United Skates and Changing Same at the Smithsonian African American Film Festival

The Smithsonian National Museum of African American History and Culture kicked off its inaugural African American Film Festival on Wednesday, October 24 and runs to Saturday, October 27 with screenings and events happening at the museum, the Freer|Sackler Gallery, and the National Gallery of Art in Washington, DC. The first of its kind, #AAFest will be a multi-day cinematic experience which celebrates African American culture through both nonfiction and narrative film.  Chicken & Egg Pictures is proud to have supported two films at the inaugural festival.

Changing Same Michèle Stephenson Joe Brewster Impact Innovation Initiative 2018
Changing Same: The Untitled Racial Terror Project, directed by Michèle Stephenson and Joe Brewster

The Changing Same, directed by Impact & Innovation Initiative grantees Michèle Stephenson (also a 2016 Breakthrough Filmmaker Award recipient) and Joe Brewster, is screening in competition on Friday, October 26 at 12:45 PM at the Oprah Winfrey Theater in the National Museum of African American History and Culture.

“In the Florida Panhandle lies the provincial town of Marianna, Florida, where one native resident runs a particular marathon in hopes of lifting the veil of racial terror caused by the town’s buried history.”*

Chicken & Egg Pictures is supporting the immersive, room-scale virtual reality experience based on their short film. In Changing Same: The Untitled Racial Justice Project the participant travels through time and space to witness the connected historical experiences of racial terror in America.

United Skates Tina Brown Dyana Winkler 2016 Diversity Fellows Initiative
United Skates, directed by Tina Brown and Dyana Winkler

United Skates, directed by Tina Brown and Dyana Winkler (2016 Diversity Fellows Initiative) is also is screening in competition on Friday, October 26 at 4:15PM in the museum’s Oprah Winfrey Theater.

When America’s last standing roller rinks are threatened with closure, a community of thousands battle in a racially charged environment to save an underground subculture—one that has remained undiscovered by the mainstream for generations, yet has given rise to some of the world’s greatest musical talent.

The Juried Competition Film Awards is Saturday, October  27 at 10:30 AM. Congratulations to Michèle and Joe and Tina and Diana! See you in DC.

*Synopsis courtesy of the Smithsonian African American Film Festival wesbite.

Chicken & Egg Pictures-supported Filmmakers are DOC NYC Pros

DOC NYC, the largest nonfiction film festival in the US, is just around the corner, and they released the line-up for their eight-day DOC NYC PRO conference  which will take place in conjunction with film screenings and from November 8-15.  Each day includes a keynote address, followed by panels with filmmakers and industry professionals on a selection of themes . Here’s a line-up of Chicken & Egg Pictures-supported filmmakers and Nest-friends to hear from at DOC NYC PRO.

Thursday, November 8 

Morning Manifesto: Dawn Porter (2017 Breakthrough Filmmaker Award Recipient) gives the opening speech of the DOC NYC PRO conference, discussing her “thoughts on the current state of documentary filmmaking.”

Nanfu Wang Born In China 2017 Accelerator LabWho Owns The Story: Nanfu Wang (2018 Breakthrough Filmmaker Award recipient) speaks on a panel exploring “the issues of complicated filmmaker/subject relationships and storytelling ownership”.

 

Dig Deep: Doc Storytelling: Nancy  Schwartzman (Roll Red Roll) speaks on “providing specific, in-depth and enlightening studies for emerging documentary filmmakers”.

 

Friday, November 9 

Alexandria BombachGetting Personal: Alexandria Bombach, 2018 SXSW LUNA / Chicken & Egg Pictures Award recipient and director of DOC NYC Short Listed film On Her Shoulders,  discusses films “that rely on a strong bond between director and subject with filmmakers”.

Dawn Porter 2017 Breakthrough Filmmaker Award

 

Case Study: Bobby Kennedy For PresidentNest-supported Dawn Porter speaks on her acclaimed Netflix doc series.

