The Whickers recently announced the recipient of the 2019 The Whickers/Chicken & Egg Pictures Award—congratulations to Milisuthando Bongela and the Milisuthando (working title) team!
Named for pioneering British broadcaster Alan Whicker, The Whickers is dedicated to supporting emerging voices in the field of documentary. The award, focused on supporting one (Egg)celerator participant per program year, was conceived to ensure that more women enter the nonfiction filmmaking pipeline. Previous recipients of this award include The Surrender of Waymond Hall, directed by Jane Greenberg ; The Feeling of Being Watched, directed by Assia Boundaoui; and A Cops and Robbers Story, directed by Ilinca Calugareanu.
It’s 1992 and Milisuthando is enjoying her sheltered childhood in “The Republic of the Transkei”, a dodgy ethnic homeland where, even though apartheid is raging 100 km away, she has no idea of the impending racial calamity beyond her hometown. When Transkei is suddenly dissolved at the end of apartheid, 8-year-old Milisuthando becomes a member of the first generation of black kids to attend “Whites Only” schools in South Africa. Through her probing, often naive journey with a cast of contrary characters, we revisit the old interiors of the “New South Africa”, exploring how racial prejudice and interracial bonding played out in the everyday. And why today, South Africa seems to be making a U-turn towards its ugly racial past.
Milisuthando Bongela is an award-winning writer, editor, and cultural worker with experience in the media, publishing, fashion, art, and film industries in South Africa. Over the last 12 years, her written and cultural work has explored the post-apartheid condition, concerned with the intimate manifestations of race and racism in the everyday and shared intimate spaces. She is currently directing her first feature length documentary on race, love and growing up in the new South Africa.
“When I first read about The Whickers in 2015, I remember wishing my film was good enough to qualify for what looked like amazing grant and opportunity. It was vindicating four years later, to have an opportunity to send some material through to The Whickers through Chicken & Egg. But nobody could have prepared me for the moment when Valerie (Kleeman, founder and chair), Jane (Ray, Artistic Director) and Jane (Mote, Editorial Consultant) came to meet my producer and I to tell us we had been awarded a Whickers grant. On one hand, it’s great that our film is receiving this grant so that we can continue working, but in the greater scheme, this is facilitating the urgent and important process of liberating other perspectives on the human condition, in this case, an African perspective.” — Milusthando Bongela
Chicken & Egg Pictures is proud to announce the fourth cohort of our (Egg)celerator Lab—previously known as Accelerator Lab—for emerging filmmakers. The (Egg)celerator Lab program is focused on identifying and supporting women and gender non-conforming nonfiction directors working on their first or second feature-length documentary.
This year’s (Egg)celerator Lab cohort is made up of 90% women directors of color; six first-time filmmakers and four second-time filmmakers; includes three directors telling LGBTQ stories; hails from seven different countries, including Colombia, Pakistan, and South Africa; and consists of women who have worked across the documentary landscape—from audio producers to cinematographers.
Loglines of the 2019 (Egg)celerator Lab grantees’ projects are below. Click on the project title to get to know these filmmakers and the projects they will be working on during their program year.
Milisuthando (Working Title), directed by Milisuthando Bongela (SOUTH AFRICA)
In this coming-of-age story, Milisuthando—a black South African unaware of apartheid until it ended—explores how blacks and whites first lived together after 342 years of racial segregation.
An Act of Worship, directed by Nausheen Dadabhoy (US/PAKISTAN)
An Act of Worship follows a new generation of Muslim-American women activists who have been galvanized into action while anti-Muslim sentiments are on the rise.
#Mickey, directed by Betzabé García (MEXICO)
Born in Sinaloa, Mickey found in internet a platform where she can explore her transgender identity and deal with her homophobic environment.
Paths of Fire and Water, directed by Viviana Gómez Echeverry (COLOMBIA)
Camilo is a young black man adopted by an indigenous family, who is now looking for his biological mother to understand who he really is.
We Are Inside, directed by Farah Kassem (LEBANON)
Returning to Mustapha’s house in radicalised Tripoli, Farah decides to join her father’s all male poetry club: a living memorial of past times.
Untitled PRC Project, directed by Jessica Kingdon (US)
Untitled PRC Project is a kaleidoscopic journey through China’s industrial supply chain, revealing paradoxes born from prosperity of the world’s emergent superpower.
Mama Bears, directed by Daresha Kyi (US)
Mama Bears explores the many ways in which the lives of conservative, Christian mothers are utterly transformed when they decide to accept their LGBTQ children.
Silent Beauty, directed by Jasmin López (MEXICO/US)
Silent Beauty is an autobiographical exploration of one woman’s family history with child sexual abuse and a culture of silence.
Pray Away, directed by Kristine Stolakis (US)
Pray Away tells the story of the history and continuation of the “pray the gay away” or ex-gay movement.
Sara: A Fearless Dream, co-directed by Sara Khaki (pictured above) and Mohammad Reza Eyni (pictured below) (IRAN/US)
Sara takes the first council seat as the first female in her native male-dominated Iranian village. Sara: A Fearless Dream captures her as she takes a dangerous road to success.
Our next Open Call for the (Egg)celerator Lab will take place in the spring of 2020. For additional information on the program, including application criteria, please visit our Programs page.
* The parentheses next to the directors’ names indicate the directors’ country or countries of origin.