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. 

Ursula Liang: Dozen Days of Filmmakers — Day 12

Chicken & Egg Pictures is celebrating the holiday season by featuring a dozen Nest-supported women and gender non-conforming filmmakers. For more Dozen Days of Filmmakers, see here.

Ursula Liang is a print journalist-turned-filmmaker who has worked for The New York Times Op-Docs, The New York Times Style Magazine, ESPN The MagazineAsia Pacific Forum on WBAI, StirTVThe Jax ShowHyphen magazine, the New Yorker Festival and the 2050 Group publicity, while currently freelancing as a film and television producer and story consultant. She is a founding member of the Filipino American Museum and sits on the advisory board of the Dynasty Project. Liang grew up in Newton, Mass. and lives in the Bronx, New York. 

Ursula Liang 2017 Diversity Fellows Initiative
Down a Dark Stairwell, directed by Ursula Liang

Her debut feature, 9-Man: a Streetball Battle in the Heart of Chinatown, was broadcast on public television and called “an absorbing documentary” by the New York Times. Liang is currently working on Down a Dark Stairwell, a nuanced look at how two communities of color navigate an uneven criminal justice system, anchored by one polarizing New York City case.

Nest-supported Projects Receive Sundance Documentary Fund Grants

Wonderful news from Sundance Institute! Thirty-three recipients of the Sundance Institute Documentary Fund Stories of Change Grant were announced recently, and 81% of the supported projects have at least one woman producer or director.

Projects are supported through grants in the development, production, post-production and audience engagement stages, and include custom grants from The Kendeda Fund, MacArthur Foundation, and The Skoll Foundation. 

We were egg-static to see the following Nest-supported projects and filmmakers from our Diversity Fellows Initiative, Accelerator Lab, and Breakthrough Filmmaker Award programs on the list.

Through the Night Loira Limbal 2018 Accelerator Lab
Through the Night, directed by Loira Limbal

Through the Night, directed by Loira Limbal (2018 Accelerator Lab) 

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 received a production grant from the Sundance Documentary Fund.

Nanfu Wang Lynn Zhang Born In China 2017 Accelerator Lab
Born in China, directed by Nanfu Wang and Lynn Zhang

Born in China, 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.

Born in China received a grant for post-production from the Sundance Documentary Fund.

The Letter, directed by Maia von Lekow & Chris King

The Letter, directed by Maia von Lekow and Chris King (2018 Diversity Fellows Initiative)

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.

The Letter received a grant for post-production from the Sundance Documentary Fund.

Ursula Liang 2017 Diversity Fellows Initiative
Untitled Race & Criminal Justice Project, directed by Ursula Liang

Untitled Race & Criminal Justice Project, directed by Ursula Liang (2017 Diversity Fellows Initiative) 

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

United Race & Criminal Justice Project received support for production from the Macarthur Foundation. This grant provides support for journalistic projects, prioritizing diverse, Native and Indigenous voices.

Chicken & Egg Pictures would also like to congratulate the following filmmakers whose work we have supported in the past or who we have individually support through the Breakthrough Filmmaker Award program—

Malika Zouhali-Worrall (director of Nest-supported projects Thank You For PlayingCall Me Kuchu, and Games You Can’t Win) recieved a development grant for her new project Untitled Dystopia Film.

Malika’s co-director in Thank You For Playing and Games You Can’t Win, David Osit also received a development grant for his  project Mayor. Congratulations Malika and David!

Laura Nix Inventing Tomorrow 2018 Breakthrough Filmmaker Award
Inventing Tomorrow, directed by Laura Nix

2016 Breakthrough Filmmaker Recipient Laura Nix received a grant for audience engagement for her film Inventing Tomorrow from The Kendeda Fund.

Meet the passionate teen innovators from around the globe who dedicate their blood, sweat, and Bunsen burners to craft cutting-edge solutions to the world’s environmental threats and present their findings at the world’s largest high school science competition, the Intel International Science and Engineering Fair.