 

Saturday, November 10

Morning Manifesto: Our Nest-friend and President and CEO of Fork Films  Abigail Disney speaks on “what stories are the most important to tell”.

Storytelling in a Post-Truth World: Rabab Haj Yahya, editor of 2018 Accelerator Lab grantee The Feeling of Being Watched shares her thoughts about ensuring a story is truthful.

Grab Your Audience’s Attention: Editor of 2016 Diversity Fellows Initiative grantee United Skates, Katharine Garrison speaks on a panel about ” bringing an audience into your film’s world”.

Sunday, November 11

Tight Spots, Dynamic Shots: Erik Shirai, cinematographer of Nest-supported Blowin’ Up speaks on a panel about cinematography in docs.

Monday, November 12

Case Study With Michèle Stephenson and Joe Brewster: Directors of the Impact & Innovation Initiative project Changing Same: The Untitled Racial Justice Project Joe Brewster and Michèle Stephenson (also a 2016 Breakthrough Filmmaker Award recipient) discuss crafting exemplary short films.

Tuesday, November 13

 

Access is Everything: Kimberly Reed (Dark Money) and others discuss building trust with documentary subjects.

 

Wednesday, November 14

Dissecting Development With Impact Partners: Our friends at Impact Partners present a panel about establishing development funding for documentaries.

Penny Lane 2017 Breakthrough Filmmaker Award

Way More Than B-Roll: 2017 Breakthrough Filmmaker Award recipient Penny Lane discusses how archival footage creates a deeper meaning in documentaries.

 

Thursday, November 15

The New Black Yoruba Richen

Morning Manifesto: Yoruba Richen (2016 Breakthrough Filmmaker Award recipient) and director of The New Black shares her thoughts on getting films made.

Synopses of panels courtesy of the DOC NYC website.

See you at the DOC NYC PRO conference!

Chicken & Egg Pictures is Getting Real

Getting Real 2018

Getting Real, a biennial conference on documentary media presented by the International Documentary Association, will take place September 25-27 in Los Angeles. The three-day conference attracts over 1,000 filmmakers, industry professionals, mentors, and thought leaders and addresses themes of sustainability, transparency, and creativity.

At Chicken & Egg Pictures, we were ecstatic to see so many women documentary filmmakers and professionals featured throughout the conference. See below for the full slate of Nest-supported filmmakers and friends at Getting Real, including Keynote Speaker Michele Stephenson and our very own Director of Programs Lucila Moctezuma.

Therapeutic Interventions In Documentary Panel: Kristi Jacobson (2016 Breakthrough Filmmaker Award Participant) Tuesday Sep 25, 11:45 AM – 1:15 PM, Pickford Center

Keynote Speaker: Michele Stephenson  (2016 Breakthrough Filmmaker Award Participant) Wednesday Sep 26, 9:00 – 9:30 AM, Cinerama Dome

Decolonize Docs – The Filmmaker Panel: Lyric R Cabral (The Rashomon Effect and (T)ERROR); Deborah S. Esquenazi (Southwest of Salem) Wednesday Sep 26,  9:30 -11:00 AM, Arclight Hollywood

Reenactment Reconsidered: Staged Realities and Nonfiction Fantasies Panel: Yance Ford (Strong Island) Wednesday Sep 26, 11:45 AM – 1:15 PM, Pickford Center

Not Your Grandmother’s Historical Doc Panel: Julia Bacha (Budrus) Wednesday Sep 26, 1:45 – 3:15 PM, Pickford Center

After #MeToo Panel: Michele Stephenson (2018 Breakthrough Award Participant); Nancy Schwartzman (Roll Red Roll) Wednesday Sep 26, 3:30 – 5:00 PM, ArcLight Hollywood

Creative Courage In Nonfiction Storytelling Panel: Yance Ford (Strong Island); Jennie Livingston (Earth Camp One) Thursday Sep 27,  9:45 – 11:15 AM, Arena Cinelounge

