Chicken & Egg Pictures is proud to announce the fourth cohort of our Chicken & Egg Award—previously known as Breakthrough Filmmaker Award—which recognizes and elevates five experienced documentary filmmakers poised to reach new heights in their careers and become strong filmmaker advocates for critical and timely issues.
This year’s Chicken & Egg Award recipients are directors of Peabody Award- and Emmy® Award-winning films; the characters in their films—like a Yazidi human rights activist and Nobel Peace Prize winner; a young woman in Gaza making a choice between love, family, and freedom; and a punk rocker-turned-Buddhist monk—have inspired hearts and minds; and their work has been featured at Tribeca, Sundance, Berlinale, and other international festivals.
The award comes with a $50,000 unrestricted grant that gives its recipient more financial freedom in planning her career, and year-long individualized mentorship geared towards working to achieve the professional goals each filmmaker sets for herself.
Julia Bacha is a Peabody Award-winning filmmaker, Guggenheim fellow, and Creative Director at Just Vision. Her directing credits include Budrus (2009), My Neighbourhood (2012), and Naila and the Uprising (2017). Her work has played at the Berlin and Tribeca Film Festivals, as well as Palestinian refugee camps and the United States Congress. Julia is a Term Member at the Council on Foreign Relations, a Young Global Leader at the World Economic Forum, and a TED speaker.
Alexandria Bombach is an award-winning director, cinematographer, and editor from Santa Fe, New Mexico. Her feature-length documentary, On Her Shoulders (2018), won Best Directing in the US Documentary Competition at the Sundance Film Festival, is nominated for two Spirit Awards, and was shortlisted for the Academy Award for Best Documentary Feature. Her first feature-length documentary, Frame by Frame (2015) premiered at SXSW and went on to win over 25 festival awards. Alexandria is the founder of the Santa Fe Editing & Writing Residency and a 2019 Sundance Institute Momentum Fellow.
A first-generation Chinese American from Youngstown, Ohio, Stephanie Wang-Breal uses film as a tool to subvert the narrative. She’s directed five feature length films: the award-winning Wo Ai Ni Mommy (2010), Tough Love (2014), and Blowin’ Up (2018); and directed commercials and short form content with talents and brands such as Tan Dun, Planned Parenthood, Minwax, ESPN, Tiffany & Co., Goldman Sachs, Verifone, and Apple. Stephanie’s independent work has been supported and recognized by the Sundance Institute, the Ford Foundation, and featured in the Tribeca Film Festival.
Lana Wilson is an Emmy® Award-winning and two-time Spirit Award-nominated director. Her most recent film, The Departure (2017), premiered at Tribeca, had a critically acclaimed theatrical release, and was nominated for the Independent Spirit Award for Best Documentary. Her previous film, After Tiller (2013), premiered at Sundance and went on to win an Emmy® Award for Best Documentary. It was also nominated for an Independent Spirit Award, four Cinema Eye Honors, and the Ridenhour Prize.
Malika Zouhali-Worrall is an Emmy® Award-winning director and editor. Her directing credits include Call Me Kuchu, which premiered at the 2012 Berlinale and went on to win more than 20 festival awards, and Thank You For Playing (2015), which received an Emmy® for Outstanding Arts & Culture Documentary. Malika’s work has been supported by Sundance, Tribeca, Firelight Media, and the United Nations. She is a San Francisco Film/Catapult Documentary Fellow and a Chaz and Roger Ebert Directing Fellow.
For additional information on Chicken & Egg Pictures and this award, please visit our Programs page.
Wonderful news from Sundance Institute! Thirty-three recipients of the Sundance Institute Documentary Fund Stories of Change Grant were announced recently, and 81% of the supported projects have at least one woman producer or director.
Projects are supported through grants in the development, production, post-production and audience engagement stages, and include custom grants from The Kendeda Fund, MacArthur Foundation, and The Skoll Foundation.
