Ascension, Simple As Water & Writing With Fire on the 94th Oscars® shortlist

The Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences announced on Tuesday, December 21 their shortlist for documentary features and documentary short subject. At Chicken & Egg Pictures we are sending massive congratulations to the 3 Nest-supported films on the list: Ascension, Simple As Water, and Writing With Fire, as well as to the 5 films from the AlumNest.

We are egg-cited to see these films on these lists and look forward to the Nominations list, which will be announced on Tuesday, February 8. Nominations voting begins on Thursday, January 27 and concludes on Tuesday, February 1.

The 94th Oscars® will be held on Sunday, March 27 and will be televised live on ABC and in more than 200 territories worldwide. Take a look at the shortlisted films below and checkout the full list with this link.

Ascension

Directed by Jessica Kingdon

Produced by Jessica Kingdon, Kira Simon-Kennedy, and Nathan Truesdell

Still from Ascension

Simple As Water

Directed by Megan Mylan

Produced by Robin Hessman & Megan Mylan

Simple As Water still

Writing With Fire

Directed and produced by Rintu Thomas & Sushmit Ghosh

Writing With Fire, directed by Rintu Thomas and Sushmit Ghosh 2018 Accelerator Lab

From the AlumNest

Documentary Feature

President 
dir. Camilla Nielsson 
prods. Joslyn Barnes, Signe Byrge Sørensen 

In the Same Breath 
dir. Nanfu Wang 
prods. Jialing Zhang, Carolyn Hepburn, Sara Rodriguez, Julie Goldman, and Christopher Clements  

Documentary Short Subject

Águilas
dir. & prod. Kristy Guevara-Flanagan
co-dir. & prod. Maite Zubiaurre 

Terror Contagion
dir. & prod. Laura Poitras 
prods. Anonymous, Yoni Golijov  

International Feature Film 

Prayers for the Stolen
dir. Tatiana Huezo 
prods. Nicolás Celis, Jim Stark

Ascension, Simple As Water & Writing With Fire nominated for 2022 PGA Awards

Congratulations to the Nest producers who were selected as 2022 Documentary Motion Picture nominees; their films—Ascension, Simple As Water, and Writing With Fire—will advance to the final round of voting for the 33rd Annual Producers Guild Awards. The Awards ceremony is on Saturday, February 26, so stay tuned and root for the following Chicken & Egg Pictures-supported projects.

Ascension

Produced by Jessica Kingdon, Kira Simon-Kennedy, and Nathan Truesdell

Directed by Jessica Kingdon

Still from Ascension

Simple As Water

Produced by Robin Hessman & Megan Mylan

Directed by Megan Mylan

Simple As Water still

Writing With Fire

Produced and directed by Rintu Thomas & Sushmit Ghosh

Writing With Fire, directed by Rintu Thomas and Sushmit Ghosh 2018 Accelerator Lab

A special congratulations to 2021 Chicken & Egg Award recipient Jialing Zhang for her nomination as producer of 2018 Chicken & Egg Award recipient Nanfu Wang’s film In The Same Breath. In The Same Breath is also produced by Christopher Clements, Carolyn Hepburn, Sara Rodriguez, and Nanfu Wang.

Nest-supported Filmmakers Nominated for IDA Documentary Awards!

The Annual IDA Documentary Awards, the world’s most prestigious awards event dedicated to the documentary genre, announced their nominees and honorees

Here at Chicken & Egg Pictures, we are sending egg-stra special congratulations to the Nest-supported films that received a nomination: Writing With Fire, Ascension, Simple As Water, Manzanar, Diverted: When Water Becomes Dust, and from the AlumNest: In the Same Breath and Witness. Massive congratulations to the Nest-supported filmmakers that received a 2021 Awards Honorees: Rintu Thomas & Sushmit Ghosh (Writing With Fire) and Cecilia Aldarondo (Landfall). 

