The Nest at the Margaret Mead Film Festival

The American Museum of Natural History’s Margaret Mead Film Festival will run from Thursday, October 17 to Sunday, October 20 in New York City. The festival, which is inspired by anthropologist Margaret Mead, celebrates documentary media that increases our understanding of the complexity and diversity of peoples’ cultures around the world, and you can catch three Nest-supported films there:

Freedom Fields, directed by Naziha Arebi
New York Premiere | Filmmaker in Attendance
Thursday, October 17 at 7:00 PM 

Encouraged by the utopian hopes of the Arab Spring, the members of a women’s soccer club in Libya heroically fight for their right to play. Their community refuses to support the team, forcing them to disband. Some women move on, becoming mothers and professionals, while others hold on to their soccer dreams.

The Guardian of Memory, directed by Marcela Arteaga (2017 (Egg)celerator Lab grantee)
New York Premiere | ­­Filmmaker in Attendance
Friday, October 18 at 4:00 PM

Stunning, quiet landscapes from Mexico’s Juarez Valley are juxtaposed with horrifying, intimate tales of mass murder. In 2008, the Mexican government sent an army to the rugged border region, ostensibly to fight drug trafficking. As locals from Juarez and Chihuahua tearfully recount the stories of their murdered or disappeared children, parents, and siblings, a Texas-based lawyer argues asylum seekers from the area are victims of a genocide.

Made In Boise, directed by Beth Aala
New York Premiere | Filmmakers in Attendance | Protagonists in Attendance
Saturday, October 19 at 5:30 PM 

While the ethical questions that surround the commercial surrogacy industry remain unresolved, hundreds of women are choosing to be paid surrogates in Boise, Idaho. Follow four surrogates as they navigate relationships with their families and the future parents while experiencing the emotional and physical hurdles of being pregnant with someone else’s baby.

We will see you at the Mead!

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.

Honoring World Refugee Day at Chicken & Egg Pictures

Today is World Refugee Day, a day which calls for the global public to stand with refugees and stand for their safety. In 2017, the number of displaced people worldwide reached a record high of 68.5 million, as reported by The UN Refugee Agency’s annual Global Trends study. At Chicken & Egg Pictures, we are proud to support a number of filmmakers that use intimate storytelling to portray the individuals behind those numbers. Their stories have been and will continue to be an important part of Chicken & Egg Pictures.

Nest-supported film It Will Be Chaos, will be broadcast tonight on HBO in conjunction with World Refugee Day. Directed by Lorena Luciano and Filippo Piscopo, the film is an epic, yet intimate portrait of lives in transit and the human consequences of the refugee crisis spanning the Mediterranean. The story unfolds between Italy and the Balkan corridor, focusing on two unforgettable refugee stories of human strength and resilience in search of a better and safer future. It Will Be Chaos premiered on HBO on June 18, will have an encore presentation tonight at 5:55 pm ET, and is now available for streaming on HBO.

More powerful films to watch in honor of World Refugee Day include:

Dalya’s Other Country, directed by Julia Metzger, a story about Dalya and her mother Rudanya who arrived in Los Angeles from Aleppo as war took over (available on DVD);

Eventual Salvation, directed by Dee Rees about her 80-year-old American-born grandmother who barely escaped Liberia with her life as she returns to rebuild her community after their devastating civil war (on Netflix);

Children in No Man’s Land, directed by Anayansi Prado, which chronicles the journey of Maria de Jesus and her cousin Rene (ages 13 and 12) as they attempt to cross the US/Mexico border alone to reunite with their mothers in the Midwest (on Kanopy);

And This is Home: A Refugee Story*, directed by Chicken & Egg Board of Directors member Alexandra Shiva, an intimate portrait of four Syrian families arriving in Baltimore (premieres Friday, June 22 on Epix).

And other Nest-supported projects to watch out for in the near future are:

MUHI – Generally Temporary (2015 Accelerator Lab grantee), directed by Rina Castelnuovo and Tamir Elterman—on the festival circuit and just finished a theatrical tour in Germany; Unaccompanied Children (2017 Accelerator Lab grantee), directed by Alexandra Codina—currently in production; The Guardian of Memory (2017 Accelerator Lab Grantee), directed by Marcela Arteaga—currently in production; Number 387 (2018 Accelerator Lab Grantee), directed by Madeleine Leroyer—currently in production; Breathe (2018 Impact & Innovation Initiative Grantee), directed by Milica Zec and Winslow Porter—currently in development.

*Chicken & Egg Pictures did not support This is Home but director Alexandra Shiva is a member of the Chicken & Egg Pictures Board of Directors.

Post by 2018 Communications Intern Morgan Lee Hulquist. 

Chicken & Egg Accelerator Lab Live Pitch at Sheffield Doc/Fest

Still from Guardian of Memory, directed by Marcela Arteaga (2017 Accelerator Lab grantee)

Join us for our first ever LIVE CHICK-PITCH at the 2017 Sheffield Doc/Fest.

