Nest-supported Films at the 2020 DOC NYC Film Festival

Our Nest-supported filmmaking community is soaring into DOC NYC Film Festival, which runs virtually from Wednesday, November 11 to Thursday, November 19. Ten supported films across many of our core programs— (Egg)celerator Lab films by emerging filmmakers, projects by advanced-career Chicken & Egg Awardees, and films from our inaugural Project: Hatched completion program—are official selections. Plus A Cops and Robbers Story, directed by directed by Ilinca Calugareanu, will make its world premiere at the New York festival! Learn more about the ten projects below, and get your tickets for DOC NYC here


Nest-supported Films

9to5: The Story of a Movement, directed by Julia Reichert and Steven Bognar | Tickets here
“In the early 1970s, secretaries and other female office workers were underpaid, undervalued, unable to advance, and often subject to sexual harassment. In the wake of the Women’s Liberation Movement, a group of women in Boston finally had enough, joining together to begin 9to5, a movement that would sweep the nation with irreverent, attention-getting actions to demand meaningful change—and later inspire the eponymous hit film and song.”* 

A Cops and Robbers Story, directed by Ilinca Călugăreanu | Tickets here (World Premiere) 
In the 1980s, Corey Pegues found himself embroiled in a life of crime as a member of New York’s City’s infamous Supreme Team gang. After an incident forces Pegues away from the streets, he unexpectedly emerges as a rising star in the NYPD, his past unknown to his fellow officers. A decorated 21-year police career is threatened when his political stances and revelations about his former life cause strife within the police community. 

The Dilemma of Desire, directed by Maria Finitzo | Tickets here
An exploration of “cliteracy,” and the clash between the gender politics and the imperatives of female sexual desire.

Down a Dark Stairwell, directed by Ursula LiangTickets here
In 2014, Peter Liang, a Chinese-American police officer, shot and killed an innocent, unarmed black man named Akai Gurley in the dark stairwell of a Brooklyn housing project. In the midst of high racial tension surrounding police conduct, Liang becomes the first NYPD officer to receive a guilty verdict in such a case in over a decade. The highly publicized incident polarizes New York’s Asian and African American communities’ in this insightful look into the complexities of police reform.

Enemies of the State, directed by Sonia Kennebeck | Tickets here 
An average American family becomes entangled in a bizarre web of espionage and corporate secrets when their hacker son is targeted by the US government.

Landfall, directed by Cecilia Aldarondo | Tickets here
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.

Stateless (Apátrida), directed by Michèle Stephenson | Tickets here
Through the grassroots campaign of electoral hopeful Rosa Iris, director Michèle Stephenson’s new documentary reveals the depths of racial hatred and institutionalized oppression that divide Haiti and the Dominican Republic.

Through the Night, directed by Loira Limbal |Tickets here
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.

The Letter, directed by Maia von Lekow and Chris King | Tickets here
Along the coast of Kenya, a frenzied mix of consumerism and Christianity is turning hundreds of families against their elders, branding them as witches as a means to steal their land. Ninety-two-year-old Margaret Kamango stands accused by her sons, while her strong-willed daughters try to protect her. This dangerous dispute is seen through the eyes of Margaret’s grandson, Karisa, who returns home from the city to investigate and is ultimately forced to choose which side he is on.

Once Upon A Time In Venezuela, directed by Anabel Rodríguez Ríos | Tickets here
Once Upon A Time In Venezuela follows residents of a small fishing village as they prepare for parliamentary election. Once the village of Congo Mirador was prosperous. Now it is decaying and disintegrating—a prophetic reflection of Venezuela itself.

AlumNest Films


AlumNest filmmaker Tiffany Hsiung’s short film Sing Me A Lullaby will make its US premiere; Call Center Blues, directed by Chicken & Egg Award Recipient Geeta Gandbhir will screen in the Shorts program; Dick Johnson is Dead (Kirsten Johnson), A Thousand Cuts (Ramona Diaz), and The Fight (Elyse Steinberg, Eli Despres, Josh Kriegman) are on the DOC NYC Short List for feature films; and our Co-Founder & Senior Creative Consultant Judith Helfand’s film Love & Stuff is an official selection under the Masters program (co-produced with our Co-Founder Julie Parker Benello).

*Language courtesy of DOC NYC. 

Laura Nix and Julia Reichert Nominated for 92nd Academy Awards

Egg-citing news! Announced today, filmmakers Laura Nix and Julia Reichert received Oscar nominations for their nonfiction films Walk Run Cha-Cha and American Factory, respectively.