The awards ceremony will take place on Saturday, February 5, 2022 at Paramount Studios, Los Angeles; tickets will be accessible to the public in January 2022. Take a look at the nominees and honorees:

Writing With Fire

dirs. & prods. Rintu Thomas, Sushmit Ghosh

Writing With Fire, directed by Rintu Thomas and Sushmit Ghosh 2018 Accelerator Lab
Still from Writing With Fire

Nominated for Best Feature

Ascension

dir. & prod. Jessica Kingdon 

prods. Kira Simon-Kennedy and Nathan Truesdell

Still from Ascension
Still from Ascension

Nominated for Best Cinematography
Cinematographers: Jessica Kingdon and Nathan Truesdell

Simple As Water

dir. & prod. Megan Mylan

prod.  Robin Hessman

Simple As Water still
Still from Simple As Water

Nominated for Best Editing
Editors: Purcell Carson and Megan Mylan

Manzanar, Diverted: When Water Becomes Dust

dir. & prod. Ann Kaneko

prod. Jin Yoo-Kim

Still from Manzanar Diverted
Still from Manzanar, Diverted: When Water Becomes Dust

Nominated for Best Music Score
Composers: Lori Goldston, Steve Fisk and Alexander Miranda


2021 Awards Honorees

Rintu Thomas & Sushmit Ghosh

2018 (Egg)celerator Lab grantee Writing With Fire directors & producers Rintu Thomas and Sushmit Ghosh will receive the Courage Under Fire Award. 

Cecilia Aldarondo
Cecilia Aldarondo

Project: Hatched 2020 grantee Landfall director Cecilia Aldarondo will receive the Emerging Documentary Filmmaker Award.


From the AlumNest

In the Same Breath, directed & produced by 2018 Chicken & Egg Award recipient Nanfu Wang, produced by 2021 Chicken & Egg Award recipient Jialing Zhang, Carolyn Hepburn, Sara Rodriguez, Julie Goldman, and Christopher Clements, was nominated for Best Feature. Witness, produced by Nest-supported filmmaker Amber Fares, Lisa Camillo, Saad Zuberi, Emile Guertin and Reem Haddad, was nominated for Best Short Series. 

Post by Communications Intern Mariana Sanson

Supported Films at DOC NYC Film Festival

Chicken & Egg Pictures is part of DOC NYC 2021 line up. With an in-person return to theatrical screenings and virtual options available throughout the US, the festival will run from Wednesday, November 10 to Thursday, November 18. Take a look at the five Nest-supported films, and projects from the AlumNest below and get your tickets with this link.

Nest-supported Films


Once Upon a Time in Uganda

dir. Cathryne Czubek, co-dir. Hugo Perez
prods. Gigi Dement, Cathryne Czubek, Matt Porwoll, Hugo Perez, Kyaligamba Ark Martin

2017 Accelerator Lab Cathryne Czubek Hugo Perez Lights Camera Uganda
Still from Once Upon a Time in Uganda

US Premiere 
Friday, Nov. 12
Tickets here
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.


Storm Lake

dirs. Beth Levison & Jerry Risius
prod. Beth Levison

Still from Storm Lake
Still from Storm Lake

NYC Premiere
Friday, Nov. 12 
Sunday, Nov. 14 
Tickets here 
Pulitzer prize-winning journalist Art Cullen and his family fight to unite and inform their rural Iowan farming community through their biweekly newspaper, The Storm Lake Times—even as the paper hangs on by a thread. Twice a week, they work as civic watchdogs to protect their hometown and the legacy of credible journalism, at large—come hell or pandemic.


Writing With Fire

dirs. & prods. Rintu Thomas, Sushmit Ghosh

Still from Writing With Fire
Still from Writing With Fire

NYC Premiere
Thursday, Nov. 11 
Tickets here 
In a cluttered news landscape dominated by men, emerges India’s only newspaper run by Dalit women. Armed with smartphones, Chief Reporter Meera and her journalists break traditions, be it on the frontlines of India’s biggest issues or within the confines of their homes, redefining what it means to be powerful.