Through the Night, directed by Loira Limbal (2018 Accelerator Lab)
To make ends meet, Americans are working longer hours across multiple jobs. This modern reality of nonstop work has resulted in an unexpected phenomenon: the flourishing of 24-hour daycare centers. Through the Night is a verité documentary that explores the personal cost of our modern economy through the stories of two working mothers and a child care provider, whose lives intersect at a 24-hour daycare center in New Rochelle, NY.
Through the Night received a production grant from the Sundance Documentary Fund.
Born in China, 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.
Born in China received a grant for post-production from the Sundance Documentary Fund.
The Letter, directed by Maia von Lekow and Chris King (2018 Diversity Fellows Initiative)
Along the coast of Kenya, a frenzied mix of consumerism and Christianity is turning hundreds of families against their elders, branding them as witches as a means to steal their land. Ninety-two-
year-old Margaret Kamango stands accused by her sons, while her strong-willed daughters try to protect her. This dangerous dispute is seen through the eyes of Margaret’s grandson, Karisa, who returns home from the city to investigate and is ultimately forced to choose which side he is on.
The Letter received a grant for post-production from the Sundance Documentary Fund.
Untitled Race & Criminal Justice Project, directed by Ursula Liang (2017 Diversity Fellows Initiative)
A nuanced look at how two communities of color navigate an uneven criminal justice system, anchored by one polarizing New York City case.
United Race & Criminal Justice Project received support for production from the Macarthur Foundation. This grant provides support for journalistic projects, prioritizing diverse, Native and Indigenous voices.
Chicken & Egg Pictures would also like to congratulate the following filmmakers whose work we have supported in the past or who we have individually support through the Breakthrough Filmmaker Award program—
2016 Breakthrough Filmmaker Recipient Laura Nix received a grant for audience engagement for her film Inventing Tomorrow from The Kendeda Fund.
Meet the passionate teen innovators from around the globe who dedicate their blood, sweat, and Bunsen burners to craft cutting-edge solutions to the world’s environmental threats and present their findings at the world’s largest high school science competition, the Intel International Science and Engineering Fair.
Chicken & Egg Pictures did not directly support Inventing Tomorrow, but supported Laura Nix through our Breakthrough Filmmaker Award program in 2016.
And She Could Be Next received a production grant from the Sundance Documentary Fund and is made by a team of women filmmakers of color, including four Nest-supported filmmakers. And She Could Be Next is directed by Grace Lee (2017 Breakthrough Filmmaker Award recipient and director of American Revolutionary: The Evolution of Grace Lee Boggs), Yoruba Richen (2016 Breakthrough Filmmaker Award recipient), Deborah S. Esquenazi (Southwest of Salem) , and Geeta Gandbhir (director of A Journey of a Thousand Miles: Peacekeepers, producer of Love the Sinner, and 2017 Breakthrough Filmmaker Award recipient) as well as Anayansi Prado, Ramona Emerson, Amber Fares, and Marjan Safinia.
Another special congratulations to Anna Fitch for her grant for production on her new project Heaven Through the Backdoor, which she is co-directing with Banker White. Anna Fitch previously received support on her work in Survivors from Chicken & Egg Pictures, also co-directed with Banker White.
Congratulations also to Violeta Ayala (director of Nest-supported Cocaine Prison) on receiving production support for her new feature documentary, The Fight.
What an incredible group of women-directed projects! Congratulations to all.
Winners of the 38th Annual News & Documentary Emmy Awards® were announced this past week, and we are ecstatic to congratulate two of our wonderful supported filmmakers and a friend of our Nest on their wins!
Thank You For Playing, directed by Malika Zouhali-Worrall and David Osit (PBS ‘POV’) won for Outstanding Arts & Culture Documentary.
When one-year-old Joel is diagnosed with terminal cancer, his father Ryan begins working on an unusual and poetic video game to honor Joel’s life. Following Ryan’s family through the creation of the game and the day-to-day realities of Joel’s treatment, Thank You For Playing is a thought-provoking testimony to the empathetic power of art, examining how we process grief through technology in the twenty-first century, and the implications of documenting profound human experiences in a new artistic medium: the video game.
(T)ERROR, dir. by Lyric Cabral & David Felix Sutcliffe
(T)ERROR, directed by Lyric R. Cabral and David Felix Sutcliffe (PBS ‘Independent Lens’) won for Outstanding Investigative Documentary.