Walk Run Cha-Cha
Directed by Laura Nix (2018 Chicken & Egg Award);
Produced by Colette Sandstedt
Nominated for Documentary Short

American Factory
Directed by Julia Reichert (2016 Chicken & Egg Award) and Steve Bognar; Produced by Julia Reichert, Steve Bognar, Jeff Reichert, and Chicken & Egg Pictures Co-Founder Julie Parker Benello
Nominated for Documentary Feature

We are so proud to have supported Laura and Julia through our Chicken & Egg Award program and wish them the best of luck! You can stream American Factory on Netflix and Walk Run Cha-Cha on New York Times Op-Docs.

The 92nd Academy Awards will take place on Sunday, February 9, 2020. A full list the full list of nominees can be seen here.

American Factory Soars at Cinema Eye Honors!

Congratulations to the American Factory team, including co-director and 2016 Chicken & Egg Award recipient Julia Reichert and Chicken & Egg Pictures Co-Founder Julie Parker Benello, on the accolades they received at the thirteenth annual Cinema Eye Honors at the Museum of the Moving Image in New York on January 6.

American Factory was awarded Outstanding Achievement in Nonfiction Feature Filmmaking and Outstanding Achievement in Direction. 

American Factory is directed by Steven Bognar and Julia Reichert and produced by Steve Bognar, Julia Reichert, Jeff Reichert and Julie Parker Benello. 

Plus a special shoutout to AlumNest filmmaker Jehane Noujaim and The Great Hack team for their win in the Outstanding Achievement in Graphic Design or Animation category. 

Nest-supported Films at AFI Docs

AFI Docs, the all-documentary film festival from American Film Institute, is just around the corner, taking place Wednesday, June 19 to Sunday, June 23 in Washington, DC and Silver Spring, Maryland.

68% of their slate of films are produced by women and almost half have a woman director or co-director. The lineup features 72 documentaries from 17 countries, including six world premieres—one of them being Nest-supported film Made In Boise.

Made in Boise directed by Beth Aala

Made In Boise, directed by Beth Aala (2018 Discretionary Grant) unveils a surprising—and booming—industry which has emerged in Boise, Idaho. In this idyllic, all-American city, nurses, nail technicians, and stay-at-home mothers are having babies for strangers—in record numbers. Boise’s own St. Luke’s Medical Center founded and runs the first and best surrogacy program of its kind, in all the US. But everything is not as it appears, surrogacy is not without its health risks, and the practice is not without its emotional complications. Character-driven and stylized in its approach, Made In Boise introduces audiences to the unique world of surrogacy in the most unexpected of places.

The film will have its world premiere with director, producer Beth Aala and producer Beth Levison in attendance, as part of the Spectrum selection of AFI Docs for “filmmakers pushing the boundaries of storytelling and exploring more unconventional subject matter.”

Three other Nest-supported films are also on the list:

American Factory, directed by Julia Reichert (2016 Chicken & Egg Award recipient) and Steve Bognar will screen as the AFI Docs Centerpiece screening, with a conversation with co-directors Steven and Julia and NBC Meet The Press’s Chuck Todd to follow.

Jacqueline Olive Always in Season

Always In Season (2018 (Egg)celerator Lab), directed by Jacqueline Olive will screen as part of the Truth and Justice selection, with director Jacqueline Olive in attendance for both screenings.

One Child Nation (2017 (Egg)celerator Lab grantee), directed by Nanfu Wang  (also a 2018 Chicken & Egg Award recipient) and Jialing Zhang will also screen as part of the Truth and Justice selection, with co-director Jialing Zhang in attendance.

And don’t miss these films by former Nest grantees: Picture Character, directed by Ian Cheney and Martha Shane (co-director of Nest-supported After Tiller) and The Great Hack, directed by  Karim Amer and Jehane Noujaim (Nest-supported The Square). 

Don’t miss the (Egg)celerator Lab Pitch at Sheffield Doc/Fest!

Sheffield Doc/Fest kicks off today, Thursday, June 6 and continues into Tuesday, June 11. The world-leading festival celebrates the art of documentary with over 180 screenings of nonfiction films, as well as the business of the film industry, with a packed slate of pitches, funding opportunities, and meetings as part of the Sheffield Doc/Fest Marketplace and MeetMarket

This year, Chicken & Egg Pictures is proud to present our third annual (Egg)celerator Lab pitch, in which filmmaking teams from all ten 2019 (Egg)celerator Lab grantees give quick pitches to a live audience of documentary industry folks and receive feedback from international decision makers and buyers.