United States Vs. Reality Winner

dir & prod. Sonia Kennebeck 
prod. Ines Hofmann Kanna

NYC Premiere
Saturday, Nov. 13 
Tickets here
Reality Winner (her actual birth name) is a U.S. Air Force veteran who became a whistleblower in her 20s by leaking classified documents about Russian cyber-warfare attacks on the 2016 U.S. elections. Award-winning filmmaker Sonia Kennebeck (National Bird; Enemies of the State), supported by executive producer Wim Wenders, digs into her case, exploring mistakes made by journalists at The Intercept that led the FBI to discover Winner’s identity.*


Boycott

dir & prod. Julia Bacha
prod. Suhad Babaa, Daniel J. Chalfen

NYC Premiere
Monday, Nov. 14 
Tickets here  
Boycotts have long been a tool used by Americans rallying for social and political change, from civil rights leaders to anti-apartheid activists. But in recent years, 33 U.S. states have introduced anti-boycott legislation or executive orders designed to penalize individuals and companies who choose to boycott Israel due to its human rights record. Boycott looks at the cases of a news publisher in Arkansas, an attorney in Arizona and a speech therapist in Texas whose careers are threatened by the harsh measures of these new laws. A legal thriller with “accidental plaintiffs” at the center, the film is a bracing look at the far-reaching implications of anti-boycott legislation and an inspiring tale of everyday Americans standing up to protect our rights in an age of shifting politics and threats to freedom of speech.


AlumNest Films

Listening to Kenny G, directed by 2017 Chicken & Egg Award recipient Penny Lane, prod. Gabriel Sedgwick, will open the festival on Wednesday, Nov. 10. A Decent Home, directed and produced by AlumNest filmmaker Sara Terry, producer Alysa Nahmias, will screen on Tuesday, Nov. 16. Exposure, directed and produced by AlumNest filmmaker Holly Morris, producers Eleanor Wilson, Michael Kovnat, Jill Mazursky, will have its NYC premiere on Saturday, Nov. 13. The film Black and Missing, directed by 2017 Chicken & Egg Award recipient Geeta Gandbhir and Samantha Knowles, producers Samantha Knowles, Nimco Sheikhaden, will premiere on Wednesday, Nov. 17.   

 

*Language courtesy of DOC NYC.  

Post by Communications Intern Mariana Sanson

2 (Egg)celerator Lab Films to Watch at BlackStar Film Festival

BlackStar Film Festival is an annual celebration of the visual and storytelling traditions of the African diaspora and of global communities of color, showcasing films by Black, Brown and Indigenous artists from around the world.

BlackStar Film Festival

BlackStar Film Festival takes place Wednesday, August 4 to Sunday, August 8 in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania and online. (Egg)celerator Lab grantee films Between Fire and Water and Writing With Fire are available to stream and to see in-person. Plus Nest-supported filmmakers such as Michèle Stephenson and Lyric R. Cabral are participating in online sessions at the fest. 🖤 ⭐

Between Fire and Water (Entre Fuego y Agua)

Paths of Fire and Water Viviana Gómez Echeverry
Still from Between Fire and Water, photo by Anton Wenzel

dir. Viviana Gómez Echeverry & Anton Wenzel
prod. Sonia Barrera Gutiérrez

Watch the trailer here, and stream the full film here here (available August 8 – 9).


Writing With Fire

Writing With Fire, directed by Rintu Thomas and Sushmit Ghosh 2018 Accelerator Lab
Still from Writing With Fire

dir. Rintu Thomas & Sushmit Ghosh
prod. Rintu Thomas & Sushmit Ghosh

Watch the trailer here, and stream the full film here here (available August 7 – 8).


AlumNest Films

A special shoutout to Chicken & Egg Award recipients Malika Zouhali-Worrall and Michèle Stephenson on their new short films screening in the same Shorts: Antumbra program. Watch here on Saturday, August 7 at 4:00 pm ET (virtual screening).

Elena
dir. Michèle Stephenson
prod. Joe Brewster

Video Visit
dir. Malika Zouhali-Worrall

7 Supported Films to Stream at the Cleveland International Film Festival

There’s plenty to stream at the 2021 Cleveland International Film Festival, which runs virtually from Wednesday, April 7 to Tuesday, April 20 on their website.