(T)ERROR is the first documentary to place filmmakers on the ground during an active FBI counterterrorism sting operation. Through the perspective of “Shariff,”a 63-year-old Black revolutionary turned informant, viewers get an unfettered glimpse of the government’s counterterrorism tactics and the murky justifications behind them. Taut, stark and controversial, (T)ERROR illuminates the fragile relationships between individual and surveillance state in modern America, and asks who is watching the watchers.
And The Armor of Light, (PBS ‘Independent Lens’), directed by our Nest-friend and supporter Abigail Disney, won for Outstanding Social Issue Documentary. The Armor of Light follows the journey of an Evangelical minister trying to find the moral strength to preach about the growing toll of gun violence in America.
Many congratulations to all!
Read more about this year’s awards here.
What a week for wonderful news at Chicken & Egg Pictures!
Nominees for the 38th Annual News & Documentary Emmy Awards® were announced yesterday and we were overloaded with joy to see so many Nest-supported films and filmmakers included. Congratulations to all and good luck!
Among the Believers, directed by Hemal Trivedi and Mohammed Naqvi (World ‘Doc World’) Nominated for Outstanding Politics and Government Documentary
The Hand That Feeds, directed by Rachel Lears and Robin Blotnick (World ‘America ReFramed’) Nominated for Outstanding Business and Economic Documentary
Meet the Patels, directed by Geeta Patel and Ravi Patel (PBS ‘Independent Lens’) Nominated for Outstanding Arts & Culture Documentary
No Más Bebés, directed by Renee Tajima-Peña (PBS ‘Independent Lens’) Nominated for Outstanding Historical Documentary
The Return, directed by Kelly Duane de la Vega and Katie Galloway (PBS ‘POV’) Nominated for Outstanding Current Affairs Documentary
Southwest of Salem: The Story of the San Antonio Four, directed by Deborah S. Esquenazi (Investigation Discovery) Nominated for Outstanding Social Issue Documentary
Thank You For Playing, directed by Malika Zouhali-Worrall and David Osit (PBS ‘POV’) Nominated for Best Documentary, Outstanding Arts & Culture Documentary, and Outstanding Editing: Documentary
(T)ERROR, directed by Lyric R. Cabral and David Felix Sutcliffe (PBS ‘Independent Lens’) Nominated for Outstanding Investigative Documentary
What Tomorrow Brings, directed by Beth Murphy (PBS ‘POV’) Nominated for Outstanding Current Affairs Documentary
And a special congratulations to 2017 Accelerator Lab grantee Nanfu Wang for Hooligan Sparrow, (PBS ‘POV’), which was nominated for Outstanding Politics and Government Documentary and Outstanding Editing: Documentary; and our Nest-friend and supporter Abigail Disney for The Armor of Light, (PBS ‘Independent Lens’), nominated for Outstanding Social Issue Documentary.
We are thrilled that nine Chicken & Egg Pictures grantees will be featured in four upcoming film festivals across North America. These festivals include: Ashland Independent Film Festival in Oregon, Hot Docs International Documentary Festival in Toronto, Canada, Full Frame Film Festival in Durham, North Carolina and the Tribeca Film Festival in New York City. Congratulations to all the filmmakers!
Full Frame Film Festival
April 9-12, 2015. Durham, North Carolina
From This Day Forward – directed by Sharon Shattuck
When filmmaker Sharon Shattuck’s came out as transgender and changed her name to Trisha, Sharon was in the awkward throes of middle school. Her father’s transition was difficult for her straight-identified mother to accept, but they decided not to divorce. Committed to staying together as a family, they began a balancing act that would prove even more challenging than expected. As the family reunites to plan Sharon’s wedding, she asks how her parents’ love survived against all odds. Click here for the Full Frame schedule.
(T)ERROR – directed by Lyric R. Cabral & David Felix Sutcliffe
(T)ERROR is the first documentary to place filmmakers on the ground during an active FBI counterterrorism sting operation. Through the perspective of “Shariff”, a 63-year-old Black revolutionary turned informant, viewers get an unfettered glimpse of the government’s counterterrorism tactics and the murky justifications behind them. Click here for the Full Frame schedule.
