Meet our Newest Nest Board Members: Leslie Belzberg and Marjan Safinia

Chicken & Egg Pictures proudly announces two new members to our Board of Directors: Leslie Belzberg and Marjan Safinia. Members of our Board of Directors serve an official role for Chicken & Egg Pictures, offering constructive feedback, guidance, and independent oversight of our work.

Leslie Belzberg

Leslie Belzberg (pictured left) currently oversees all television and theatrical productions for Gaumont USA as Senior Vice President, Production. Prior to Gaumont, Leslie was a consultant for Blumhouse Television and head of production at Miramax and Endemol-Shine North America.

Before moving into high-level executive roles at major studios, Belzberg was an independent producer, most well-known for her storied collaboration with director John Landis. Together, they co-created St. Clare Entertainment, a TV production company. She also produced many of his films including Coming to AmericaThree AmigosBlues Brothers 2000Beverly Hills Cop IIISusan’s PlanThe StupidsOscarSpies Like Us, and Into the Night. Belzberg has also produced Academy Award winning films such as Crazy Heart, which earned Jeff Bridges a Best Actor win, and the documentary Genocide, also produced by the Simon Wiesenthal Center, now the Museum of Tolerance in Los Angeles.

Leslie earned an MBA from Fordham University in New York and a BA in English Literature and Contemporary Drama from York University in Toronto.

Marjan Safinia

Marjan Safinia (pictured right) is an Iranian documentary filmmaker whose films examine identity, community, and social justice. Her current project And She Could Be Next (in production) is about women of color running for political office to claim political power for a rising new American majority. Marjan’s feature documentary Seeds tells the story of ten brave teenagers from the world’s most troubled conflict zones living side-by-side for one life-changing summer. Her first film But You Speak Such Good English is a half hour documentary which explores the first-generation immigrant experience from an insider perspective.

Collectively, Marjan’s films have played at over 100 international film festivals and broadcast in North America, Europe, and across the Arab world. She has produced and directed work for Co-Founder of Google Sergey Brin, the Barack Obama administration, and Next Generation in partnership with the Clinton Foundation. Her work has been supported by the IDA Enterprise Documentary Fund and Sundance Institute. She is also a Sundance Catalyst Fellow.

Until 2018, Marjan was the longest-serving President of the Board of Directors of the International Documentary Association (IDA), also the only woman of color to hold the position since the IDA was founded in 1982. She also co-hosts The D-Word, the preeminent online community for documentary professionals. Marjan is a regular juror, programmer, speaker and connector of all things documentary.

Welcome Leslie and Marjan! To learn more about the rest of our Board, see here.

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.

Sahra Mani: Dozen Days of Filmmakers — Day 2

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

“I make films to give hope to the women of my country and to give guidance to those who want to know my country better. I make films to help build a safe society for the next generation and to record our journey to that point.” – Sahra Mani, Al Jazeera

A Thousand Girls Like Me Sahra Mani 2016 Diversity Fellows InitiativeSahra Mani is an award-winning Afghan filmmaker committed to using her skills as a filmmaker to amplify the voices of Afghan women to help bring about an understanding of their lives.

She received a BA in Digital Film Production from London Metropolitan University and an MA in Documentary Filmmaking from University of the Arts London. 

Sahra was an organizer of the Afghanistan Human Rights Film Festival in 2013.  She is the founder of Afghanistan Doc House, a production company based in Kabul, and co-founder of London based production company Anahat Vision and Films. Her documentary films have played at film festivals around the world and won numerous awards. 

A Thousand Girls Like Me 2016 Diversity Fellows Initiative Sahra Mani
A Thousand Girls Like Me, directed by Sahra Mani

Her latest feature documentary and 2016 Diversity Fellows Initiative grantee A Thousand Girls Like Me had its world premiere at Hot Docs this year, and went on to show at IDFA, Human Rights Watch Film Festival, and Sheffield Doc/Fest. 

In Afghanistan where systematic abuses of girls rarely come to light, and seeking justice can be deadly, one young woman says “enough.” Khatera was brutally raped by her father since the age of nine and today she raises two precious and precocious children whom he sired. Against her family’s and many Afghanis’ wishes, Khatera forces her father to stand trial.

A shortened version of A Thousand Girls Like Me is available to stream on Al Jazeera.

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.

Chicken & Egg Pictures Receives IDA Amicus Award

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.

Julia Reichert 2016 Breakthrough Filmmaker AwardWe 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.

Dawn Porter 2017 Breakthrough Filmmaker AwardWe 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 Nest in the Inaugural DOC NYC 40 Under 40

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)

Lyric R. Cabral, director of (T)ERROR and The Rashomon Effect (2017 Accelerator Lab)

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.

Lana Wilson, director of The Departure and After Tiller

Farihah Zaman, co-director of Remote Area Medical

And congratulations to our other Nest friends!

Check out more DOC NYC news from the Nest.