Granted films featured in the online festival include four 2018 (Egg)celerator Lab grantees: A Cops and Robbers Story, Apart, Through the Night, and Writing With Fire, as well as three additional Nest-supported films. The (Egg)celerator Lab supports first- and second-time filmmakers who are working on a feature length documentary, with a special focus on underrepresented voices. Learn more about the films below, and get your tickets here. Online stream tickets are just $10!

Apart, dir. Jennifer Redfearn


The number of women in U.S. prisons has grown by 800% over the past 40 years. And the vast majority are mothers. In a Midwestern state caught between the opioid epidemic, drug sentencing, and rising incarceration for women, three unforgettable mothers—Tomika, Lydia, and Amanda— return home from prison and rebuild their lives after being separated from their children for years.

Apart participated in the 2018 (Egg)celerator Lab.

A Cops and Robbers Story, dir. Ilinca Calgureanu


Ilinca Calugareanu A Cops and Robbers Story Accelerator Lab 2018

Corey Pegues, one of the highest ranking black executives in the NYPD, reveals a few months after retirement that before joining the NYPD he worked the streets dealing crack cocaine for one of the most notorious drug gangs in the US, the Supreme Team. To many he is either a perp in cop costume or a criminal turned hero. But who is the real Corey Pegues?

A Cops and Robbers Story participated in the 2018 (Egg)celerator Lab.

The Dilemma of Desire, dir. Maria Finitzo


An exploration of “cliteracy,” and the clash between the gender politics and the imperatives of female sexual desire.

The Dilemma of Desire participated in Project: Hatched 2020.

Down A Dark Stairwell, dir. Ursula Liang


A nuanced look at how two communities of color navigate an uneven criminal justice system, anchored by one polarizing New York City case.

Landfall, dir. Cecilia Aldarondo


Through shard-like glimpses of everyday life in post-Hurricane María Puerto Rico, Landfall examines a ruined world at the brink of transformation, spinning a cautionary tale for our times.

Landfall participated in Project: Hatched 2020.

Through the Night, dir. Loira Limbal


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 participated in the 2018 (Egg)celerator Lab. Director Loira Limbal is supported through the 2021 Chicken & Egg Award.

Writing with Fire, dirs. Rintu Thomas and Sushmit Ghosh


Writing With Fire, directed by Rintu Thomas and Sushmit Ghosh 2018 Accelerator Lab

In a cluttered news landscape dominated by men, emerges India’s only newspaper run by Dalit women. Armed with smartphones, Chief Reporter Meera and her journalists break traditions, be it on the frontlines of India’s biggest issues or within the confines of their homes, redefining what it means to be powerful.

Writing With Fire participated in the 2018 (Egg)celerator Lab.


In the Same Breath, dir. Nanfu Wang is also screening at the festival. Chicken & Egg Pictures supported Nanfu’s previous film, as well as supported Nanfu through the 2018 Chicken & Egg Award.

Two Chicken & Egg Pictures-supported Films Win at Sundance!

The 2021 Sundance Film Festival Awards were announced Tuesday, February 3. We were egg-static to see two Nest-supported films receive major awards from the Park City festival, which was held online from January 28 to Wednesday, February 3. 


Users, directed by Natalia Almada

Natalia Almada received the “Directing Award: U.S. Documentary” for Users.

Natalia Almada worked on Users during her 2018 Chicken & Egg Award year and the project participated in NEXT GEN EGG. Check out the film’s Sundance page here.


Writing With Fire, directed by Rintu Thomas and Sushmit Ghosh

Writing With Fire, directed by Rintu Thomas and Sushmit Ghosh 2018 Accelerator Lab

Writing With Fire received the “Audience Award: World Cinema Documentary” and “World Cinema Documentary Special Jury Award: Impact for Change.”

Writing With Fire participated in our 2018 (Egg)elerator Lab and NEXT GEN EGG. Check out the film’s Sundance page here.


A special congratulations to AlumNest filmmaker Camilla Nielsson (Democrats) on her “World Cinema Documentary Special Jury Award: Vérité Filmmaking” for President!

