Announced via Variety today, we are proud to present the ten grantees selected for the 2022 (Egg)celerator Lab, who will each receive $40,000 towards the production of their documentary. Additionally, for the first time ever, ten projects have been selected to receive Egg)celerator Lab Finalist Grants of $15,000 each. The 20 projects, directed by emerging filmmakers, will collectively receive a total of $550,000 in grants, marking the largest sum that Chicken & Egg Pictures has ever directed towards the support of an (Egg)celerator Lab cohort and finalists of emerging filmmakers in a single year.
This year, the cohort includes directors hailing from countries such as the US, Chile, Costa Rica, Mexico, Romania, and Belarus. Filmmaker grantees include Volia Chajkouskaya, the founder of the Northern Lights Nordic-Baltic Film Festival, Lina Vdovîi and Radu Ciorniciuc, award-winning independent reporters, Contessa Gayles, an Emmy nominated producer. The films center women reclaiming their stories, and explore similar themes through vastly different subjects: In Matryoshka and TATA, filmmakers illustrate portraits of their parents that connect with their own personal narratives. Here, the Silence is Heard and Joonam explore intimate intergenerational memories in the context of complex political histories, and the search for an identity.
Click on the film’s titles for more information on each project. We are thrilled to give these filmmakers a warm welcome to the Nest.
The 2022 (Egg)celerator Lab Grantees are:
7 Beats Per Minute
Director: Yuqi Kang (CANADA / CHINA / INNER MONGOLIA)
Producers: Ina Fichman, Anita Lee
7 Beats Per Minute is an intimate and unyielding journey with female freediving champion, Jessea Lu, as she faces her biggest fear and attempts to dive over 100 meters in one single breath.
Here, the Silence is Heard
Director: Gabriela Pena (CHILE / SPAIN)
Co-director: Picho García (CHILE)
Producers: Gabriela Pena, Picho García
After arriving in Chile at the old house that my family abandoned in exile, ghosts of an unstoppable family spell begin to appear at night.
Director: Sierra Urich (US)
Producer: Keith Wilson
A filmmaker uncovers her family’s lost Iranian past, and with it the complex relationships between mother and daughter, Iran and America, and displacement and identity.
Life + Life
Director: Contessa Gayles (US)
Producer: Contessa Gayles
An incarcerated musician struggles for healing and peace as he comes of age in this documentary-musical odyssey composed behind bars.
Director: Maricarmen Merino Mora (COSTA RICA)
Producers: Karla Bukantz, Paulina Villegas
Matryoshka is an intimate portrait of a mother through her daughter’s eyes, following the complex journey of a woman finding her own voice.
Director: Indira Cato (MEXICO)
Producer: Jessica Rito
After being a victim of sexual virtual violence, Olimpia Coral Melo sought the enactment of a groundbreaking law to protect women against cyberviolence, but now she’s still looking for a way to heal her internal wounds.
Our Daughters (working title)
Director: Chithra Jeyaram (US / INDIA)
Producers: Chithra Jeyaram, Jonna McKone
For the sake of their twin daughters, an Indian adoptive mother and a white birth mother venture into uncharted territory with an open adoption, crossing racial and cultural lines.
Co-directors: Lina Vdovîi and Radu Ciorniciuc (MOLDOVA / ROMANIA)
Producer: Monica Lazurean Gorgan
A journalist estranged from her violent father discovers that he’s become a victim of exploitation at work. When she agrees to help him expose the injustice, it reopens the wounds of their past.
The Wife Of
Director: Volia Chajkouskaya (BELARUS / ESTONIA)
Producers: Volia Chajkouskaya, Ivo Felt, Christian Popp, and Marius Markevicius
Details to be announced later this year.
The 2022 (Egg)celerator Lab Finalists are:
Directors: Clare Weiskopf, Nicolas van Hemelryck (COLOMBIA)
Producers: Clare Weiskopf, Nicolas van Hemelryck, Radu Stancu, Alexandra Galvis
Teenage girls, who lived on the streets of Bogota, dream up a fictional classmate. Their soulful narrative reveals their perseverance to break the cycle of violence and embrace a brighter future.