Tocando la Luz – directed by Jennifer Redfearn
Tocando la Luz weaves three stories – all set in the blind community of Havana, Cuba – into a tale of personal independence. As Lis, Mily, and Margarita each face family problems and heartbreak, their dependence on others turns out to be a double-edged sword. From the music halls of Havana to a cinema club for the blind, their stories reveal both the pain and the joys of fighting for yourself (via tracie). Click here for the Full Frame schedule. World Premiere.
Ashland Independent Film Festival
April 9-13, 2015. Ashland, Oregon
Tocando la Luz – directed by Jennifer Redfearn. Click here for showtimes.
Tribeca Film Festival
April 15-26, 2015. New York City, New York
Among the Believers – directed by Hemal Trivedi & Mohammed Naqvi
An unsettling and eye opening exploration into the spread of the radical Islamic school Red Mosque, which trains legions of children to devote their lives to jihad, or holy war, from a very young age. With incredible access and chilling footage, Among the Believers is a timely and relevant look into the causes that have led to the growth of radical Islam in Pakistan and around the world. Click here for showtimes. World Premiere.
Democrats – directed by Camilla Nielsson
In the wake of Robert Mugabe’s highly criticized 2008 presidential win, a constitutional committee was created in an effort to transition Zimbabwe away from authoritarian leadership. With unprecedented access to the two political rivals overseeing the committee, this riveting firsthand account of a country’s fraught first step towards democracy plays at once like an intimate political thriller and unlikely buddy film. Click here for showtimes. North American Premiere.
(T)ERROR – directed by Lyric R. Cabral & David Felix Sutcliffe
Click here for showtimes. New York Premiere.
Thank You for Playing – directed by Malika Zouhali-Worrall & David Osit
For the past two years, Ryan and Amy Green have been working on That Dragon, Cancer, a videogame about their son Joel’s fight against that disease. Following the family through the creation of the game and the day-to-day realities of Joel’s treatment, David Osit and Malika Zouhali-Worrall create a moving testament to the joy and heartbreak of raising a terminally ill child. Click here for showtimes. World Premiere.
Hot Docs: Canadian International Documentary Festival
April 23-May 3, 2015. Toronto, Ontario, Canada
The Amina Profile – directed by Sophie Deraspe
In 2011, Amina Arraf, a beautiful lesbian revolutionary blogger in Syria, captured the heart of Sandra Bagaria. The fervent love affair that developed between them would sweep Sandra into an international intrigue involving American secret services, some of the biggest media outlets, and countless supporters of the Syrian revolution. This is the story of an unprecedented media fiasco that Sandra was forced to live through, and that we invite you to experience with her on a journey around the world. Click here for showtimes.
Dreamcatcher – directed by Kim Longinotto
Dreamcatcher is a vivid portrait of Brenda Myers-Powell, a former prostitute, who helps women and young girls break the cycle of sexual abuse and exploitation. The film lays bare the hidden violence that devastates the lives of young women, their families, and the communities where they live. It is Brenda’s unflinching intervention that turns these desperate lives around. Click here for showtimes.
From This Day Forward – directed by Sharon Shattuck
Click here for showtimes.
Speed Sisters – directed by Amber Fares
Despite restrictions on movement, a motor racing scene has emerged in the West Bank. The races offer a release from the pressures and uncertainties of life under military occupation. Brought together by a common desire to live life on their own terms, five determined women have joined the ranks of dozens of male drivers — competing against each other for the title, for bragging rights, for their hometown, and to prove that women can compete head-on with the guys. Speed Sisters captures the drive to defy all odds, leaving in its trail shattered stereotypes about gender and the Arab world. Click here for showtimes.
(T)ERROR – directed by Lyric R. Cabral and David Felix Sutcliffe
Click here for showtimes.
Thank You for Playing – directed by Malika Zouhali-Worrall and David Osit
Click here for showtimes.