Chicken & Egg Pictures-supported Filmmakers at the Call-To-Action Film Festival

The Call-To-Action Film Festival, a documentary mini-fest by the Santa Barbara International Film Festival, will present a diverse selection of seven thought provoking films starting this Friday, September 28 and running through Thursday, October 4 at Santa Barbara’s Riviera Theatre.

The festival aims to bring communities together in order to spark dialogue on pressing issues using the art of film. Each film screening will be followed by moderated panel discussions with the film’s directors and specialists on the film’s issues.

We are excited to announce that three out of seven presented films at the Call-To-Action Festival are directed by Chicken & Egg Pictures-supported filmmakers.

The Devil We Know Stephanie Stephanie Soechtig Jeremy SeifertThe Devil We Know, directed by Stephanie Soechtig

Unraveling one of the biggest environmental scandals of our time, a group of citizens in West Virginia take on a powerful corporation after they discover it has knowingly been dumping a toxic chemical – now found in the blood of 99.7% of Americans – into the drinking water supply. This shocking exposé will blow the lid off the chemical industry.

Saturday, September 29 at 7:30 PM and Thursday, October 4 at 5 PM.

Roll Red Roll Nancy SchwartzmanRoll Red Roll, directed by Nancy Schwartzman

Go behind the headlines of a notorious sexual assault case to witness the social media-fueled “boys will be boys” culture that allowed it to happen. With unprecedented access to police documents, exhibits, and evidence, Roll Red Roll examines the 2012 assault of a teenage girl by members of an Ohio town’s beloved high school football team—and explores the complex motivations and attitudes of both perpetrators and bystanders.

Saturday, September 29 at 4:30 PM and Tuesday, October 2 at 5 PM. Rape culture panel to follow Saturday screening.

The Pushouts, directed by Katie Galloway (The Return), co-directed by Dawn Valadez*

“Dr. Victor Rios was a high school dropout and gang member with
multiple felony convictions and a death wish. When a teacher’s
persistence, a mentor’s moral conviction, and his best friend’s murder converge, Rios’s path takes an unexpected turn. The Pushouts examines questions of race, class, and power through the lens of Dr. Rios, now a professor at UCSB.”*

Sunday, September 30 at 4:30 PM and Tuesday, October 2 at 7:30 PM. Prison and education panel to follow Sunday screening.

*Chicken & Egg Pictures did not support The Pushouts , but supported director Katie Galloway through The Return.

*Synopsis and image courtesy of The Pushouts.

The Whickers Announces 2018 Award Recipient

The Whickers recently announced the recipient of the 2018 The Whickers/Chicken & Egg Pictures Award: congratulations to Ilinca Calugareanu and the A Cops and Robbers Story team!

Ilinca Calugareanu A Cops and Robbers Story Accelerator Lab 2018
A Cops and Robbers Story, directed by Ilinca Calugareanu

Named for pioneering British broadcaster Alan Whicker, The Whickers is dedicated to supporting emerging voices in the field of documentary. The award, focused on Accelerator Lab participants, was conceived to ensure that more women enter the nonfiction filmmaking pipeline. Previous recipients include The Feeling of Being Watched by Assia Boundaoui and The Surrender of Waymond Hall by Jane Greenberg.

A Cops and Robbers Story follows Corey Pegues, one of the highest ranking black executives in the NYPD, who revealed a few months after retirement that before joining the NYPD he worked the streets dealing crack cocaine for one of the most notorious drug gangs in the US, the Supreme Team. The project was recently featured as a docustory in The Guardian. Said director Ilinca Calugareanu, “It is such an honour to be this year’s recipient of The Whickers/Chicken & Egg Pictures Award. Thank you for believing in us and in the importance of Corey Pegues’s story. Your support means so much!”

Ilinca’s debut documentary feature, Chuck Norris vs. Communism, is currently available for streaming on Netflix.

Post by 2018 Communications Intern Morgan Lee Hulquist. 

Breakthrough Award Recipient Laura Nix wins at SIFF

Laura Nix
2018 Breakthrough FIlmmaker Award recipient Laura Nix

Congratulations to Laura Nix (2018 Breakthrough Filmmaker Award recipient) for her big win at the Seattle International Film Festival. Laura’s film Inventing Tomorrow received the 2018 SIFF Grand Jury Prize in the Documentary Competition.

SIFF 2018 Jury Statement: “For it’s compelling cast of young visionaries from around the globe who are engaged and looking for solutions to the world’s environmental problems, Inventing Tomorrow offers us a sense of optimism and the certainty that science matters.”

Laura Nix Inventing Tomorrow
Inventing Tomorrow by Laura Nix (2018 Breakthrough Filmmaker Award Recipient).

If you missed it the first time around, a  fourth additional screening of Inventing Tomorrow will be held at the Best of SIFF showcase on Saturday, June 16 at 1:30 PM.

* Chicken & Egg Pictures did not directly support Inventing Tomorrow but supports director Laura through our 2018 Breakthrough Filmmaker Award program.

Post by 2018 Communications Intern Morgan Lee Hulquist.