Directors: Pascale Appora-Gnekindy, Ningyi Sun (CENTRAL AFRICAN REPUBLIC / CHINA)
Producer: Mathieu Faure
Eat Bitter is a character-driven vérité film set in the Central African Republic, one of the poorest countries in the world. During the civil war, a Chinese immigrant construction manager and a local African laborer work on opposite ends of the spectrum to construct a sparkling new bank. As deadlines loom, they don’t hesitate to strip the earth and destroy their family lives for a seat at the table of prosperity.
How to Build a Library
Co-directors: Maia Lekow, Christopher King (KENYA / AUSTRALIA)
Producers: Maia Lekow, Christopher King
Two tenacious Kenyan women are transforming a dilapidated, junk-filled library in downtown Nairobi into a hub for the city’s population and creatives. But first they must wrangle with the local government, raise several million dollars for the reconstruction, and confront the ghosts of a problematic colonial history still trapped within the library walls.
Directors: Silvia Castaños, Estefanía Contreras (US / MEXICO)
Producers: Leslie Benavides, Miguel Drake-McLaughlin, Ana Rodriguez-Falco, Jillian Schlesinger
Co-directors: Miguel Drake-McLaughlin, Diane Ng, Ana Rodriguez-Falco, Jillian Schlesinger
Best friends Silvia and Estefanía emerge at night to escape the cruel heat of summer in their Texas border town, wandering empty streets in search of inspiration, adventure, and a sense of belonging. When forces threaten their shared dreams, they take a stand and hold onto what they can—the moment and each other.
Light of the Setting Sun
Director: Vicky Du (US)
Producer: Danielle Varga
A Taiwanese-American filmmaker confronts her family’s silence around the cycles of violence that have persisted since the Chinese Communist Revolution of 1949.
River of Grass
Director: Sasha Wortzel (US)
Producer: Danielle Varga
Co-producer: Houston Cypress
River of Grass unfolds as a voyage through the past, present, and precarious future of the iconic and imperiled Florida Everglades; told through the writings of the late environmentalist Marjory Stoneman Douglas, and those who today call the region home.
There Was, There Was Not
Director: Emily Mkrtichian (US / ARMENIA)
Producer: Mara Adina
There Was, There Was Not tells the collective myth of a homeland nearly lost to war and four women’s resistance to that loss.
We Are Volcanoes
Co-directors: Sharon Yeung, Natalie A. Chao (HONG KONG)
Producer: Sharon Yeung
When They Were Here
Director: Ivy MacDonald (US / BLACKFEET TRIBE)
Co-director: Ivan MacDonald (US / BLACKFEET TRIBE)
Producer: Jessica Jane Hart
Told through the memory and lives of those left behind–families, When They Were Here examines the Missing and Murdered Indigenous Women (MMIW) crisis and its legacy on the Blackfeet Reservation in Northern Montana.
Directors: Shirley Abraham, Amit Madheshiya (INDIA)
Producers: Shirley Abraham, Amit Madheshiya
Note: The parentheses next to the directors’ names indicate the directors’ country or countries of origin.
Chicken & Egg Pictures is celebrating the holiday season and saying farewell to 2020 by featuring a dozen Nest-supported women and gender nonconforming filmmakers. For more Dozen Days of Filmmakers, see here.
Maia von Lekow is an acclaimed Kenyan filmmaker, musician, and co-director of The Letter with Chris King. Filmed with a gentle pace and incredible closeness, The Letter is a gripping family drama about a 95 year-old Grandmother with a fearless spirit who must overcome dangerous accusations of witchcraft that are coming from within her own family.
The Letter made its world premiere at IDFA in 2019 and screened at DOC NYC, DocsBarcelona, and AFI DOCS festivals. The film is Kenya’s official submission to the 93rd Academy Awards® for Best International Film and is currently streaming in Kenyan cinemas nationwide. In addition to being co-director, Maia composed a poignant original score for the film along with Emmy-winning Toronto-based composer Ken Myhr.
Maia has also worked as director, producer, and sound recordist for several film and music projects since founding Circle and Square Productions in 2009. She has performed on stages across the world and continues to compose music for films. She received an African Movie Academy Award for her song Uko Wapi, and was named a goodwill ambassador for UNHCR on World Refugee Day 2013.