Our focus: to showcase, celebrate, and introduce you to the work, vision, and promise of 10 compelling projects helmed by emerging women directors from around the globe—each one a member of our 2017 CHICKEN & EGG PICTURES Accelerator Lab, hailing from Bangladesh, China, Somalia, Mexico, Poland, and across the US.

The Live Pitch will take place on Sunday, June 11, 12:00 – 14:00 pm at the Sheffield ITV Town Hall Reception Room B.

Moderated by award-winning filmmaker Judith Helfand, Chicken & Egg Pictures’ Co-Founder and Senior Creative Consultant.

THE PROJECTS

Find out more about the 2017 Accelerator Lab.

If you would like to attend let us know by emailing Sabine Fayoux, Program Coordinator, at sabine@chickeneggpics.org.

If you can’t join us at the Live Pitch please consider meeting with the filmmakers individually or in small group meetings during the festival. To coordinate a meeting, please contact our European representative and Sheffield Doc/Fest liaison Tereza Šimíková at simikova.tereza@gmail.com.
The Chicken & Egg Pictures Accelerator Lab is a year-long program that brings together 10 nonfiction projects directed by women from around the world who are making their first or second film. The program provides them with a major grant of $35,000 USD and intensive mentorship that strives to balance creative storytelling and core producing skills with practical models for building sustainability, community, and relationships in the nonfiction marketplace. The 2017 Sheffield Doc/Fest marks the program’s second of three retreats, this one built around utilizing and leveraging all that the Sheffield Doc/Fest’s Meet Market and Industry Convenings have to offer.

Chicken & Egg Pictures Announces 2017 Accelerator Lab Finalists

Lights Camera Uganda, directed by Cathryne Czubek and Hugo Perez

We’re proud to announce our newest cohort of Accelerator Lab participants. Congratulations to all!

The Surrender of Waymond Hall
Directed by Jane Greenberg, US

The Surrender of Waymond Hall tells the redemption story of a young black fugitive on the run for the violent crime he committed a decade ago. With extraordinary access, the film follows Way as he wrestles with the excruciating decision to turn himself in, faces the watershed moment of surrender, and navigates a criminal justice system accused of discriminating against people just like him. His story exposes flaws in our societal institutions and in human nature, unfolding against a backdrop of national debates over the divisive racial impact of our criminal justice policies and the remarkable push to reform them.

The Guardian of Memory
Directed by Marcela Arteaga, MEXICO

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 U.S. 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.

Kids Can Spit
Directed by Chelsi Bullard, US

The feature documentary Kids Can Spit follows three New York City teenagers over the school year as they gear up to compete against one another at the Science Genius B.A.T.T.L.E.S. (Bringing Attention to Transforming, Teaching, and Learning Science), a science-themed rap competition. The competition’s creator, Professor Chris Emdin, believes hip-hop is uniquely suited to teach science. For students Mannix, Genesis, and Jason, this battle is a way to beat society’s odds while carving their identities and finding their voices. Pressure mounts on Chris to prove his innovative curriculum does what traditional science classes have failed to do: engage disenfranchised Black and Latinx youth to become proficient in science through rap.

The Surf Girls of Cox’s Bazar
Directed by Elizabeth D. Costa, BANGLADESH

Jahanara, Rifa, and Ayesha live in one of the poorest slums near the beaches of Cox’s Bazar in Bangladesh. From a young age, the girls are sent to work in order to supplement the family income, and social norms dictate that they will be married when they turn 14 or 15 years old. The girls discover a newfound freedom in a surf club and find out they have the skills and talent to win competitions. This spurs their ambitions and they dream of becoming the first international female surfers of Bangladesh.

The Rashomon Effect
Directed by Lyric R. Cabral, US

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

Born in China
Directed by Nanfu Wang and Lynn Zhang, CHINA

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

Unaccompanied Children
Directed by Alexandra Codina, US

Unaccompanied Children reveals America’s invisible refugee crisis through the eyes of one family that defies a broken system with their unwavering resilience.  Deep in the everyday life of the loving and optimistic Gonzalez family, the horrific violence of gang-ridden Honduras and the encroaching threat of draconian US enforcement are almost forgotten.  The film goes beyond the traditional immigration narrative to a nuanced, intimate story which implicates us all in how we care for the most vulnerable.

Lights Camera Uganda [working title]
Directed by Cathryne Czubek and Hugo Perez, US

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, SOMALIA

Somalia’s newly revived Women’s Basketball team seeks to inspire their nation as they overcome immense challenges in their first season since the outbreak of war in 1991. To continue to play the game they love, the team must defy both religious leaders and violent militant groups that believe that their sporting ambitions are un-Islamic. They must also battle against the sexism faced by women in sports across the world.

People I Know
Directed by Zofia Pregowska, POLAND

People I Know is a tragicomedy vérité about a young married couple living in an old trailer. Prone to nervous breakdowns, Michael is unable to stand consumer society and becomes a street musician. His wife Nathalie is an oncology nurse. One day, Nathalie discovers that she wants to own a house so much that she’s ready to take on a lifelong loan.

Note: Since the time of the original publication of this post, some film descriptions have been edited upon filmmakers’ requests.