A Full Nest at Sundance at the 2020 Sundance Film Festival

The Sundance Film Festival features line-up was announced today, Wednesday December 4, and we are egg-static for the following women filmmakers, who will be premiering their films at the festival in Park City, Utah from Thursday, January 23 to Sunday, February 2, 2020.

Production still from A Thousand Cuts, directed by Ramona Diaz: Angel Alim with her sister, Maryanne, in a jeepney. Photo by Miguel V. Fabie for CineDiaz.

Coded Bias
Directed by Shalini Kantayya (Project: Hatched 2020)

Exploring the fallout of MIT Media Lab researcher Joy Buolamwini’s startling discovery that facial recognition does not see dark-skinned faces accurately, and her journey to push for the first-ever legislation in the US to govern against bias in the algorithms that impact us all.

Once Upon a Time in Venezuela 
Directed by Anabel Rodríguez (Project: Hatched 2020)

Once, the village of Congo Mirador was prosperous. Now it is decaying and disintegrating—a prophetic reflection of Venezuela itself.

The Fight
Elyse Steinberg, Josh Kriegman, Eli Despres (Project: Hatched 2020)

Inside the ACLU, a team of scrappy lawyers battle Trump’s historic assault on civil liberties.

A Thousand Cuts
Directed by Ramona Diaz (2018 Chicken & Egg Award recipient)*

Nowhere is the worldwide erosion of democracy, fueled by social media disinformation campaigns, more starkly evident than in the authoritarian regime of Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte. Journalist Maria Ressa places the tools of the free press—and her freedom—on the line in defense of truth and democracy.

Dick Johnson Is Dead
Directed by Recipient Kirsten Johnson (2017 Chicken & Egg Award recipient)*

With this inventive portrait, a cameraperson seeks a way to keep her 86-year-old father alive forever. Utilizing moviemaking magic and her family’s dark humor, she celebrates Dr. Dick Johnson’s last years by staging fantasies of death and beyond. Together, dad and daughter confront the great inevitability awaiting us all.

*These films were in development during the filmmaker’s Chicken & Egg Award year.

In addition to these directly supported films, our AlumNest filmmakers (the 300+ talented, diverse women nonfiction directors that we have supported throughout our fifteen years as an organization) are also premiering their films at the 2020 Sundance Film Festival:

Aggie
Directed by Catherine Gund (Born to Fly, Dispatches from Cleveland, and What’s on Your Plate?)

The Last Thing He Wanted
Directed by Dee Rees (Eventual Salvation)

Taylor Swift: Miss Americana
Directed by Lana Wilson (2019 Chicken & Egg Award recipient)

Untitled Kirby Dick/Amy Ziering Film
Directed by Kirby Dick and Amy Ziering (The Invisible War)

The Mole Agent
Directed by Maite Alberdi (2020 Chicken & Egg Award recipient) 

Congratulations to these incredible women filmmakers on their Sundance-bound films. We’ll see you in Park City!

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

Jacqueline Olive: Dozen Days of Filmmakers — Day 12

 

Chicken & Egg Pictures is celebrating the holiday season by featuring a dozen of our supported women nonfiction filmmakers.

Jacqueline Olive Always In Season 2018 Accelerator LabJacqueline Olive is an independent filmmaker and immersive media producer with more than a decade of experience in journalism and film. She co-directed and produced the award-winning short documentary, Black To Our Roots, which broadcast on PBS World. Jacqueline has been a Sundance Documentary Edit & Story Lab Fellow, a Sundance Documentary Film Program Fellow, and Sundance Music & Sound Design Lab fellow.

Always in Season 2018 Accelerator Lab Grantee Jacqueline Olive
Always in Season, directed by Jacqueline Olive

She also received the Emerging Filmmakers of Color Award from International Documentary Association and the Jonathan Logan Family Foundation. Jacqueline has been a immersive media fellow with the Bay Area Video Coalition Institute for New Media Technologies and Mediamaker Fellows, the Black Public Media New Media Institute, and most recently, the Open Immersion VR Lab sponsored by the Ford Foundation, National Film Board of Canada, and the Canadian Film Centre. Jacqueline has an MA from the University of Florida Documentary Institute and previously worked on the production team of the Emmy Award-winning PBS documentary series, Independent Lens.

Her debut feature documentary and 2018 Accelerator Lab grantee,  Always In Season, will premiere in competition at the 2019 Sundance Film Festival.