This year’s pitch session is moderated by award-winning filmmaker Judith Helfand, Chicken & Egg Pictures’ Co-Founder and Senior Creative Consultant, and will include a panel of:

  • José Rodriguez of Tribeca Film Institute,
  • Alexandra Hannibal of CNN Films,
  • Jo Lapping of BBC Storyville,
  • Jess Gormley of The Guardian, and
  • Christine Kecher of A&E Networks.

The 2019 (Egg)celerator Lab grantees are:

Anyone with a Sheffield Doc/Fest pass is welcome to sit in on the sessions, learn about the incredible film projects these emerging filmmakers are working on, and hear feedback from panelists. The Chicken & Egg Pictures (Egg)celerator Lab Pitch will take place Sunday, June 9 at 11:00 AM at ITV Town Hall Reception Room B. More information here.

And if you’re at Sheffield Doc/Fest, don’t miss screenings of these Nest-supported films:

One Child Nation (2017 (Egg)celerator Lab grantee), directed by Nanfu Wang (also a 2018 Chicken & Egg Award recipient) and Jialing Zhang

How much control does a person have over their own life? In China, state control begins before a child is even born.

One Child Nation is in the running for the The Tim Hetherington Award, supported by Dogwoof. Tickets and screening times are available here.

American Factory, directed by Julia Reichert (2016 Chicken & Egg Award recipient) and Steve Bognar*

Dizzying, hilarious and devastating, this tale of two factories makes for a landmark story of workplace anxiety. Directors Reichert and Bognar have spent a decade documenting the plight of Ohio’s factory workers, and their dedication pays off when they are given astonishing access to Fuyao, a Chinese auto glass manufacturer, as it revives a shuttered General Motors plant in Dayton.

Tickets and screening times are available here.

Hail Satan?, directed by Penny Lane (2017 Chicken & Egg Award recipient)
With humor and searing insight, director Penny Lane debunks misrepresentations about the Satanic Temple. Drawing on extensive access to the organization’s participants, this unflinching examination reveals the controversial religious movement’s aim to shine a light on the hypocrisy around America’s separation of church and state.*

Tickets and screening times are available here.

And a special shoutout to these members of our AlumNest of previously-supported filmmakers:  Knock Down the House, directed by Rachel Lears (former Nest grantee for The Hand That Feeds) and The Great Hack, directed by  Karim Amer and Jehane Noujaim (former Nest grantee for The Square).

Nest-supported World Premieres at Hot Docs

Hot Docs Canadian International Documentary Film Festival is coming up —Thursday, April 25 to Sunday, May 5 in Toronto, CA—and with it comes some huge news pertaining to the Nest!

Not only will women will comprise 54% of directors at the Canadian festival; three Nest-supported films (Mr. Toilet: The World’s #2 Man, The Guardian of Memory, and Buddha In Africa) will be making their world premieres; and 2016 Chicken & Egg Award recipient Julia Reichert will receive the  2019 Outstanding Achievement Award, coupled with a curated retrospective of her work throughout the festival, including new documentary American Factory.

Flush Revolution Lily Zepeda 2016 Diversity Fellows Initiative

Mr. Toilet: The World’s #2 Man, directed by Lily Zepeda (2016 Diversity Fellows Initiative [past program]) — World Premiere

To a stranger, he’s quirky, but to those who know the famed Mr. Toilet, he’s the leader of the global sanitation revolution. He grew up in the slums of Singapore with a bucket for a toilet and knows the agonies first hand of what it’s like to go through life without having a proper loo.

2017-Accelerator-Lab_Arteaga_Guardian_of_Memory-3The Guardian of Memory, directed by Marcela Arteaga (2017 (Egg)celerator Lab grantee) — World Premiere

The Juarez Valley, a region once known for cotton production, is now nothing more than burned down houses, empty towns, and memories. Carlos Spector, an immigration lawyer born in El Paso, TX, fights to obtain political asylum for Mexicans fleeing from violence. This is the story of Mexican men, women, and children seeking a respite from their tragedies by heading to their neighboring country, the US. It is also a story about the kindness and hope that still exists in people who have gone through hell, and about Carlos Spector’s tireless efforts to keep memory alive

Buddha in Africa Nicole Schafer

Buddha In Africa, directed by Nicole Schafer — World Premiere

In a Chinese Buddhist orphanage in Africa, the film follows Enock Alu, a Malawian boy from a rural village growing up between the contrasting worlds of his traditional African culture and the strict discipline of the Confucian, Buddhist value system of the Chinese. Once the star performer with dreams of becoming a martial arts hero like Jet Li, Enock, in his final year at school, has to make some tough decisions about his future and finds himself torn between returning to his relatives in the village or going abroad to study in China. Against the backdrop of China’s expanding global influence, the film evokes some of the tensions surrounding the growing relationship between China and Africa.

