Chicken & Egg Pictures is now accepting submissions for the 2020 (Egg)celerator Lab Open Call!
The (Egg)celerator Lab (formerly the Accelerator Lab) is focused on identifying and supporting nonfiction directors working on their first or second feature-length documentary. This program brings together ten projects, with a special focus on self-identifying women and gender nonconforming directors.
In this year-long intensive mentorship program, these ten projects receive:
- $35,000 in grant funding for the production of their feature-length film;
- monthly mentorship with members of Chicken & Egg Pictures’ senior creative team;
- three creative retreats focused on career sustainability and creative development;
- industry and funder connections; and
- peer support from the (Egg)celerator Lab cohort.
The deadline to apply for the 2020 (Egg)celerator Lab is June 25, 2019 at 3:00 pm EDT.
Films from previous (Egg)celerator Labs have gone on to major international film festivals and TV broadcast debuts, where they have won numerous awards and critical praise; they have taken creative risks; helped foster important conversations about the issues they address; while the first- and second-time directors behind them have grown as leaders, enhanced their creative practices, and worked toward building a sustainable career in the film industry.
Read about select films from the last four (Egg)celerator Lab cohorts below:
From the 2016 (Egg)elerator Lab: Tre Maison Dasan, directed by Denali Tiller, is a story that explores parental incarceration through the eyes of three boys—Tre, Maison, and Dasan. Following their interweaving trajectories through boyhood marked by the criminal justice system, and told directly through the child’s perspective, the film unveils the challenges of growing up and what it means to become a man in America.
Tre Maison Dasan premiered at SFFILM in 2018; had its broadcast premiere on Independent Lens PBS last April, where it also was available for streaming; and the film’s impact campaign and engagement strategy #NationalVisitingDays worked to “strengthen bonds of family, and prompt a national reflection about the the rippling effects of mass incarceration in America.”
From the 2017 (Egg)celerator Lab: One Child Nation, co-directed by Nanfu Wang and Jialing Zhang, follows a filmmaker as she uncovers the untold history of China’s one-child policy and the generations of parents and children forever shaped by this social experiment.
One Child Nation premiered at the 2019 Sundance Film Festival, where it received the Grand Jury Prize for Documentary and was acquired by Amazon for global rights.
From the 2018 (Egg)celerator Lab: Always in Season, directed by Jacqueline Olive, follows the mother of Lennon Lacy, a 17-year-old who was found hanging from a swing set in rural North Carolina in 2014, as her search for justice and reconciliation begins and the trauma of more than a century of lynching African Americans bleeds into the present.
Always in Season premiered at the 2019 Sundance Film Festival, where it received the Special Jury Award for Moral Urgency; Indie Grits, where it received Top Grit; RiverRun International Film Festival, where it received the Human Rights Award; as well as others. Filmmaker Magazine called the film “haunting, difficult and necessary, a depiction of an America that we think of as relegated to the past but that continues to encroach on the present.”
From the 2019 (Egg)celerator Lab: Silent Beauty, directed by Jasmin López, is a personal documentary that follows the director as she works to heal from child sexual abuse she endured at the hands of her grandfather, Gilberto, a Baptist minister, almost thirty years ago. In the process of sharing her own trauma with her large family, she learns that generations of children in her family were victims of the same abuse.
Silent Beauty is currently in production. During the 2019 (Egg)celerator Lab program year, Jasmin is also one of four recipients of the Jacqui Jones Memorial Scholarship by Black Public Media, and she recently participated in Tribeca Film Institute (TFI) Networks, where the project received a grant from TFI and DocsMX.
The deadline to apply to the 2020 (Egg)celerator Lab open call is Tuesday, June 25 at 3:00 pm EDT. Apply now! And sign up for our newsletter to receive updates on the (Egg)celerator Lab Open Call timeline and other news from the Nest.
Egg-cellent news from POV, television’s longest-running showcase for independent nonfiction films, as they announced yesterday the slate for their Season 32 broadcast. Nine out of POV’s sixteen feature films this season are helmed by women directors, and six of those films are Nest-supported projects or by Nest-supported directors.