Always in Season 2018 Accelerator Lab Jacqueline Olive
Always in Season, directed by Jacqueline Olive

Always In Season explores the lingering impact of more than a century of lynching African Americans and connects this form of historic racial terrorism to racial violence today. The film centers on the case of Lennon Lacy, an African American teen who was found hanging from a swing set in Bladenboro, North Carolina, on August 29, 2014. Despite inconsistencies in the case, local officials quickly ruled Lennon’s death a suicide, but his mother, Claudia, believes Lennon was lynched. Claudia moves from paralyzing grief to leading the fight for justice for her son. 

Jacqueline is currently producing a VR companion to Always In Season that uses 360° video and computer-generated imagery (CGI) to explore themes of dehumanization and violence, offering strategies for moving confidently through the racialized public spaces that black women navigate daily.

 

Post by Morgan Lee Hulquist.

Penny Lane: Dozen Days of Filmmakers – Day 7

Penny Lane 2017 Breakthrough Filmmaker AwardChicken & Egg Pictures is celebrating the holiday season by featuring a dozen of our supported women nonfiction filmmakers.

Penny Lane is an award-winning nonfiction filmmaker who was named one of Filmmaker Magazine‘s “25 New Faces of Independent Film”. Penny has been making innovative nonfiction films for over a decade, including three features – The Pain of Others, NUTS! and Our Nixon – and about a dozen short films. Her most recent feature documentary, The Pain of Others, a YouTube compilation film about Morgellons, screened at BAMcinemaFest and Sheffield Doc/Fest and was featured in The New Yorker.

In September, she was honored at Open City Documentary Film Festival in London as part of their “Penny Lane: Observing Observation Itself” program, which included screenings of two of Penny’s feature films and eight of her shorts.

She received her MFA in Integrated Electronic Arts at Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute and her BA in American Culture and Media Studies at Vassar College. She is currently an Associate Professor of Art and Art History at Colgate University, where she lives in a very old house and shows movies in her barn.

Her new feature documentary, Hail Satan?, is “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”. It was acquired by Magnolia Pictures and will have its world premiere at the 2019 Sundance Film Festival.

Penny Lane is a Chicken & Egg Pictures 2017 Breakthrough Filmmaker Award recipient. And yes, Penny Lane is her real name.

 

Post by Morgan Lee Hulquist.

Kimi Takesue: Dozen Days of Filmmakers — Day 6

Chicken & Egg Pictures is celebrating the holiday season by featuring a dozen of our supported women nonfiction filmmakers.

Kimi TakesueKimi Takesue is an award-winning filmmaker and recipient of Guggenheim and Rockefeller Fellowships in Film. Takesue’s ten films have screened at over two hundred festivals/museums internationally including the Sundance Film Festival, the Locarno Film Festival, New Directors/New Films, SXSW, and the Museum of Modern Art and have aired on PBS, IFC, Comcast, and SundanceTV.

Takesue’s critically acclaimed Ugandan feature-length documentary Where Are You Taking Me? was commissioned by the International Film Festival Rotterdam and premiered at the festival, followed by screenings at MoMA’s Doc Fortnight and the LA Film Festival. The film was theatrically released by Icarus Films, was a Critics’ Pick by Time Out New York and LA Weekly and was described by The New York Times as, “Fascinating…an unusual, visually rich visit to the nation.”

Her recent feature documentary 95 and 6 to Go was nominated for the prestigious 2017 Doc Alliance Selection Award and screened at over twenty-five international festivals including CPH:DOX, DOK Leipzig, Doclisboa, FIDMarseille and DOC NYC.

Takesue Kimi 2018 Breakthrough Filmmaker Award 95 and 6 To Go
95 and 6 To Go, directed by Kimi Takesue

In 95 and 6 To GoKimi Takesue captures the cadence of daily life for Grandpa Tom, a retired postal worker born to Japanese immigrants to Hawai’i in the 1910’s. Amidst the solitude of his home routines – coupon clipping, rigging an improvised barbecue, lighting firecrackers on the New Year – we glimpse an unexpectedly rich inner life. As his granddaughter queries his history of love and loss, a stalled film project becomes a collaborative inquiry into mortality and how one constructs a personal narrative with memories that span almost a century.

Shot over six years in Honolulu, this intimate meditation on absence and family expands the vernacular of the “home movie” to consider how history is accumulated in the everyday and how sparks of humor and creativity can animate an ordinary life.

Kimi Takesue is a 2018 Chicken & Egg Pictures Breakthrough Filmmaker Award recipient. 

 

Post by Morgan Lee Hulquist.

Julia Reichert: Dozen Days of Filmmakers — Day 1

Chicken & Egg Pictures is celebrating the holiday season by featuring a dozen of our supported women nonfiction filmmakers.

