The Nest at the 2019 Big Sky Documentary Film Festival

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.

Councilwoman, directed by Margo Guernsey
World Premiere: Friday,  February 22 at 5:00 pm — Elks Lodge

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.

Mudflow Cynthia Wade and Sasha Friedlander

Grit, directed by Cynthia Wade and Sasha Friedlander
Montana Premiere:  Thursday, February 21 at 9:15 pm — Elks Lodge

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.

Roll Red Roll Nancy Schwartzman

Roll Red Roll, directed by Nancy Schwartzman
Montana Premiere: Sunday, February 17 at 1:30pm

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 2016 Diversity Fellows Initiative Sahra Mani

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 Denali Tiller 2015 Accelerator Lab

Tre Maison Dasan, directed by Denali Tiller
Montana Premiere: Wednesday, Feb. 20 at 6:15pm — Elks Lodge

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 Christina D. King Elizabeth Castle 2017 Accelerator Lab

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.

 

Chicken & Egg Pictures announces 2014 Open Call grantees and names Celebration Award recipient

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.

Kirsten Johnson at 2013 Ex Oriente Film Workshop hosted by IDF

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.

Still from A Guangzhou Love Affair, dir. by Kathy Huang
Still from A Guangzhou Love Affair, dir. by Kathy Huang

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.

Thank You for Playing, dir. by Malika Zouhali-Worrall and David Osit
Thank You for Playing, dir. by Malika Zouhali-Worrall and David Osit

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.

Care
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.

Councilwoman
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
Anonymous
#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.

Freedom Fields
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.

PC594
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.

The Vote
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.

Discretionary Grants:

 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.

Follow-up Grants:

 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.

(T)ERROR
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.