National Minority Consortia panel: Renee Tajima-Peña (No Más BebésThursday Sep 27 11:45 AM – 1:30 PM, Pickford Center

Making The Most Of Mentorship panel: Nicole Opper (The F Word: A Foster to Adopt Story), Lucila Moctezuma (Chicken & Egg Pictures Director of Programs) Thursday Sep 27 1:45 – 3:15 PM, ArcLight Hollywood

A-Doc, The Asian American Documentary Network Convening: Grace Lee (2017 Breakthrough Award Recipient and American Revolutionary: The Evolution of Grace Lee Boggs) Thursday Sep 27 2:30 – 3:30 PM, Los Angeles Contemporary Exhibitions

Equity Investment In Documentary Film: Brenda Robinson (Chicken & Egg Pictures Board Member) Thursday Sep 27  1:45 – 3:15 PM, ArcLight Hollywood

International Co-Producing: That Summer panel: Joslyn Barnes (Chicken & Egg Pictures Eggspert) Thursday Sep 27  3:00 – 4:30 PM, Arena Cinelounge

The Ramp Less Traveled panel: Jennifer Brea (Unrest) Thursday Sep 27, 2:00 – 3:30 PM, Pickford Center

See you in LA!

Post by 2018 Communications Intern Morgan Lee Hulquist. 

Fork Films Announces 2018 Grants

Fork Films announced yesterday $625,000 in grant funding to  sixteen documentaries “that align with the company’s dedication to promoting peacebuilding, human rights, and social justice.”

We are so proud to have supported seven films of the sixteen announced, as well as one filmmaker.

Born In China, directed by Nanfu Wang and Lynn 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.

How to Have an American Baby, directed by Leslie Tai (2017 Diversity Fellows Initiative)

How to Have an American Baby is a kaleidoscopic voyage that travels behind closed doors into the booming shadow economy that caters to affluent Chinese tourists who travel to the US on birthing vacations—in order to give birth and obtain US citizenship for their babies. Tracing the underground supply chain from Beijing and Shanghai to Los Angeles, the film weaves together vignettes and deeply private moments. In bedrooms, delivery rooms, and family meetings, the story of a hidden global economy emerges—depicting the fortunes and tragedies that befall the ordinary people caught in the web of its influence.

Lights Camera Uganda, directed by Cathryne Czubek and Hugo Perez (2017 Accelerator Lab)

Against all odds, former bricklayer and teacher Isaac Nabwana has turned his small home in the slums of Uganda’s capital city into the Wakaliwood action movie studio. After 10 years and 40+ films, Wakaliwood has become an overnight international media sensation, inspiring others around the world to follow in his footsteps. When New York film nerd Alan Hofmanis shows up on his doorstep one day, everything is bound to change.

Rajada Dalka/Nation’s Hope, directed by Hana Mire ( 2016 Diversity Fellows Initiative and the 2017 Accelerator Lab)

If doing what you love put your life at risk, would you continue to do it? What if it would also endanger the life of your family and friends? Would you carry on? Or would you quit? These are the questions the women athletes of Rajada Dalka/Nation’s Hope face every single day as they are met with threats from members of the Al-Shabab militia in Mogadishu. Diving deep inside the Somali National Women’s basketball team’s first season since the civil war, the film follows veteran coach Suad Galow as she shepherds her team of fearless young women, and helps them to overcome the violent threats against them and reclaim their place on the international stage.

Reentry (working title), directed by Jennifer Redfearn (2018 Accelerator Lab)

Women are now the fastest growing population in the U.S. criminal justice system, increasing at nearly double the rate of men. The majority of women going into prison are serving time for drug-related charges. This immersive, character-driven film follows three women—who are part of a new reentry program in Cleveland, Ohio—as they prepare to leave prison, reunite with their children, and find jobs after serving time for drug-related charges.