At Chicken & Egg Pictures, we are so proud to support women filmmakers whose voices are changing the world, one television broadcast at a time. Make sure to set your DVR or stream on pov.org or amdoc.org in order to catch these powerful documentaries:
In small-town Ohio, at a pre-season football party, a horrible incident took place. What transpired would garner national attention and result in the sentencing of two key offenders. As amateur crime blogger Alex Goddard uncovers disturbing evidence on Facebook, Youtube, and Twitter, documenting the assault of a teenage girl by members of the beloved high school football team, questions linger around the collusion of teen and adult bystanders. Roll Red Roll explores the complex motivations of both perpetrators and bystanders in this story, unearthing the attitudes at the core of their behavior. The Steubenville story acts as a cautionary tale of what can happen when adults look the other way and deny that rape culture exists. With unprecedented access to police documents, exhibits and evidence, the documentary feature unflinchingly asks: “why didn’t anyone stop it?”
On Her Shoulders, directed by 2019 Chicken & Egg Award recipient Alexandria Bombach (2018 SXSW LUNA/Chicken & Egg Pictures Award recipient) will broadcast July 22.
This empowering documentary presents 23-year-old Nadia Murad, a Yazidi genocide survivor determined to tell the world her story. Determined advocate and reluctant celebrity, she becomes the voice of her people and their best hope to spur the world to action.
Inventing Tomorrow, directed by 2018 Chicken & Egg Award recipient Laura Nix will broadcast on July 29.
Meet passionate teenage innovators from around the globe who are creating cutting edge solutions to confront the world’s environmental threats – found right in their own backyards – while navigating the doubts and insecurities that mark adolescence. Take a journey with these inspiring teens as they prepare their projects for the largest convening of high school scientists in the world, the Intel International Science and Engineering Fair (ISEF).
Grit, directed by Cynthia Wade and Sasha Friedlander, will broadcast on September 9.
Grit is the story of a huge, toxic mudflow in Indonesia widely believed to be caused by shoddy drilling practices. The mud volcano has been erupting violently for the past eight years, burying 17 villages and permanently displacing 60,000 people. Grit follows ordinary Indonesians seeking justice for this disaster during a national election in which one presidential candidate has promised restitution—and the other has not.
The Feeling of Being Watched, directed by Assia Boundaoui (2016 (Egg)celerator Lab grantee) will broadcast on October 14.
In the Arab-American neighborhood outside of Chicago where director Assia Boundaoui grew up, most of her neighbors think they have been under surveillance for over a decade. While investigating their experiences, Assia uncovers hundreds of pages of declassified FBI documents that prove her hometown was the subject of one of the largest counterterrorism investigations ever conducted in the U.S. before 9/11—code-named “Operation Vulgar Betrayal.” With unprecedented access, The Feeling of Being Watched weaves the personal and the political as it follows the filmmaker’s examination of why her community fell under blanket government surveillance.
Blowin’ Up looks at sex work, prostitution, and human trafficking through the lens of New York State’s criminal justice system. The film captures the growing pains of our nation’s first human trafficking intervention court in Queens, New York, and how we define trafficking and prostitution from many different perspectives: the criminal justice system, the social welfare system, and, most importantly, the women and girls who are at the center of it all.
Changing Same, directed by Impact & Innovation Initiative grantees Michèle Stephenson (also a 2016 Chicken & Egg Award recipient) and Joe Brewster, is on the second season of POV’s Shorts program, following On Her Shoulders.
Chicken & Egg Pictures is supporting the immersive, room-scale virtual reality experience based on the short film, Changing Same: The Untitled Racial Justice Project.
Check your local listings for broadcast times and more information.
Today is International Women’s Day, a global day celebrating the social, economic, cultural, and political achievements of women. This year’s International Women’s Day theme is balance—promoting the need for equality and a gender-balanced world.
Chicken & Egg Pictures is honoring women’s voices today by looking back on the many Nest-supported films about women and girls and looking forward at some powerful films to come. Through the lenses of empathy, intimacy, and dignity, these films represent the diverse complexities of what it means to be a woman or girl in our world today. We hope these Nest-supported filmmakers and their work lead to a more balanced film industry.
Get your International Women’s Day inspiration by streaming these egg-cellent women-directed and women-centered films:
After Tiller, co-directed by Martha Shane and Lana Wilson (also a Chicken & Egg Award recipient), paints a complex, compassionate portrait of the four American doctors left who openly provide third-trimester abortions. Since the assassination of Dr. George Tiller in Kansas in May 2009, these physicians have become the new number-one targets of the anti-abortion movement, yet continue to risk their lives every day to do work that many believe is murder, but which they believe is profoundly important for their patients’ lives.