Julia Reichert is a three-time Academy Award® nominated documentary filmmaker based in Ohio whose work focuses on class, gender, and race in the lives of Americans.

In 1971, frustrated with the lack of distribution options for films by and about women, she co-founded New Day Films, the democratically run documentary film distribution cooperative. Forty-seven years later, New Day Films is going strong, and now has over 150 active members.

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 an Academy Award® 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 also the author of Doing It Yourself, the first book on self-distribution in independent film, and was an Advisory Board member of Independent Filmmaker Project (IFP).

The Last Truck: Closing of a GM Plant
The Last Truck: Closing of a GM Plant, directed by Julia Reichert and Steve Bognar

Her most recent feature film with Steven BognarAmerican Factorywill have its world premiere at the 2019 Sundance Film Festival. American Factory tells the story of a Chinese billionaire who opens a new factory in the husk of an abandoned General Motors plant in post-industrial Ohio, hiring two thousand blue-collar Americans. Early days of hope and optimism give way to setbacks as high-tech China clashes with working-class America.*

Julia was recently awarded the Career Achievement Award at the 2018 International Documentary Awards (alongside the Chicken & Egg Pictures team for the Amicus Award) for her incredible contributions to documentary filmmaking. 

In 2019, the Museum of Modern Art and the Wexner Center for the Arts will team up to present a traveling retrospective of Julia Reichert’s films.

Julia is a 2016 Breakthrough Filmmaker Award recipient.

*Synopsis courtesy of Sundance Film Festival. 

Post by Morgan Lee Hulquist.

The Nest at the 2019 Sundance Film Festival

Chicken & Egg Pictures is coming to the 2019 Sundance Film Festival! In addition to seeing our filmmakers soar, we are delighted that they are contributing to a festival where 40% of selected films are directed by one or more women, and 53% percent of the directors eligible for the festival’s top prize are women. 

The following Nest-supported projects and filmmakers from our Accelerator Lab and Breakthrough Filmmaker Award programs, along with several directors from our AlumNest, will be celebrating their world premieres.

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

Always in Season, directed by Jacqueline Olive (2018 Accelerator Lab)

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 are 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.

One Child Nation, directed by Nanfu Wang and Jialing 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.

Director Nanfu Wang is also a recipient of the 2018 Breakthrough Filmmaker Award.

American Factory*, directed by Steven Bognar and Julia Reichert (2016 Breakthrough Filmmaker Award)

In post-industrial Ohio, a Chinese billionaire opens a new factory in the husk of an abandoned General Motors plant, hiring two thousand blue-collar Americans. Early days of hope and optimism give way to setbacks as high-tech China clashes with working-class America.**

Hail Satan*, directed by Penny Lane (2017 Breakthrough Filmmaker Award)

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?**

In addition, the following films directed by Nest-supported filmmakers will be featured at the festival:

Knock Down the House, directed by Rachel Lears (director of Nest-supported film The Hand That Feeds with Robin Blotnick)

Shooting the Mafia, directed by Kim Longinotto (director of Nest-supported film Dreamcatcher)

The Great Hack, directed by Karim Amer and Jehane Noujaim (Jehane is the director of the Nest-supported film The Square)

The Sundance Film Festival will run from January 24 to February 3, 2019. Congratulations to all, and we will see you in Park City! 

 

*Chicken & Egg Pictures did not directly support American Factory and Hail Satan but supported director Julia Reichert and director Penny Lane during their Breakthrough years.

**Synopses courtesy of Sundance Film Festival.

Breakthrough Filmmaker Award Recipient Natalia Almada is a Sundance Art of Nonfiction Fellow

Breakthrough Filmmaker Award recipient Natalia Almada was recently announced as one of four Sundance Institute Art of Nonfiction Fellows.

The Art of Nonfiction Fellowship supports artists by providing them with an unrestricted grant and a year-long fellowship focused on their creative goals and challenges.

Natalia Almada 2018 Breakthrough Award Recipient

Chicken & Egg Pictures supported Natalia through our 2018 Breakthrough Filmmaker Award program, as well as previously supported her feature documentary El Velador (The Night Watchman).

Recipient of the 2012 MacArthur “Genius” Grant, Natalia Almada combines artistic expression with social inquiry to make films that are both personal reflections and critical social commentaries. Her work straddles the boundaries of documentary, fiction, and experimental film.