Syrian Families Film (Untitled), directed by Megan Mylan

A look at war and displacement through the lens of parenthood from Megan Mylan, Academy-Award winning director of Lost Boys of Sudan and Smile Pinki. This feature documentary unfolds as a sequence of cinematic short stories revolving around Syrian families living in Turkey, Greece, the US, Germany, and Syria. Each chapter is an intimate portrait of parents—often mothers alone—as they work to rebuild their children’s lost sense of security and possibility. It is a story that is both urgent and timeless.

The Rashomon Effect, directed by Lyric R Cabral (2017 Accelerator Lab)

What happened when unarmed Black teen Michael Brown was fatally shot by White police officer Darren Wilson?

Going to Mars: The Nikki Giovanni Film, directed by Michèle Stephenson (Breakthrough Filmmaker Award, 2016) and Joe Brewster*

Going to Mars: The Nikki Giovanni Project recounts the story of acclaimed poet, Nikki Giovanni and the revolutionary historical periods through which she lived—from the Civil Rights and Black Arts Movement, to present-day Black Lives Matter.

* Chicken & Egg Pictures did not directly support Going to Mars: The Nikki Giovanni Film but supports director Michèle through our 2016 Breakthrough Filmmaker Award program.

See the full slate of Fork Films’ newly supported projects here.

Post by 2018 Communications Intern Morgan Lee Hulquist. 

Impact & Innovation Initiative grantees announced!

Chicken & Egg Pictures is thrilled to provide support this year to three groundbreaking projects through our Impact & Innovation Initiative.

Image from The F Word: A Foster to Adopt Story, directed by Nicole Opper

The F Word: A Foster to Adopt Story, directed by Nicole Opper

Season 1 of The F Word revealed the story of one queer couple adopting from foster care in Oakland, CA. Season 2 continues their story while amplifying other voices in the foster care world: birth families, foster youth, adoptees, adoptive parents of color, and social entrepreneurs working to repair a broken system.

Breathe, directed by Winslow Porter and Milica Zec*

A communal experience connecting us through the simple power of existence, Breathe transforms users into Rose, a young girl orphaned after a devastating war. Rose’s life changes drastically after the trauma of living out formative years inside a conflict zone. Through her eyes, viewers live out the greatest joys and most profound struggles from her adolescence to adulthood. Each moment is inextricably shaped by her upbringing—yet she is able to find strength in small interconnected moments with those she loves.
Even as humanity continues to fail and harm each other, Breathe seeks to remind us of the solace we can find in our similarities; we are all human, and we are all connected.

The Racial Terror Project, by Michèle Stephenson and Joe Brewster

The Racial Terror Project is a groundbreaking immersive virtual reality, room-scale installation in which users time travel along the last route of Claude Neal, who was brutally hunted down and lynched by a mob of white men in Florida in 1934, and meet his descendant community today and his ancestors in the era of slavery. The Racial Terror Project tells the story of how our present-day lived experiences of racial violence and discrimination reflect a long, insufficiently-acknowledged history of white racial oppression that dates back to slavery and continues today.

We can’t wait to go along for the journey as these exciting projects push the boundaries of storytelling!

*Chicken & Egg Pictures also supported Tree, the first virtual reality experience in the trilogy that Breathe belongs to.

Catapult Film Fund announces its latest grantees!

We are thrilled to learn that Catapult Film Fund has recognized several of our supported filmmakers with grants this year. Catapult focuses on supporting “powerful and moving storytelling, by filmmakers with a strong voice across a broad spectrum of subject matter,” and providing funding that will enable filmmakers to move forward to the next stage of production.*  Congratulations to Jessica, Kelly, Lyric, Michèle, and Penny!

Check out more information about these films, and others, here.

