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.

Nest-supported Filmmakers Take Home Three News and Documentary Emmy® Awards

Winners of the 39th Annual News and Documentary Emmy®
Awards were announced last night at a ceremony at Lincoln Center in New York City.  We were thrilled to see three Chicken & Egg Pictures-supported filmmakers receive Emmys for their powerful documentary projects.

Kristin Jacobson

Solitary, directed by 2016 Breakthrough Filmmaker Award recipient Kristi Jacobson, received the Outstanding Investigative Documentary award (HBO Documentary Films).

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.

Elaine McMillion Sheldon Michèle Stephenson Yoruba Richen 2016 Breakthrough Award Recipient

Heroin(e), directed by 2016 Breakthrough Filmmaker Award recipient Elaine McMillion Sheldon, received the Outstanding Short Documentary award (Netflix).

“Once a bustling industrial town, Huntington, West Virginia has become the epicenter of America’s modern opioid epidemic, 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, Peabody Award-winning filmmaker Elaine McMillion Sheldon (Hollow) shows a different side of the fight against drugsone of hope.”*

Chicken & Egg Pictures did not directly support Heroin(e), but supported Elaine during her Breakthrough year. Check out Elaine’s newest film on the subject, Recovery Boys (also on Netflix streaming).

Lynn Novick Headshot

The Vietnam War: A Film by Ken Burns & Lynn Novick received the Outstanding Research award (PBS).

“Ken Burns and Lynn Novick’s ten-part, 18-hour documentary series, The Vietnam War, tells the epic story of one of the most consequential, divisive, and controversial events in American history as it has never before been told on film.”**

Chicken & Egg Pictures did not support The Vietnam War: A Film by Ken Burns & Lynn Novick but is supporting Lynn Novick’s project College Behind Bars: The Bard Prison Initiative, currently in production.

We would also like to congratulate all of our friends at PBS, who received a whopping seven Emmy awards last night, as well as all of the incredible nominees and winners at the News and Documentary Emmy® Awards.

*Synopsis from the Recovery Boys website.

**Synopsis courtesy of PBS.

Chicken & Egg Pictures announces support of criminal justice projects

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.”