After Tiller is available on Amazon Prime.
The Apology, directed by Tiffany Hsiung, is a film about memory, told through the current relationships three women have with the people closest to them and how these relationships indelibly shape the last years of their lives. The three women – Gil Won-Ok in South Korea, Grandma Cao in China, and Lola Adela in the Philippines – are all former “comfort women” who were among the 200,000 girls and young women forced into military sexual slavery by the Japanese Imperial Army during World War II.
The Apology is available on Amazon Prime.
Heroin(e), directed by 2016 Chicken & Egg Award recipient Elaine McMillion Sheldon, follows three women—a fire chief, a judge and a missionary—who are battling America’s modern opioid epidemic in Huntington, West Virginia, once a bustling industrial town, now a place with an overdose rate 10 times the national average. This flood of heroin now threatens this Appalachian city with a cycle of generational addiction, lawlessness, and poverty. But within this distressed landscape, Elaine McMillion Sheldon shows a different side of the fight against drugs—one of hope.
Heroin(e) is available on Netflix.
American Revolutionary: The Evolution Of Grace Lee Boggs, directed by Grace Lee (also a Chicken & Egg Award recipient) tells the story of Grace Lee Boggs, a 98-year-old Chinese American woman whose vision of revolution will surprise you. A writer, activist, and philosopher rooted for more than 70 years in the African American movement, she has devoted her life to an evolving revolution that encompasses the contradictions of America’s past and its potentially radical future.
American Revolutionary: The Evolution Of Grace Lee Boggs is available on Netflix.
Pashtana’s Lesson, directed by Beth Murphy, follows the story of a young girl living in the rural Afghan village of Deh’Subz, on the outskirts of Kabul Province, as she resists an arranged marriage so that she may attend Zabuli Education Center, the first girls’ school in the area.
In 2016, Pashtana’s Lesson debuted as a New York Times Op-Doc. To watch, visit the New York Times Op-Docs website. What Tomorrow Brings, the feature-length documentary on which Pashtana’s Lesson is based, aired on PBS’s POV series and is available on Amazon Prime.
Moving on to the rest of March, Women’s History Month: In a year when women are mobilizing and running for office in unprecedented numbers, tune into PBS for Women, War, and Peace II, the acclaimed documentary series which presents four women-directed films exploring the pivotal role women are playing in dramatic conflicts and peace settlements across the globe. This season, three out of four films featured are Nest-supported projects. Check your local listings for exact times and dates.
The Trials of Spring, directed by Gini Reticker debuts Monday, March 25. The film follows the journeys of three Egyptian women from the early days of the 2011 Arab Spring until today: Hend, from a rural military family, awaiting a harsh prison sentence for protesting against military rule; Miriam, an activist fighting to end sexual assault; and Mama Khadiga, a formerly veiled widow who became a caretaker of the revolutionaries. Their intersecting stories reveal the vital and underreported role women play in shaping the region’s future.
Naila and the Uprising, directed by Julia Bacha debuts Tuesday, March 26. Weaving together interviews, news footage, and expressive animation, award-winning documentarian Julia Bacha (also a Chicken & Egg Award recipient) inventively chronicles the remarkable journey of Naila Ayesh, who in the late 1980s joined a clandestine movement of Palestinian women who played a pivotal role in the nonviolent uprising known as the First Intifada.
A Journey of a Thousand Miles: Peacekeepers, co-directed by Geeta Gandbhir (also a Chicken & Egg Award recipient), Sharmeen Obaid-Chinoy (also on our Eggsperts advisory board), and Perri Peltz, debuts Tuesday, March 26. The film follows an all-female, Bangladeshi unit of UN peacekeepers as they leave their friends, families and all familiarity for deployment abroad in Haiti. The film examines how this journey forever alters their lives while illuminating the unique role that women play in restoring peace in the world’s most volatile regions.
Nest-supported films about women and girls to look out for in the future:
Writing With Fire, directed by Rintu Thomas & Sushmit Ghosh (2018 (Egg)celerator Lab), tells the story India’s only newspaper run by Dalit women. Armed with smartphones, Chief Reporter Meera and her journalists break traditions, be it on the frontlines of India’s biggest issues or within the confines of their homes, redefining what it means to be powerful.