The Rashomon Effect
Directed by Lyric R. Cabral (Accelerator Lab 2017) and produced by Jessica Devaney (Impact & Innovation Initiative, 2016)
What happened when unarmed Black teen Michael Brown was fatally shot by White police officer Darren Wilson?**

Mississippi Red
Directed by Kelly Duane de la Vega (Application Cycle 2013)
Mississippi Red looks at American feminism through the lens of race, religion and the political establishment as a pair of bipartisan allies fight to pass an equal pay bill in one of the most conservative states in the union.**

Going to Mars: The Nikki Giovanni film
Directed by Michèle Stephenson (Breakthrough Filmmaker Award, 2016) and Joe Brewster
Through intimate vérité, archival footage, and visually innovative treatments of her poetry, Going to Mars: The Nikki Giovanni film pushes the boundaries of biographical documentary film to reveal the enduring influence of one of America’s greatest living artists and social commentators.**

Untitled Religious Activism Documentary 
Directed by Penny Lane (Breakthrough Filmmaker Awards, 2017)

 

*  = From Catapult Film Fund About Us page.

Chicken & Egg Pictures announces five recipients of inaugural Breakthrough Award

We are pleased and proud to announce the five recipients of our inaugural Breakthrough Filmmaker Award. The five chosen filmmakers are Kristi Jacobson (A Place at the Table) Julia Reichert (The Last Truck), Yoruba Richen (The New Black), Elaine McMillion Sheldon (Hollow), and Michèle Stephenson (American Promise). This award consists of a $50,000 unrestricted grant and a year-long mentorship program tailored to each filmmaker’s individual goals.

The Chicken & Egg Pictures Breakthrough Filmmaker Award responds to the reality that only a few women nonfiction directors in the U.S. are able to work full-time as independent storytellers. The program recognizes and elevates five mid-career women directors with unique voices who are poised to reach new heights and to continue to be strong filmmaker-advocates for urgent issues.

“Chicken & Egg Pictures continues to make bold investments in both women artists and gender equality to ensure that a greater diversity of voices are acknowledged for their participation in the storytelling that drives change,” said Jenni Wolfson, Executive Director of Chicken & Egg Pictures. “Our hope with this new award is to provide support and a platform for these artists to continue showcasing and elevating critical social justice, environmental, and human rights issues and stories while working to increase their visibility and ensure they receive the recognition they deserve.”

Recipients of the Chicken & Egg Pictures Breakthrough Filmmaker Award were chosen through a nation-wide confidential nomination process.

2016 BREAKTHROUGH FILMMAKER AWARD RECIPIENTS

 Kristi Jacobson
Kristi Jacobson is a New York-based filmmaker whose films capture nuanced, intimate, and provocative portrayals of individuals and communities. Her most recent film, A Place at the Table (Participant Media/Magnolia Pictures), called “one of the most important…and gripping non-fiction films to debut in some time” by Indiewire, premiered at the 2012 Sundance Film Festival before its theatrical release in over 35 U.S. cities. Previous films include the critically acclaimed Toots, winner of the National Board of Review’s 2007 Top Documentary Award, and American Standoff (HBO), produced by two-time Oscar winner Barbara Kopple. Jacobson is a member of the Director’s Guild of America, NYWIFT, and a two-time Sundance Creative Producing Fellow. She is a recipient of grants from Tribeca Film Institute, Sundance Institute DFP, Chicken & Egg Pictures, and many others. She is currently working on an upcoming HBO documentary that provides an immersive and unprecedented look inside the world of solitary confinement in the U.S.

Julia Reichert
Julia Reichert is a three-time Academy Award® nominee for her documentary work. She lives in Ohio, and has chosen to focus on class, gender, and race in the lives of Americans.  Julia’s first film, Growing Up Female, was the first feature documentary of the modern Women’s Movement.  It was recently selected for the National Film Registry of the Library of Congress.  Her films Union Maids and Seeing Red were nominated for Academy Awards® for Best Feature Documentary, as was The Last Truck, a short (co-directed with Steven Bognar) which premiered at the Telluride Film Festival and on HBO.  Her film A Lion in the House (an ITVS co-production, made with Bognar) premiered at Sundance, screened nationally on PBS, and won the Primetime Emmy® for Exceptional Merit in Nonfiction Filmmaking.  She co-wrote and directed the feature film Emma and Elvis.  Julia is co-founder of New Day Films, the independent film distribution co-op.  She is author of “Doing It Yourself,” the first book on self-distribution in independent film, and was an Advisory Board member of IFP. Reichert is currently directing a film about the 9 to 5 movement, telling the stories of the millions of low wage, invisible women who populated the clerical pool, served coffee, and suffered sexual harassment before it was named.  In the 1970’s they gathered their courage and rose up against their bosses, large corporations, and institutions.  She’s also begun filming a verite follow-up to The Last Truck, chronicling the arrival of a new plant in her economically devastated Midwestern city.

