Congratulations to our Sheffield Doc/Fest 2017 Winners!  

The Sheffield Doc/Fest 2017 just wrapped and we are proud to announce the Chicken & Egg-supported filmmakers who were awarded at Sheffield Doc/Fest this year: Yance Ford for Strong Island, Jennifer Brea for Unrest and Unrest (VR)*, and Violeta Ayala for The Fight*.  

Still from Strong Island

Strong Island
Directed by Yance Ford
Tim Hetherington Award, presented by Dogwoof and the Tim Hetherington Trust.

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.

Called a “brave, revealing film” and a “stylish and wrenching rumination on familial grief” by the New York Times, Strong Island was one of six films considered for the Tim Hetherington award which recognizes films and filmmakers for reflecting journalist Tim Hetherington’s legacy. It is streaming now on Netflix.

Congratulations Yance!

Still from Unrest

Unrest and Unrest (VR)
Directed by Jennifer Brea
Illuminate Award supported by Welcome; Alternate Realities VR Award.

Unrest tells the story of Jennifer by Jennifer, a Harvard Ph.D. student, who 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.

Unrest (VR) is the virtual reality project based on the Chicken & Egg-supported documentary. Tiffany Pritchard from Filmmaker Magazine writes, “Unrest (VR) is a 10-minute immersive experience that takes place from a bed, where I lay down and, with an Oculus Rift, experienced what it’s like to be confined to a room with the debilitating illness ME (myalgic encephalomyelitis). Through a nod of my head, I was navigated through insightful experiences that provided scientific inner workings of our brains.”

Congratulations to Jennifer for her two wins!

Still from Cocaine Prison

The Fight
Directed by Violeta Ayala and Daniel Fallshaw
Doc/Dispatch Prize supported by Deutsche Welle.

The Fight is a short documentary, produced by The Guardian, which tells the story of disabled people in Bolivia fighting for their rights by journeying across the Andes to La Paz, where they are met with violence by police.

Violeta’s Nest-supported film, Cocaine Prison, documents the inside of one of Bolivia’s most notorious prisons, telling the story of a cocaine worker fighting for freedom, a drug mule who dreams of being a drug boss, and his younger sister, to reveal the country’s relationship with cocaine. Cocaine Prison bridges the ever-widening gap between the North and the South and brings a new perspective to the War on Drugs as it is waged in the Andes.

Congratulations Violeta!

*Chicken & Egg Pictures did not support Unrest (VR) or The Fight directly, but did support both Jennifer and Violeta in their feature-length films. Jennifer Brea received a grant for Unreal, and Violeta Ayala received a grant for Cocaine Prison.

Post by Morgan Hulquist, Summer 2017 Chicken & Egg Pictures Communications Intern

Chicken & Egg Pictures announces support of criminal justice projects

Chicken & Egg Pictures was pleased to announce today our support of two additional projects focusing on criminal justice in the United States, joining a cohort of films currently supported by the organization that address the issue. 6X9: An Immersive Experience of Solitary Confinement and College Behind Bars will both receive grants from the organization.

The Guardian’s 6X9: An Immersive Experience of Solitary Confinement (Francesca Panetta and Lindsay Poulton) is the first virtual reality project supported by Chicken & Egg Pictures. It is being funded through the organization’s new Impact & Innovation Initiative, which empowers women filmmakers to explore the new world of immersive and digital storytelling through online and interactive shorts, web series, and other cross-platform projects aimed at creating social impact.

College Behind Bars, directed by Lynn Novick, looks at a group of incarcerated men and women who are taking advantage of the Bard Prison Initiative to pursue a college degree while serving their sentences.

Chicken & Egg Pictures recognizes the magnitude of the criminal justice and mass incarceration crisis in the United States, and over its ten years has supported numerous films that address the issue from multiple perspectives.

6X9 and College Behind Bars join five current projects supported by Chicken & Egg Pictures that focus on various aspects of criminal justice, both in the United States and around the world. These projects include Cocaine Prison (Violeta Ayala), The Return (Kelly Duane de la Vega and Katie Galloway), Out of Mind (Kristi Jacobson), Sons And Daughters Of The Incarcerated (Denali Tiller), and Southwest Of Salem (Deborah S. Esquenazi).

“We’re very proud to be putting our support behind these projects that tackle one of the most pressing issues in the United States today,” said Chicken & Egg Pictures Executive Director Jenni Wolfson. “Even though the U.S. represents just 5% of the world’s population, we are responsible for 25% of inmates around the globe. Chicken & Egg Pictures believes firmly in the power of film to expose the systematic injustices surrounding mass incarceration, inhumane conditions, and miscarriages of justice. These storytellers address this matter with humanity, innovation, and purpose, ensuring that it stays at the top of our national conscience and contributes towards lasting change.”

5 Chicken & Egg Pictures-supported projects to screen at the 2016 Sundance Film Festival

Congratulations to the five Chicken & Egg Pictures grantees whose projects will screen at the upcoming 2016 Sundance Film Festival.

6×9: An Immersive Experience of Solitary Confinement is the first virtual reality project supported by Chicken & Egg Pictures and will premiere as part of the New Frontiers program.

We look forward to seeing these films launch in Park City and begin their journey to reach audiences across the world.

The full program and schedule for this year’s Sundance Film Festival is available here.

6×9: An Immersive Experience of Solitary Confinement (The Guardian- Francesca Panetta & Lindsay Poulton)
Right now, more than 80,000 people are locked in a 6′ by 9′ concrete box where they have no human contact and every element of their environment is controlled. The sensory deprivation causes severe psychological damage. It changes them; they become invisible.

Cameraperson (Kirsten Johnson)
Drawing on footage she’s shot over the course of 25 years, cinematographer Kirsten Johnson searches to reconcile her part in the thorny questions of permission, power, creative ambition, and human obligation that come with filming the lives of others.

Cameraperson, directed by Kirsten Johnson.
Cameraperson, directed by Kirsten Johnson.

Sonita (Rokhsareh Ghaemmaghami)
18-year-old Sonita is an undocumented Afghan immigrant living in the suburbs of Tehran. In spite of all the obstacles she confronts in Iran and from her conservative family, she fights to live the way she wants: as a rapper. In harsh contrast to her goal is the plan of her family to make her a bride and sell her to a new family for the price of $9,000.

Sonita, directed by Rokhsareh Ghaemmaghami
Sonita, directed by Rokhsareh Ghaemmaghami

Trapped (Dawn Porter)
At least half of American women will experience an unintended pregnancy by the age of 45. Four in 10 unwanted pregnancies are terminated by abortion. What would happen if access to care for these cases completely disappeared? Following the progress of two southern reproductive health clinics, Trapped captures their struggle as they continue to provide care in the face of an increasingly hostile legal and political climate.

When Two Worlds Collide (Heidi Brandenburg & Mathew Orzel)
An indigenous leader is forced into exile and faces 20 years in prison for resisting the environmental ruin of Amazonian lands by big business. Refusing to surrender, he continues his quest, shedding light on conflicting visions shaping the fate of the Amazon and the climate future of our world.

When Two Worlds Collide, directed by Heidi Brandenburg & Mathew Orzel
When Two Worlds Collide, directed by Heidi Brandenburg & Mathew Orzel