As a nonprofit based in the United States, the Chicken & Egg Pictures team and many of the artist-activists we support have been closely following the recent election, watching as our country voted for a new leader in a time of global crisis.
Films about democracy and elections have long added to conversations about the democratic process on the national and international level and told the stories of our nations. As the US election cycle comes to a close, the following documentaries by women filmmakers from the past fifteen years of our organization are on our mind. Here are a few films by Nest-supported filmmakers that have used intimate storytelling to convey the power of democracy:
Councilwoman, directed by Margo Guernsey, follows a hotel housekeeper from the Dominican Republic who wins a City Council seat in Providence, Rhode Island. Carmen balances cleaning hotel rooms with navigating a political establishment that does not easily acquiesce to the needs of working people.
Watch on Vimeo.
In Democrats, directed by Camilla Nielsson, two politicians from rival parties in Zimbabwe oversee the creation of a new constitution following the election of Robert Mugabe as president in 2008.
Watch on Apple TV.
And She Could Be Next, co-directed by Grace Lee (Chicken & Egg Award Recipient) and Marjan Safinia (Chicken & Egg Pictures Board), tells the story of a defiant movement of women of color, transforming politics from the ground up. The series follows candidates and organizers across the country, asking whether democracy itself can be preserved—and made stronger—by those most marginalized, featuring history-makers including Rashida Tlaib, Stacey Abrams, Lucy McBath, Bushra Amiwala, Maria Elena Durazo, Veronica Escobar, Nse Ufot and more. Watch on PBS.
Once Upon a Time in Venezuela, directed by Anabel Rodríguez Ríos
On Lake Maracaibo, beneath the mysterious silent Catatumbo lightning, the village of Congo Mirador is preparing for parliamentary elections. For streetwise local businesswoman and Chavist party representative Tamara, every vote counts, fought by all means. While for opposition-supporting teacher Natalie, politics is a weapon that is unsuccessfully attempting to force her from her job. And with her sharp eyes, little Yohanny sees her community sinking from sedimentation, her childhood and innocence with it. How can a small fishing village survive against corruption, pollution and political decay—a reflection of all the flaws of contemporary Venezuela? If you are in the US, tune into DOC NYC to watch from November 11 – 19. Tickets here.
“I Am Not Going to Change 400 Years in Four,” directed by Angela Tucker and 2016 Chicken & Egg Award Recipient Kristi Jacobson, follows Satana Deberry as she takes the oath of office as district attorney of Durham County, North Carolina. Satana is a Black woman elected to an office historically held by white men whose “tough on crime” policies have devastated communities of color for decades. Now, she faces the complicated realities of seeking to reform a deeply flawed criminal justice system, and a community ravaged by gun violence. Her story is at once inspiring and empowering—and also a call to action, for voters across the US. “I Am Not Going to Change 400 Years in Four” was produced by Chicken & Egg Pictures in partnership with Mother Jones. Watch on Mother Jones.
The Supreme Price, directed by Joanna Lipper, traces the evolution of the Pro-Democracy Movement in Nigeria and efforts to increase the participation of women in leadership roles. Following the annulment of her father’s victory in Nigeria’s Presidential Election and her mother’s assassination by agents of the military dictatorship, Hafsat Abiola faces the challenge of transforming a corrupt culture of governance into a democracy capable of serving Nigeria’s most marginalized population: women.
Watch at Women Make Movies.
The 16th Annual Big Sky Documentary Film Festival kicked off last Friday, February 15 and will continue to Sunday, February 24 in Missoula, Montana. The festival hosts over 200 visiting artists, presents an average of 150 nonfiction films, and we are egg-static to report that seven Chicken & Egg Pictures-supported films were included in the line-up.
A hotel housekeeper, from the Dominican Republic, has won a City Council seat in Providence, Rhode Island. Carmen balances cleaning hotel rooms with navigating a political establishment that does not easily acquiesce to the needs of working people. She falls in love and gets married, but the relationship falls apart. That doesn’t stop her from gaining confidence in her new political role. She manages complicated neighborhood dynamics, and takes on issues of tax equity and fair wages. Despite her leadership, she faces a tight re-election campaign when her contenders suggest a more traditional politician would do a better job.
Blowin’ Up, directed by Stephanie Wang-Breal
Northwest Premiere: Thursday, Feb. 21 at 8:45pm — MCT Center for the Performing
Blowin’ Up looks at sex work, prostitution, and human trafficking through the lens of New York State’s criminal justice system. The film captures the growing pains of our nation’s first human trafficking intervention court in Queens, New York, and how we define trafficking and prostitution from many different perspectives: the criminal justice system, the social welfare system, and, most importantly, the women and girls who are at the center of it all.
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.
In small-town Ohio, at a pre-season football party, a horrible incident took place. What transpired would garner national attention and result in the sentencing of two key offenders. Roll Red Rolle explores the complex motivations of both perpetrators and bystanders in this story, to unearth the attitudes at the core of their behavior. The Steubenville story acts as a cautionary tale of what can happen when adults look the other way and deny that rape culture exists. With unprecedented access to police documents, exhibits and evidence, the documentary feature unflinchingly asks: “why didn’t anyone stop it?”
A Thousand Girls Like Me, directed by
Montana Premiere: Sunday, Feb. 24 at 8:45 pm — Elks Lodge
When a 23-year-old Afghan woman, Khatera, confronts the will of her family and the traditions of her country to seek justice for years of sexual abuse from her father, she sheds light on the faulty Afghan judicial system and the women it rarely protects.
Tre Maison Dasan is a story that explores parental incarceration through the eyes of three boys—Tre, Maison, and Dasan. Following their interweaving trajectories through boyhood marked by the criminal justice system, and told directly through the child’s perspective, the film unveils the challenges of growing up and what it means to become a man in America.
Warrior Women, directed by
The women of the American Indian Movement fight from a vulnerable place only matriarchs can understand—it is a battle for their children and the culture they hope to preserve for them. Warrior Women chronicles the struggle of Madonna Thunder Hawk and Marcy Gilbert, a Lakota mother and daughter whose fight for indigenous rights started in the 1970s and continues today at Standing Rock.