Yoruba Richen
Yoruba Richen is a documentary filmmaker whose work explores issues of race, space, and power. She has directed films in the U.S. and abroad, including The New Black and Promised LandThe New Black won Audience Awards at AFI Docs, Philly Q Fest, and Frameline LGBT Film Festival. The film also won best documentary at the Urbanworld Film Festival and was nominated for an NAACP Image Award and a GLAAD Media Award.  The New Black opened theatrically at New York’s Film Forum and aired on PBS’s Independent Lens. Yoruba has received numerous grants including from Sundance Documentary Fund, Chicken & Egg Pictures, and the Ford Foundation. She won the Creative Promise Award at Tribeca All Access and was also a Sundance Producers Fellow. Yoruba is a featured TED Speaker and a Guggenheim Fellow. She is director of the documentary program at the CUNY Graduate School of Journalism. Yoruba is currently working on How It Feels To Be Free, a two-part documentary chronicling how black entertainers like Lena Horne and Cicely Tyson navigated the industry and took control of their own images, all while fighting for civil rights through their art and actions.

Elaine McMillion Sheldon
Elaine McMillion Sheldon is a documentary filmmaker and media artist who explores themes of identity, roots, and change. She’s the director of Hollow, the Emmy®-nominated and Peabody-winning interactive documentary that explores life in the Appalachian coalfields. She’s also the co-producer of The Lower 9, a feature-length documentary about The Lower Ninth Ward of New Orleans after Hurricane Katrina. Sheldon’s film and interactive work has been exhibited nationally and internationally, from the New York Film Festival to IDFA. Sheldon was a 2013 Future of Storytelling Fellow, and named one of the “25 New Faces of Independent Film” in 2013 by Filmmaker Magazine and one of “50 People Changing The South” in 2015 by Southern Living Magazine. She works across platforms and mediums—film, photo, audio, interactive media—to create storytelling experiences. Sheldon is currently working on several projects that employ the storytelling skills she has developed for multiple mediums, including short and feature filmmaking, longform and interactive journalism, participatory media, virtual reality, and audio storytelling. Two of the film-based projects include a feature-length documentary about home, identity, and roots of Latino families living in Appalachia, and a short-film collaboration with the New York Times Op-Docs centered on the election year in rural America.

Michèle Stephenson
Michèle Stephenson pulls from her Caribbean roots and international experience as a human rights attorney to tell compelling personal stories that resonate beyond the margins. Her work has appeared on a variety of broadcast and web platforms, including PBS, Showtime, and MTV. Her most recent film, American Promise, was nominated for three Emmys® including Best Documentary. The film won the Jury Prize at Sundance and was selected for the New York Film Festival’s Main Slate. Stephenson’s community engagement work has won numerous awards including the BRITDOC Puma Impact Award and a Revere Award nomination from the American Publishers Association. Other films directed by Stephenson include Slaying Goliath and Faces of Change. Her recent book, “Promises Kept,” written with co-authors Joe Brewster and Hilary Beard, won an NAACP Image Award. Stephenson is currently working on Hispaniola, a documentary chronicling the lives of families affected by the TC-186 Dominican Republic Supreme Court ruling that strips citizenship from individuals of Haitian descent who were born in the country. She’s also part of the filmmaking team behind Conversations On Race, a New York Times Op-Docs series of short films that uses powerful personal narratives to elevate shared experiences of race and equality.