Chicken & Egg Pictures did not directly support Inventing Tomorrow, but supported Laura Nix through our Breakthrough Filmmaker Award program in 2016.

And She Could Be Next received a production grant from the Sundance Documentary Fund and is made by a team of women filmmakers of color, including four Nest-supported filmmakers. And She Could Be Next is directed by Grace Lee (2017 Breakthrough Filmmaker Award recipient and director of American Revolutionary: The Evolution of Grace Lee Boggs), Yoruba Richen (2016 Breakthrough Filmmaker Award recipient), Deborah S. Esquenazi (Southwest of Salem) , and Geeta Gandbhir (director of A Journey of a Thousand Miles: Peacekeepers, producer of Love the Sinner,  and 2017 Breakthrough Filmmaker Award recipient) as well as Anayansi Prado, Ramona Emerson, Amber Fares, and Marjan Safinia.

Another special congratulations to Anna Fitch for her grant for production on her new project Heaven Through the Backdoor, which she is co-directing with Banker White. Anna Fitch previously received support on her work in Survivors from Chicken & Egg Pictures, also co-directed with Banker White.

Congratulations also to Violeta Ayala (director of Nest-supported Cocaine Prisonon receiving production support for her new feature documentary, The Fight.

What an incredible group of women-directed projects! Congratulations to all.

 

 

2017 Diversity Fellows Announced!

Still from Warrior Women, co-directed by Christina D. King & Elizabeth Castle

Congrats to our newest group of filmmakers coming into the Nest!

Warrior Women
Co-directed by Christina D. King & Elizabeth Castle (US)
The women of the American Indian Movement fight from a vulnerable place only matriarchs can understand—it is a battle for their children and the culture they hope to preserve for them. Warrior Women chronicles the struggle of Madonna Thunder Hawk and Marcy Gilbert, a Lakota mother and daughter whose fight for indigenous rights started in the 1970s and continues today at Standing Rock.

Through archival footage, verité, and video art, we experience Thunder Hawk’s dedication to Red Power and come to understand that activism is necessary for the very survival and success of Native culture and values for the next generation.

 

How to Have an American Baby
Directed by Leslie Tai (US)
How to Have an American Baby is a kaleidoscopic voyage that travels behind closed doors into the booming shadow economy that caters to affluent Chinese tourists who travel to the US on birthing vacations—in order to give birth and obtain US citizenship for their babies. Tracing the underground supply chain from Beijing and Shanghai to Los Angeles, the film weaves together vignettes and deeply private moments. In bedrooms, delivery rooms, and family meetings, the story of a hidden global economy emerges—depicting the fortunes and tragedies that befall the ordinary people caught in the web of its influence.

 

Untitled Race & Criminal Justice Project
Directed by Ursula Liang (US)
A nuanced look at how two communities of color navigate an uneven criminal justice system, anchored by one polarizing New York City case.

 

It Rains
Directed by Carolina Corral (MEXICO)
Since Oliver was killed, he communicates with his mother María through the rain. He let her know the attorney’s office buried him, along with 117 other corpses, in a hidden mass grave. This sparks a new life mission for María: to hold the government accountable for exhuming them all and returning the bodies back to the families who have been looking for them for years.

 

The Other Half of the African Sky
Directed by Tapiwa Chipfupa (ZIMBABWE)
The Other Half Of The African Sky follows filmmaker Tapiwa Chipfupa’s attempts to reconcile her estrangement from her family, triggered by a disagreement over her marriage. Through encounters with other women from all walks of life facing their own predicaments, Tapiwa explores how women hold up their half of the sky under a very constrictive and constantly contradictory environment in this very personal, brutally honest, and intriguing document of the disparities and the vast contradictions that women face in contemporary Zimbabwe. The film gives voice to the hopes, fears, and dreams of Zimbabwe’s women while simultaneously revealing a country in flux.

For more information, visit the Diversity Fellows Initiative webpage.