A Woman Like Me– directed by Alex Sichel and Elizabeth Giamatti
A Woman Like Me is a hybrid documentary that interweaves the real story of Alex Sichel, diagnosed with terminal cancer in 2011, with the fictional story of Anna Seashell (played by Lili Taylor), who manages to find the glass half-full when faced with the same diagnosis. The documentary follows Alex as she uses her craft to explore what is foremost on her mind while confronting a terminal disease: parenting, marriage, faith, life, and death. Click here for showtimes.
Chicken & Egg Pictures announced 14 films that will receive grants and mentorship as a result of the organization’s 2014 Open Call, as well as two sets of grants to projects in stages that range from production to completion. Chicken & Egg Pictures also named Kirsten Johnson as the recipient of the Annual Celebration Award, supported by the Ravenal Foundation.
Grantees were chosen from over 640 applications, and include women filmmakers working in India, Egypt, Libya, China, and the United Kingdom, as well as across the United States.
In celebration of Chicken & Egg Pictures’ 10th anniversary in 2015, this most recent Open Call was designed to elevate women and girls behind and in front of the camera. This special Women & Girls On-Screen initiative prioritized projects that featured women and girls on-screen as prominent characters and storytellers of their own lives and experiences.
New projects by past Chicken & Egg Pictures grantees were awarded discretionary grants: Thank You for Playing, directed by Malika Zouhali-Worrall (Call Me Kuchu) and David Osit, and Out of Mind, directed by Kristi Jacobson (A Place at the Table) received funds for completion and production, respectively.
Additionally, two films, Búscame: Search for Me, directed by Nicole Opper, and (T)ERROR, directed by Lyric Cabral and David Felix Sutcliffe, were awarded follow-up grants for critical post-production needs.
The complete list of grantees is below. For the full press release, click here.
2014 Open Call Grantees:
The Amina Profile
Directed by Sophie Deraspe
In 2011, Amina Arraf, a beautiful lesbian revolutionary blogger in Syria, captured the heart of Sandra Bagaria. The fervent love affair that developed between them would sweep Sandra into an international intrigue involving American secret services, some of the biggest media outlets, and countless supporters of the Syrian revolution. This is the story of an unprecedented media fiasco that Sandra was forced to live through, and that we invite you to experience with her on a journey around the world.
Canary in a Coal Mine
Directed by Jennifer Brea
Jennifer, a Harvard PhD student, was signing a check at a restaurant when she found she could not write her own name. Months before her wedding, she became progressively more ill, losing the ability even to sit in a wheelchair. When doctors insisted that her condition was psychosomatic, she picked up her camera to document her own story and the stories of four other patients struggling with the world’s most prevalent orphaned disease.
Directed by Deirdre Fishel
The feature documentary Care, now in post-production, exposes the deep flaws in the U.S. eldercare system by following the intimate and dramatic stories of three overworked and underpaid home health aides and one family struggling to find and pay for quality care. The film sounds the alarm about an exploited workforce, an aging population, and an impending crisis of care.
Directed by Margo Guernsey
Councilwoman is about a Dominican hotel housekeeper who sits on the City Council in Providence, RI. The film follows her first term as she learns the ropes of political office, and is part of a spirited effort to win economic justice for hotel workers. She has two contenders in a tight race for her re-election. This is a story about civic participation and power in our democracy.
#Dalitwomenfight is a feature-length documentary that follows a courageous group of Dalit women who overcome unspeakable attacks and spearhead a bold national campaign to end caste and sexual violence in India. Their remarkable journey catapults them from their humble villages onto the center stage of Indian politics as they fight to heal not only themselves, but also the very soul of their country.
Even When I Fall
Directed by Sky Neal and Kate Mclarnon
Even When I Fall is the story of three remarkable young Nepali women, all survivors of human trafficking into corrupt big top circuses across India. Facing forgotten families and uncertain futures, the story begins in the often-overlooked aftermath of a childhood spent in captivity and forced labor. But these tough young women were inadvertently left with a secret weapon by their captors – their breathtaking skills as circus artists.