Writing With Fire is currently in production.
Reentry (Working Title), directed by Jennifer Redfearn (2018 (Egg)celerator Lab), is an immersive, character-driven film follows three women—who are part of a new reentry program in Cleveland, Ohio—as they prepare to leave prison, reunite with their children, and find jobs after serving time for drug-related charges.
Reentry is currently in post production.
Rajada Dalka/Nation’s Hope, directed by Hana Mire
(2016 Diversity Fellows Initiative; 2017 (Egg)celerator Lab), follows the Somali National Women’s basketball team in their first season since the civil war, as veteran coach Suad Galow shepherds her team of fearless young women and helps them to overcome the violent threats against them from members of the Al-Shabab militia and reclaim their place on the international stage.
Rajada Dalka/Nation’s Hope is currently in post production.
Earlier this month, Nest-supported Dark Money and United Skates were included in the International Documentary Association (IDA) Shortlist for Top Feature and as well as nominated for the IDA Award for Best Feature of 2018.
And last week, we received more good news from the International Documentary Association. Chicken & Egg Pictures is being recognized with the prestigious Amicus Award. We’re in good company too, with past recipients including Stephen Spielberg, Norman and Lyn Lear, and our dear Nest friend and Fork Films President and CEO Abigail Disney.
The Amicus Award “honors individuals or organizations in recognition of their work supporting the essential needs of the nonfiction media landscape,” and we humbly thank IDA for this extraordinary recognition. In an environment where the need to amplify women’s voices is receiving much needed attention, this award will serve to further elevate the importance of their stories.
We would like to extend a special congratulations to 2016 Breakthrough Filmmaker Award Recipient Julia Reichert for her well-earned Career Achievement Award. Thank you Julia, for your incredible contributions to documentary filmmaking. We are so happy for you and cannot wait to celebrate your achievements.
We also congratulate 2017 Breakthrough Filmmaker Award Recipient Dawn Porter for her nomination for Best Limited Series for her Netflix doc series Bobby Kennedy for President. Chicken & Egg Pictures did not directly support Bobby Kennedy for President but supported Dawn during her breakthrough year and past projects Trapped and The Chosen Life. Congratulations Dawn and good luck!
The IDA Awards ceremony will take place on Saturday, December 8 at the Paramount Theatre in Los Angeles. We’ll see you there!
The DOC NYC Film Festival recently released their inaugural 40 Under 40 List, sponsored by Topic Studios, honoring documentary talents under the age of 40. Of the 40 artists selected, over half are women. Congratulations to all on this honor!
Assia Boundaoui, director of The Feeling of Being Watched (2016 Accelerator Lab and recipient of The Whickers Chicken & Egg Pictures Award)
Nausheen Dadabhoy, director of An Act of Worship (2018 Diversity Fellows Initiative)
Jessica Devaney, co-director of Love the Sinner (2016 Impact and Innovation Initiative), and producer of the Nest-supported films Always in Season, The Feeling of Being Watched, Roll Red Roll, and Speed Sisters.
Sabaah Folayan, director of Whose Streets? (2016 Accelerator Lab). Whose Streets? premiered on PBS on July 30.
Farihah Zaman, co-director of Remote Area Medical
And congratulations to our other Nest friends!
- Erin Casper, editor of Roll Red Roll (dir. Nancy Schwartzman)
- Mariam Dwedar, camera operator for On Her Shoulders (dir. Alexandria Bombach, 2018 SXSW LUNA/Chicken & Egg Pictures Award recipient)
- Danielle Vega, co-producer of Cameraperson (dir. Kirsten Johnson, 2017 Breakthrough Filmmaker Award)
Check out more DOC NYC news from the Nest.
The Independent Filmmaker Project announced the nominees for the 28th Annual IFP Gotham Awards. The Gotham Awards celebrate independent films and film projects and have a record of providing early recognition ahead of the upcoming national awards season.
At Chicken & Egg Pictures, we were so proud to see Nest-supported filmmaker and Impact & Innovation Initiative participant Nico Opper nominated for the “Breakthrough Series – Short Form” Award for their series The F Word.
Season one of The F Word: A Foster to Adoption Story revealed the story of one queer couple adopting from foster care in Oakland, CA. Season two (2018 Impact & Innovation Initiative) continues their story while amplifying other voices in the foster care world: birth families, foster youth, adoptees, adoptive parents of color, and social entrepreneurs working to repair a broken system.