Nest-supported Films at the 2021 Sundance Film Festival

We’re soaring (digitally) into the 2021 Sundance Film Festival this month, taking place from Thursday, January 28 to Wednesday, February 3. Tickets are now on sale to see the following Nest-supported filmmakers and films from anywhere in the United States: 

Users, directed by Natalia Almada

“A mother wonders, will my children love their perfect machines more than they love me, their imperfect mother? She switches on a smart-crib lulling her crying baby to sleep. This perfect mother is everywhere. She watches over us, takes care of us. We listen to her. We trust her.”
Natalia Almada worked on Users during her 2018 Chicken & Egg Award year and the project participated in NEXT GEN EGG. Check out the film’s Sundance page here.


Writing With Fire, directed by Rintu Thomas and Sushmit Ghosh

Writing With Fire, directed by Rintu Thomas and Sushmit Ghosh 2018 Accelerator Lab

In a cluttered news landscape dominated by men, emerges India’s only newspaper run by Dalit women. Armed with smartphones, Chief Reporter Meera and her journalists break traditions, be it on the frontlines of India’s biggest issues or within the confines of their homes, redefining what it means to be powerful.
Writing With Fire participated in our 2018 (Egg)elerator Lab and NEXT GEN EGG. Check out the film’s Sundance page here.


The Changing Same — Lead Artists: Michèle Stephenson, Joe Brewster, and Yasmin Elayat

Changing Same Michèle Stephenson Joe Brewster Impact Innovation Initiative 2018

“This immersive, episodic experience uses time travel and magical realism to pilgrimage through the evolution of racial violence in the U.S., making vital connections between the past and present. Episode 1 introduces the time travel portal—the Cracker House—and begins with a police altercation in a quiet suburb of modern-day New Jersey. The police altercation leads to mass incarceration and a slave warehouse, while hurtling toward a glimpse of a radiant post-racial utopia.”
The Changing Same received a 2017 Impact and Innovation Grant, a past Chicken & Egg Pictures program. You need a Desktop-tethered VR Headset to participate; learn more about the project here.


AlumNest Filmmakers

Our AlumNest is the 325+ women and gender nonconforming filmmakers we have supported in our sixteen years as an organization. Check out these projects by supported filmmakers at the upcoming Sundance Film Festival:

Bring Your Own Brigade, directed by Lucy Walker (The Lion’s Mouth Opens)

Prison X – Chapter 1 : The Devil and The Sun — Lead Artists: Violeta Ayala (Cocaine Prison), Alap Parikh, Maria Corvera Vargas, Roly Elias

Try Harder! directed by Debbie Lum (Seeking Asian Female)

President, directed by Camilla Nielsson (Democrats)

In The Same Breath, directed by Nanfu Wang (2018 Chicken & Egg Award, One Child Nation)

Announcing our 2018 Accelerator Lab grantees!

Chicken & Egg Pictures is proud to announce the third cohort of our Accelerator Lab for first- and second-time filmmakers!

The Accelerator Lab is focused on identifying and supporting women nonfiction directors working on their first or second feature-length documentary. This program brings together ten projects helmed by first- or second-time directors, with a special focus on underrepresented voices.

“Community-building is key to this program,” says Chicken & Egg Pictures Program Director Lucila Moctezuma. “While the Accelerator Lab for first- and second-time filmmakers certainly helps women filmmakers to enter the industry pipeline, it also provides them with a community of support that helps them to stay in the pipeline. The reality of being a film director is that it can often feel daunting and isolating. By explicitly encouraging peer-to-peer mentorship among our cohort, we provide emerging filmmakers with a chance to bond with and learn from one another, to help one another carve a space for themselves in the industry, and to equip them with the strength of a community they can rely on throughout their careers.”

Synopses of the 2018 Accelerator Lab grantees’ compelling projects are below, and you can get to know the directors by viewing the linked project pages. Grantees will work on these films during their program year.

Our next open call for the Accelerator Lab will take place in the spring of 2018. For additional information on the program, including application criteria, please visit our Programs page.