One Child Nation (2017 (Egg)celerator Lab grantee), directed by Nanfu Wang (also a 2018 Chicken & Egg Award recipient) and Jialing Zhang

How much control does a person have over their own life? In China, state control begins before a child is even born.

Jacqueline Olive Always in Season

Always In Season (2018 (Egg)celerator Lab), directed by Jacqueline Olive

When 17-year-old Lennon Lacy is found hanging from a swing set in rural North Carolina in 2014, his mother’s search for justice and reconciliation begins while the trauma of more than a century of lynching African Americans bleeds into the present.

American Factory, directed by Julia Reichert (2016 Chicken & Egg Award recipient) and Steve Bognar*

Dizzying, hilarious and devastating, this tale of two factories makes for a landmark story of workplace anxiety. Directors Reichert and Bognar have spent a decade documenting the plight of Ohio’s factory workers, and their dedication pays off when they are given astonishing access to Fuyao, a Chinese auto glass manufacturer, as it revives a shuttered General Motors plant in Dayton.

In addition to American Factory, the Outstanding Achievement Retrospective of Julia Reichert’s work which will screen throughout the festival will include Growing Up Female, considered the first feature documentary of the modern women’s movement; Union Maids, in which women look back on the Depression-era trade unionist crusade; and A Lion in the House, the Emmy-winning film which follows five children battling cancer over the course of six years, as well as others.

The following films directed by Nest-supported filmmakers will also be featured at Hot Docs: Knock Down the House, directed by Rachel Lears (director of Nest-supported film The Hand That Feeds with Robin Blotnick) and Shooting the Mafia, directed by Kim Longinotto (director of Nest-supported film Dreamcatcher).

*Chicken & Egg Pictures did not directly support American Factory  but supported director Julia Reichert during her Chicken & Egg Award year.

Supported Filmmakers are Soaring at the 62nd Annual SFFILM

The San Francisco International Film Festival (SFFILM), among the longest running film festivals in the US, unveiled the line-up yesterday for its 62nd annual showcase. Congratulations to the Nest-supported filmmakers who will be soaring to the Bay Area for the festival, which takes place from Wednesday, April 10  to Tuesday, April 23:

American Factory, directed by Julia Reichert (2016 Chicken & Egg Award recipient) and Steve Bognar

American Factory, directed by Julia Reichert and Steve Bognar

Dizzying, hilarious and devastating, this tale of two factories makes for a landmark story of workplace anxiety. Directors Reichert and Bognar have spent a decade documenting the plight of Ohio’s factory workers, and their dedication pays off when they are given astonishing access to Fuyao, a Chinese auto glass manufacturer, as it revives a shuttered General Motors plant in Dayton.*

One Child Nation, directed by Nanfu Wang and Jialing Zhang

How much control does a person have over their own life? In China, state control begins before a child is even born.

Always In Season, directed by Jacqueline Olive (2018 (Egg)celerator Lab grantee)

Jacqueline Olive Always in Season
Always in Season, directed by Jacqueline Olive

When 17-year-old Lennon Lacy is found hanging from a swing set in rural North Carolina in 2014, his mother’s search for justice and reconciliation begins while the trauma of more than a century of lynching African Americans bleeds into the present.

Hail Satan?, directed by Penny Lane (2017 Chicken & Egg Award recipient)

Hail Satan?, directed by Penny Lane

A look at the intersection of religion and activism, tracing the rise of The Satanic Temple: only six years old and already one of the most controversial religious movements in American history. The Temple is calling for a Satanic revolution to save the nation’s soul. But are they for real?**

Knock Down The House, directed by Rachel Lears

And a special congratulations to Rachel Lears, director of Knock Down the House, which will screen Saturday, April 13 at 7:30 pm at Castro Theatre. Rachel is a former Nest grantee for The Hand that Feeds. 
See you in San Francisco!
*Synopsis from SFFILM website.
**Synopsis from SFFILM website.

Nest-supported Filmmakers at True/False 2019

The True/False Film Festival offers a four-day weekend of creative placemaking in which filmmakers, artists, musicians and others remake the mid-sized college town of Columbia, Missouri.