Chicken & Egg Pictures also previously Nico’s feature documentary Visitor’s Day, which recently had its broadcast premiere on World Channel on PBS.
The Gotham Awards will be held at Cipriani Wall Street on Monday, November 26. In the meantime, season one of The F Word is available to stream online. Congratulations Nico and good luck!
In addition to the Nest-supported projects and filmmakers at DOC NYC, we are egg-static to announce our Co-Founder and Senior Creative Consultant Judith Helfand’s Cooked: Survival by Zip Code, will have its world premiere at the festival.
In addition to co-founding the Nest, Judith has directed several award-winning films including the The Uprising of ’34 (co-directed with esteemed veteran George Stoney), her groundbreaking personal film A Healthy Baby Girl, its Sundance award-winning sequel Blue Vinyl, followed by Everything’s Cool (both co-directed with Daniel B. Gold). She has taught the art of documentary film at New York University, New School, and was the Filmmaker-in-Residence at University of Wisconsin-Madison’s Nelson Institute for Environmental Studies in 2007 and 2009. As much an educator and field-builder as she is a filmmaker, Judith co-founded Working Films and sits on the boards of Great Small Works and The Lower East Side Girls Club.
Cooked: Survival by Zip Code, directed by Judith A. Helfand
Sunday, November 11 at 1:30 p.m. at SVA Theater
Wednesday, November 14 at 2:45 p.m. at IFC Center
In July 1995, Chicago was hit by a record heat wave that claimed the lives of 739 residents, primarily among the elderly, African Americans and those living in poverty. Using this tragedy as a jumping-off point, but referencing other extreme weather catastrophes like Hurricanes Katrina and Sandy, Cooked provocatively reframes the politics of disaster to encompass extreme inequity, arguing that economically disadvantaged communities should be preventatively treated as disasters taking place in slow motion.*
* Synopsis courtesy of DOC NYC
Congratulations, Judith, and see you at DOC NYC!
Fork Films announced yesterday $625,000 in grant funding to sixteen documentaries “that align with the company’s dedication to promoting peacebuilding, human rights, and social justice.”
We are so proud to have supported seven films of the sixteen announced, as well as one filmmaker.
How much control does a person have over their own life? In China, state control begins before a child is even born.
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.
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.
If doing what you love put your life at risk, would you continue to do it? What if it would also endanger the life of your family and friends? Would you carry on? Or would you quit? These are the questions the women athletes of Rajada Dalka/Nation’s Hope face every single day as they are met with threats from members of the Al-Shabab militia in Mogadishu. Diving deep inside the Somali National Women’s basketball team’s first season since the civil war, the film follows veteran coach Suad Galow as she shepherds her team of fearless young women, and helps them to overcome the violent threats against them and reclaim their place on the international stage.
Women are now the fastest growing population in the U.S. criminal justice system, increasing at nearly double the rate of men. The majority of women going into prison are serving time for drug-related charges. This immersive, character-driven film follows three women—who are part of a new reentry program in Cleveland, Ohio—as they prepare to leave prison, reunite with their children, and find jobs after serving time for drug-related charges.
Syrian Families Film (Untitled), directed by Megan Mylan
A look at war and displacement through the lens of parenthood from Megan Mylan, Academy-Award winning director of Lost Boys of Sudan and Smile Pinki. This feature documentary unfolds as a sequence of cinematic short stories revolving around Syrian families living in Turkey, Greece, the US, Germany, and Syria. Each chapter is an intimate portrait of parents—often mothers alone—as they work to rebuild their children’s lost sense of security and possibility. It is a story that is both urgent and timeless.
What happened when unarmed Black teen Michael Brown was fatally shot by White police officer Darren Wilson?
Going to Mars: The Nikki Giovanni Project recounts the story of acclaimed poet, Nikki Giovanni and the revolutionary historical periods through which she lived—from the Civil Rights and Black Arts Movement, to present-day Black Lives Matter.
* Chicken & Egg Pictures did not directly support Going to Mars: The Nikki Giovanni Film but supports director Michèle through our 2016 Breakthrough Filmmaker Award program.
See the full slate of Fork Films’ newly supported projects here.
Post by 2018 Communications Intern Morgan Lee Hulquist.