Congratulations to our newest grantees, and wishing you a fantastic year!

 

Ilinca Calugareanu

A Cops and Robbers Story, directed by Ilinca Calugareanu (ROMANIA / UK)

Corey Pegues, one of the highest ranking black executives in the NYPD, reveals a few months after retirement that before joining the NYPD he worked the streets dealing crack cocaine for one of the most notorious drug gangs in the US, the Supreme Team. To many he is either a perp in cop costume or a criminal turned hero. But who is the real Corey Pegues?

 

Siyi Chen

People’s Hospital, directed by Siyi Chen (CHINA / US)

As the Chinese society criticizes dysfunctional hospitals, a doctor’s daughter revisits the small-town hospital where she grew up—this time with a camera, in the middle of a chaotic ER.

 

Sonia Kennebeck

Enemies of the State, directed by Sonia Kennebeck (MALAYSIA / GERMANY / US)

An average American family becomes entangled in a bizarre web of espionage and corporate secrets when their hacker son is targeted by the U.S. government.

 

 

The Youth, directed by Eunice Lau (SINGAPORE / US) and Arthur Nazaryan (US)

The Youth is an unflinching look at the forces that drive one to adopt an extreme ideology. Through the eyes of a father who seeks to understand how his son is radicalized by the propaganda of the Islamic State Army, The Youth reveals how a Muslim American family is affected by the geopolitics and polemics that fuel the resurgence of reactionary and right-wing political movements. Through this intimate lens on the Somali community in Minnesota, The Youth explores the racism and prejudices against immigrants, the rise of radical Islam, and what it means to be Muslim in contemporary America.

 

Madeleine Leroyer

Number 387, directed by Madeleine Leroyer (FRANCE)

This is the story of a Greek physician who collects pendants and bracelets.
This is the story of an Italian woman who has been fighting for 15 years to “make bodies talk.”
This is the story of those who watch over the forgotten migrants.
Since the beginning of 2016, 3,649 migrants have died while attempting to reach Europe by sea. 3,649 names, the vast majority of which have been diluted in the deep blue waters of the Mediterranean.
What happens to the dead? Who identifies them?
What do the mothers, the brothers do to try to find their missing loved ones?
For years, medical examiners have been trying to give back a name, dignity, a memory to these forgotten souls.
This film tells their story.

 

Marie Lidén

Electric Malady, directed by Marie Lidén (SWEDEN / UK)

Director Marie Lidén grew up with a mother who suffered from an illness that the world did not recognize—Electrosensitivity. Years later, in a technologically advanced world, Marie gives a poignant account of the lives of two electrosensitives: William, a 41-year-old Swedish man, and Tyler, a 13-year-old Canadian boy. Using Marie’s own family story as a thread, the film explores William and Tyler’s isolated worlds and their families’ unrelenting commitment to help their children.

 

Loira Limbal

Through The Night, directed by Loira Limbal (US)

To make ends meet, Americans are working longer hours across multiple jobs. This modern reality of non-stop 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.

 

Jacqueline Olive

 Always in Season, directed by Jacqueline Olive (US)

As the trauma of a century of lynching African Americans bleeds into the present, Always in Season follows relatives of the perpetrators and victims in communities across the country who’re seeking justice and reconciliation in the midst of racial profiling and police shootings. In Bladenboro, NC, the film connects historic racial terrorism to racial violence today with the story of Claudia Lacy who grieves as she fights to get an FBI investigation opened into the death of her seventeen-year-old son, Lennon Lacy, found hanging from a swing set on August 29, 2014. Claudia, like many others, believes Lennon was lynched.

 

Jennifer Redfearn

Reentry (working title), directed by Jennifer Redfearn (US)

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.

 

Writing With Fire, directed by Rintu Thomas and Sushmit Ghosh (INDIA)

In a cluttered news landscape dominated by men, emerges India’s only newspaper run by Dalit women. Armed with smartphones, Chief Reporter Meera and her journalists break traditions, be it on the frontlines of India’s biggest issues or within the confines of their homes, redefining what it means to be powerful.