Her most recent film Todo lo demás (Everything Else) is a narrative feature starring Academy Award®-nominated Adriana Barraza; it premiered at the New York Film Festival and was nominated for an Ariel Award. El Velador (The Night Watchman) premiered at the 2011 Cannes Directors’ Fortnight and broadcast on the award-winning PBS program POV, along with her other two feature documentaries Al otro lado (To The Other Side) and El General (The General). Almada’s short film All Water Has a Perfect Memory premiered at the 2002 Sundance Film Festival and received the Best Short Documentary award at the Tribeca Film Festival.

El Velador Natalia Almada
El Velador (The Night Watchman), directed by Natalia Almada

Almada was also the recipient of the 2009 Documentary Directing Award at the Sundance Film Festival and has received fellowships from the Guggenheim Foundation, United States Artists, the Herb Alpert Foundation, and The MacDowell Colony. Almada graduated with a Masters of Fine Arts in photography from the Rhode Island School of Design and currently lives between Mexico City and San Francisco.

Other 2018 Art of Nonfiction fellows are Deborah Stratman,​​ Sam Green, and Sky Hopinka. Read more about the fellows, grantees and the programs on the Sundance Institute website.

Congratulations Natalia!

Sundance 2017 Wins for Chicken & Egg Pictures

Unrest, directed by Jennifer Brea

This weekend marked the beginning of the Year of the Fire Rooster  and things are definitely heating up here at the Nest.

At the 2017 Sundance Film Festival, four Chicken & Egg Pictures-supported documentary films and one VR project made their world premieres and walked away with three awards.

Strong Island, directed by Yance Ford


The message of these films couldn’t be more crucial in these times, whether they examine failings of the American justice system, the stigma associated with a misunderstood illness, document one of the most critical moments in modern US racial history, expose the dire implications of a lack of a reproductive healthcare policy, or promote environmentalism through an inventive mix of empathy and technology.

Check out these links to get to know a bit about our Sundance filmmakers and their projects:

WATCH: Sundance’s Meet the Artist for Jennifer Brea, director of Unrest (Sundance winner: U.S. Documentary Special Jury Award for Editing)

Motherland, directed by Ramona Diaz

WATCH: The New York Times Op-Docs short by Ramona Diaz, based on her film Motherland (Sundance winner: World Cinema Documentary Special Jury Award for Commanding Vision)

READ: A beautiful synopsis from the New Yorker‘s Culture Desk of Yance Ford’s Strong Island (Sundance winner: U.S. Documentary Special Jury Award for Storytelling)

READ: The Guardian‘s five-star review of Whose Streets?, directed by Sabaah Folayan and co-directed by Damon Davis

READ: The Indiewire interview with Tree (VR) co-creator, Milica Zec

Congratulations also to Joslyn Barnes, Chicken & Egg Pictures Eggspert who received The Sundance Institute/Amazon Studios Producer Award for Strong Island.

Here’s to amplifying fiery women’s voices in this Year of the Fire Rooster!!

Five Chicken & Egg Pictures grantees set for World Premieres at Sundance 2017

We’re beaming with pride for our grantees who will be presenting the world premieres of their projects at the 2017 Sundance Film Festival this January. Congratulations to Jennifer Brea, Ramona Diaz, Yance Ford, Sabaah Jordan with Damon Davis, and Milica Zec with Winslow Porter!

Canary in a Coal Mine
Unrest

Unrest (Jennifer Brea)

Jennifer, a Harvard Ph.D. 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.

 

Strong Island

Strong Island (Yance Ford)

Set in the suburbs of the black middle class, Strong Island seeks to uncover how—in the year of the Rodney King trial and the Los Angeles riots—the murder of the filmmaker’s older brother went unpunished. The film is an unflinching look at homicide, racial injustice, and the corrosive impact of grief over time.

 

whose-streets
Whose Streets?

Whose Streets? (Sabaah Jordan and Damon Davis)

A firsthand look at how the murder of a teenage boy became the last straw for a community under siege, Whose Streets? is a story of love, loss, conflict, and ambition. Set in Ferguson, MO, the film follows the journey of everyday people whose lives are intertwined with a burgeoning national movement for black liberation.

 

thebill_maternityward2
Motherland

Motherland (Ramona Diaz)

One of the world’s poorest and most populous countries, the Philippines, struggles with reproductive health policy—both in the legislature where laws are in debate, and in a hospital with the busiest maternity ward on the planet.

 

tree-02-final
 Tree

Tree (Milica Zec and Winslow Porter)

A virtual experience that transforms you into a rainforest tree. With your arms as branches and body as the trunk, you experience the tree’s growth from a seedling into its fullest form and witness its fate firsthand.

 

This year’s Sundance Film Festival is January 19–29, 2017. For the full program and schedule for the upcoming festival, visit the Sundance website.