And we have some egg-cellent news! Four documentaries by Nest-supported filmmakers will be screening at the festival, happening from Thursday, February 28 to Sunday, March 3.

American Factory, directed by Julia Reichert (2016 Chicken & Egg Award recipient) and Steve Bognar

Dizzying, hilarious and devastating, this tale of two factories makes for a landmark story of workplace anxiety. Directors Reichert and Bognar have spent a decade documenting the plight of Ohio’s factory workers, and their dedication pays off when they are given astonishing access to Fuyao, a Chinese auto glass manufacturer, as it revives a shuttered General Motors plant in Dayton.

  • Friday, Mar. 1 / 2:30PM / Jesse Auditorium
  • Friday, Mar. 1 / 9:15PM / The Globe
  • Saturday, Mar. 2 / 6:30PM / Missouri Theatre
  • Sunday, Mar. 3 / 6:00PM / The Picturehouse

One Child Nation, (2017 (Egg)celerator Lab grantee), directed by Nanfu Wang (also a 2018 Chicken & Egg Award recipient) and Jialing Zhang

How much control does a person have over their own life? In China, state control begins before a child is even born.

  • Friday, Mar. 1 / 4:30PM / Forrest Theater
  • Saturday, Mar. 2 / 3:15PM / The Picturehouse
  • Saturday, Mar. 2 / 7:00PM / Jesse Auditorium
  • Sunday, Mar. 3 / 9:30AM / Missouri Theatre

Changing Same Michèle Stephenson Joe Brewster Impact Innovation Initiative 2018The Changing Same, directed by Impact & Innovation Initiative grantees Michèle Stephenson (also a 2016 Chicken & Egg Award recipient) and Joe Brewster

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.

Screens before The Commons:

  • Thursday, Feb. 28 / 7:30PM / Showtime Theater
  • Friday, Mar. 1 / 1:45PM / Forrest Theater
  • Sunday, Mar. 3 / 12:00PM / Showtime Theater
  • Sunday, Mar. 3 / 4:00PM / Jesse Auditorium

Knock Down the House, directed by Rachel Lears (former Nest grantee for The Hand That Feeds)

What’s more important: charismatic political candidates or the behind-the-scenes machine that works to elect them? Knock Down the House gives us both, breathlessly following a new breed of politician alongside a tireless collective of activists enraged by the state of American governance.

  • Thursday, Feb. 28 / 7:00PM / Missouri Theatre
  • Friday, Mar. 1 / 1:30PM / Showtime Theater
  • Friday, Mar. 1 / 10:00PM / Jesse Auditorium
  • Saturday, Mar. 2 / 9:30AM / Showtime Theater

And if you’re not in Columbia, Missouri this weekend, we have some egg-cellent news regarding these women directed documentaries. Netflix has acquired American Factory and Knock Down the House, and Amazon acquired One Child Nation; the three films will be available to stream soon.

2019 Sundance Festival Winners

A huge congratulations to Chicken & Egg Pictures-supported films and filmmakers who won big at Sundance this year:

One Child Nation
Dirs. Nanfu Wang & Jialing Zhang
Grand Jury Prize – US Documentary Competition

Always in Season
Dir. Jacqueline Olive
Special Jury Award for Moral Urgency – US Documentary Competition

American Factory
Dir. Julia Reichert & Steven Bognar
Directing – US Documentary Competition

It was a big weekend for these incredible filmmakers in more ways than one, with Amazon acquiring One Child Nation and Netflix acquiring American Factory. And a special congratulations to former Nest grantees Rachel Lears (dir. of Knock Down the House – US Documentary Competition Audience Award), Alma Har’el (dir. of Honey Boy – US Dramatic CompetitionSpecial Jury Award for Vision and Craft); and Laura Nix (executive producer of Sea of Shadows – World Cinema Documentary Audience Award).

We couldn’t be prouder of our Nest friends. Learn more about American Factory, Always in Season, and One Child Nation—and the amazing women that made them—through these reads:

‘One Child Nation’: How Nanfu Wang Defied China to Expose Its Dark Side – Indiewire

Sundance 2019 Women Directors: Meet Nanfu Wang – “One Child Nation”– Women and Hollywood

Sundance 2019 Women Directors: Meet Jacqueline Olive – “Always in Season”– Women and Hollywood

Sundance 2019: Always in Season an exceptional documentary on communities of memory, history of lynchings – The Utah Review

‘American Factory’: Sundance Review – Screen Daily

Sundance: Netflix Nabs ‘American Factory’ Doc for $3 Million – The Hollywood Reporter