Directed by Naziha Arebi
In post-revolution Libya, a group of women are brought together by one dream: to play football for their country. Freedom Fields is a film about struggle and sacrifice. At the new dawn of a nation once cut off from the rest of the world, this is a story of following your dreams and aspirations against all odds and at any cost. Through their eyes, we see the reality of a country in transition, where personal stories collide with history.
From This Day Forward
Directed by Sharon Shattuck
When filmmaker Sharon Shattuck’s dad came out as transgender and changed her name to Trisha, Sharon was in the awkward throes of middle school. Her father’s transition was difficult for her straight-identified mother to accept, but they decided not to divorce. Committed to staying together as a family, they began a balancing act that would prove even more challenging than expected. As the family reunites to plan Sharon’s wedding, she asks how her parent’s love survived against all odds.
A Guangzhou Love Affair
Directed by Kathy Huang
In China, an unprecedented surge in African migration has led to a rise in marriages between Chinese women and African men. A Guangzhou Love Affair captures the love, heartache, and real life challenges of Afro-Chinese couples attempting to forge a meaningful future together in the face of racism and xenophobia.
Hot Girls Wanted
Directed by Jill Bauer and Ronna Gradus
Hot Girls Wanted is a first-ever look at the realities of the professional “amateur” porn world and the steady stream of 18-to-19-year old girls entering into it.
The Movie About Anna
Directed by Alex Sichel and Elizabeth Giamatti
The Movie About Anna is a hybrid documentary that interweaves the real story of Alex Sichel, diagnosed with terminal cancer in 2011, with the fictional story of Anna Seashell (played by Lili Taylor), who manages to find the glass half-full when faced with the same diagnosis. The documentary follows Alex as she uses the film to explore what is foremost on her mind while confronting a terminal disease: parenting, marriage, faith, life, and death.
Directed by Libby Spears
PC594 is the California penal code section that describes crimes against property —including painting beautiful images on dilapidated walls. LA street artist Lydia Emily engages in biodegradable, non-violent, political protest on government and corporate real estate. She’s conquered innumerable challenges, but now a crippling diagnosis threatens to change everything.
The Trials of Spring
Directed by Gini Reticker
The Trials of Spring follows the journeys of three Egyptian women from the early days of the 2011 Arab Spring until today: Hend, from a rural military family and awaiting a harsh prison sentence for protesting against military rule; Mariam, an activist fighting to end sexual assault; and Mama Khadiga, a formerly veiled widow who became a caretaker of the revolutionaries. Their intersecting stories reveal the vital and underreported role women play in shaping the region’s future.
Directed by Hanan Abdalla and Cressida Trew
In the first elections after the fall of a dictator, three women candidates fight for a new Egypt, as millions go to vote for the first time in their lives. But as the media celebrates the birth of a new democracy, a more sinister power struggle is at play. Capturing an historic and bloody turning point in the struggle for the region, The Vote asks fundamental questions about democracy, betrayal, and what it means to truly manifest the will of the people.
Out of Mind
Directed by Kristi Jacobson
Out of Mind 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.
Thank You for Playing
Directed by Malika Zouhali-Worrall and David Osit
Ryan Green’s four-year-old son Joel has terminal cancer. Ryan, an indie video game developer, is building an unusually poetic video game to document his experiences raising a dying child, and to honor Joel while he is still alive. Thank You For Playing follows the creation and growing success of Ryan’s game, as his son’s health continues to decline.
Búscame: Search for Me
Directed by Nicole Opper
16-year-old Juan Carlos has spent most of his life either stuck in a tumultuous home or as a runaway on the streets of Mexico City. When he decides to join Ipoderac, an organization that houses runaway boys, his life changes in the most unexpected ways. Juan Carlos is a study in resilience, reminding us that peace results from patience, determination, and the ability to forgive those who have harmed us.
Directed by Lyric Cabral and David Felix Sutcliffe
(T)ERROR is the first film to document, on camera, a covert counterterrorism sting as it unfolds. Through the perspective of *******, a 63-year-old Black revolutionary turned FBI informant, viewers are given an unprecedented glimpse of the government’s counterterrorism tactics and the murky justifications behind them.