immersive Experience of Solitary Confinement, the first virtual reality project we have ever supported.
For a full list of films that will screen at the 2016 Tribeca Film Festival, as well as a complete schedule, visit the Tribeca Film Festival website.
World Documentary Competition
LoveTrue (Alma Ha’rel)
Does our view of love change as we grow older? How do we make decisions about our love lives? Is there such a thing as true love? Are there invisible partners in relationships? Past ghosts of ourselves? The film’s reenactments of significant past experiences and glimpses at possible futures, created with non-actors playing the characters’ older and younger selves, encourage the couples to confront the realities of their hopes and memories, and the effect they have on their love lives.
The Return (Katie Galloway & Kelly Duane de la Vega)
In 2012, California voters passed Proposition 36, which shortened sentences of the currently incarcerated. Within days, the reintegration of thousands of “lifers”—men & women once expecting to spend their lives in prison—was underway. The Return weaves together multiple narratives of characters on the front lines of this unprecedented shift: prisoners suddenly freed, families turned upside down, attorneys and judges wrestling with an untested law, and reentry providers negotiating unfathomable transitions.
Solitary (Kristi Jacobson)
Solitary investigates an invisible part of the American justice system: the use of isolation and segregation in US prisons, commonly known as solitary confinement. With unprecedented access inside a prison tackling the issue head on, the film explores this divisive issue through the experiences of those on both sides of the bars. Directed by Chicken & Egg Pictures Breakthrough Award recipient Kristi Jacobson.
Southwest of Salem: The Story of the San Antonio Four (Deborah S. Esquenazi)
Southwest of Salem excavates the nightmarish persecution of Elizabeth Ramirez, Cassandra Rivera, Kristie Mayhugh, and Anna Vasquez — four Latina lesbians wrongfully convicted of allegedly gang raping two little girls. This bizarre case is the first to be adjudicated under momentous new legislation: for the first time in U.S. history, wrongfully convicted innocents can challenge convictions based on debunked scientific evidence. The film also unravels the sinister interplay of mythology, homophobia, and prosecutorial fervor which led to this modern day witch hunt.
6X9: An Immersive Experience of Solitary Confinement (Francesca Panetta & Lindsay Poulton)
Right now, 80,000-100,000 people are in solitary confinement in the US. They spend 22-24 hours a day in their cells, with little to no human contact for days or even decades. The sensory deprivation they endure causes severe psychological damage. These people are invisible to us—and eventually to themselves.
Chicken & Egg Pictures was pleased to announce today our support of two additional projects focusing on criminal justice in the United States, joining a cohort of films currently supported by the organization that address the issue. 6X9: An Immersive Experience of Solitary Confinement and College Behind Bars will both receive grants from the organization.
The Guardian’s 6X9: An Immersive Experience of Solitary Confinement (Francesca Panetta and Lindsay Poulton) is the first virtual reality project supported by Chicken & Egg Pictures. It is being funded through the organization’s new Impact & Innovation Initiative, which empowers women filmmakers to explore the new world of immersive and digital storytelling through online and interactive shorts, web series, and other cross-platform projects aimed at creating social impact.
College Behind Bars, directed by Lynn Novick, looks at a group of incarcerated men and women who are taking advantage of the Bard Prison Initiative to pursue a college degree while serving their sentences.
Chicken & Egg Pictures recognizes the magnitude of the criminal justice and mass incarceration crisis in the United States, and over its ten years has supported numerous films that address the issue from multiple perspectives.
6X9 and College Behind Bars join five current projects supported by Chicken & Egg Pictures that focus on various aspects of criminal justice, both in the United States and around the world. These projects include Cocaine Prison (Violeta Ayala), The Return (Kelly Duane de la Vega and Katie Galloway), Out of Mind (Kristi Jacobson), Sons And Daughters Of The Incarcerated (Denali Tiller), and Southwest Of Salem (Deborah S. Esquenazi).
“We’re very proud to be putting our support behind these projects that tackle one of the most pressing issues in the United States today,” said Chicken & Egg Pictures Executive Director Jenni Wolfson. “Even though the U.S. represents just 5% of the world’s population, we are responsible for 25% of inmates around the globe. Chicken & Egg Pictures believes firmly in the power of film to expose the systematic injustices surrounding mass incarceration, inhumane conditions, and miscarriages of justice. These storytellers address this matter with humanity, innovation, and purpose, ensuring that it stays at the top of our national conscience and contributes towards lasting change.”
Congratulations to the five Chicken & Egg Pictures grantees whose projects will screen at the upcoming 2016 Sundance Film Festival.
6×9: An Immersive Experience of Solitary Confinement is the first virtual reality project supported by Chicken & Egg Pictures and will premiere as part of the New Frontiers program.
We look forward to seeing these films launch in Park City and begin their journey to reach audiences across the world.
The full program and schedule for this year’s Sundance Film Festival is available here.
6×9: An Immersive Experience of Solitary Confinement (The Guardian- Francesca Panetta & Lindsay Poulton)
Right now, more than 80,000 people are locked in a 6′ by 9′ concrete box where they have no human contact and every element of their environment is controlled. The sensory deprivation causes severe psychological damage. It changes them; they become invisible.
Cameraperson (Kirsten Johnson)
Drawing on footage she’s shot over the course of 25 years, cinematographer Kirsten Johnson searches to reconcile her part in the thorny questions of permission, power, creative ambition, and human obligation that come with filming the lives of others.
Sonita (Rokhsareh Ghaemmaghami)
18-year-old Sonita is an undocumented Afghan immigrant living in the suburbs of Tehran. In spite of all the obstacles she confronts in Iran and from her conservative family, she fights to live the way she wants: as a rapper. In harsh contrast to her goal is the plan of her family to make her a bride and sell her to a new family for the price of $9,000.
Trapped (Dawn Porter)
At least half of American women will experience an unintended pregnancy by the age of 45. Four in 10 unwanted pregnancies are terminated by abortion. What would happen if access to care for these cases completely disappeared? Following the progress of two southern reproductive health clinics, Trapped captures their struggle as they continue to provide care in the face of an increasingly hostile legal and political climate.
When Two Worlds Collide (Heidi Brandenburg & Mathew Orzel)
An indigenous leader is forced into exile and faces 20 years in prison for resisting the environmental ruin of Amazonian lands by big business. Refusing to surrender, he continues his quest, shedding light on conflicting visions shaping the fate of the Amazon and the climate future of our world.