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Chicken & Egg Pictures Awards $400,000 Total to Ten 2024 (Egg)celerator Lab Grantees

Chicken & Egg Pictures, the non-profit organization dedicated to supporting women and gender-expansive filmmakers with funding and mentorship, today announced its 2024 (Egg)celerator Lab grantees. The organization is granting $40,000 each to ten feature documentary film projects, directed or co-directed by first- or second-time directors. Funds are targeted for production, and each director will also receive year-long mentorship.

From today’s press release:

The 2024 (Egg)celerator Lab films find families reimagining their histories, legacies, generational grief, and intimate end of life journeys such as in Ashley O’Shay’s Southmont Drive (Working Title), Gabriela Díaz Arp’s Matitinó, and Emma Francis-Snyder’s Anatomy of a Life. They navigate struggles for justice in the face of incarceration, modern day colonization, and longstanding racism as in Rachael DeCruz and Jeremy S. Levine’s NINE and Tsanavi Spoonhunter’s Holder of the Sky. Their films explore gender, sexuality, and cultural identity as in Viv Li’s Two Mountains Weighing Down My Chest and Efraín Mojica and Rebecca Zweig’s Jaripeo. They investigate the tension between environmental conservation and economic necessity in Ragini Nath and Chinmoy Sonowal’s Our Hoolocks (Working Title). And they follow women confronting threats to reproductive rights and strengthening communities through collective resistance as in Maris Salumets’ War on Women and Amada Torruella’s Vena Acuatíca.

For the first time in its eight year history, the (Egg)celerator Lab is offering attendance stipends to all participants. The stipends are being offered in recognition that while retreats and mentoring components of grants are opportunities for project and career development, they can also create hardship in the form of travel, time away from family, and even turning down revenue-generating work.

“The Chicken & Egg Pictures’ team and I are extremely excited to be working with this group of first and second-time filmmakers who are using the art of documentary filmmaking to tell incredibly vital stories in innovative ways, ” said Sabine Fayoux Cantillo, Associate Director of Program at Chicken & Egg Pictures who leads the (Egg)celerator Lab. She continued, “We are also proud to be now providing attendance stipends for all Lab participants, building off of our childcare stipend offering, which started in 2021. Through the attendance stipend, we are recognizing that each individual is taking time away from their day-to-day life to immerse themselves fully in the program retreats. This commitment furthers our holistic support to our grantees.”

The international cohort includes directors hailing from China, El Salvador, Estonia, Germany, India, Mexico, Northern Arapaho and Northern Paiute Nations, Puerto Rico, and the US. Their work has been supported by Brown Girls Doc Mafia, ITVS, Ford Foundation, IDA, Doc Society, Points North Institute, and the Sundance Institute. Their projects have been featured in The New Yorker, The New York Times OpDocs, on PBS’ POV series, and at festivals including IDFA, DMZ International Documentary Film Festival, Nordisk Panorama, HotDocs, and DOC NYC.
These emerging directors come from a range of backgrounds in the documentary field and beyond: Efraín Mojica, director of Jaripeo, is a photographer, filmmaker, and multidisciplinary artist whose work has been exhibited in Berlin, Barcelona, and Mexico City; Amada Torruella (Vena Acuática) co-founded ZOLAS, a multidisciplinary cultural studio based in San Salvador, run by women artists. They have experience in journalism, social justice, and multiracial racial justice initiatives (Ragini Nath and Rachael DeCruz); Emma Francis-Snyder’s directorial debut, Takeover, was nominated for a News and Documentary Emmy® and shortlisted for an Academy® Award.

Past participants of the (Egg)celerator Lab include Jessica Kingdon, director of Oscar-nominated and Tribeca Film Festival Award-winning Ascension; Rintu Thomas and Sushmit Ghosh, directors of Oscar-nominated Writing With Fire, which was also the recipient of the Sundance Audience Award in the World Cinema Documentary competition; Jude Chehab, whose film Q won the Tribeca Film Festival’s Albert Maysles Award for Best New Documentary Director; and Sierra Ulrich, director of Joonam, which premiered at the Sundance Film Festival and received the Cleveland Film Festival’s Nesnadny + Schwartz Portrait Documentary Award.

The ten 2024 (Egg)celebrator Lab Grantees follow:

Anatomy of a Life
Director: Emma Francis-Snyder (US)
An exploration of the end of life—both as imagined by the dying, and as experienced by the ones they are leaving behind.

Holder of the Sky
Director/Producer: Tsanavi Spoonhunter (US / Northern Arapaho Nation and Northern Paiute Nation)
In Wisconsin, three tribal members battle to reclaim the promises made in historic treaties while facing longstanding racism and lingering land lust in this story of modern-day American colonization.

Directors: Efraín Mojica (MEXICO), Rebecca Zweig (US)
Producer: Sarah Strunin
A rural rodeo in Michoacán, Mexico offers an unexpected portrait of the intersections between machismo, queer desire, and the forces of mass migration.

Director: Gabriela Díaz Arp (US)
Co-Producers: Karla Claudio-Betancourt, Wendy Muñiz
A multi-generational family of Puerto Rican women transform their experiences of violence into a fantasy film.

Directors: Rachael DeCruz, Jeremy S. Levine (US)
Producer: Rajal Pitroda
Two men who meet in prison — one a teenager, the other in his late forties — forge a beautiful relationship that spans generations, decades, and a long struggle for justice.

Our Hoolocks (Working Title)
Directors: Ragini Nath, Chinmoy Sonowal (INDIA)
Producers: Gary Byungseok Kam, Kweighbaye Kotee
In a picturesque village in Northern India, the endearing coexistence between humans and an endangered species of Gibbons ape is threatened by an oilfield blast.

Southmont Drive (Working Title)
Director/Producer: Ashley O’Shay (US)
A Black family from Tuskegee, Alabama reimagines a gathering space for themselves in this reflective portrait of history, memory, and legacy.

Two Mountains Weighing Down My Chest
Director: Viv Li (CHINA)
Producers: Daniela Dieterich, Erik Winker
Co-Producer: Olivia Sophie van Leeuwen
A witty yet insightful search of identity and belonging of a Chinese filmmaker, who suddenly finds herself amidst the overwhelming art scene and queer culture after moving to Berlin.

Vena Acuática
Director/Producer: Amada Torruella (EL SALVADOR / US)
A mosaic of documentary vignettes explores collective resistance, womanhood, love, and family through the body-territory relationship in El Salvador.

War on Women
Director: Maris Salumets (ESTONIA)
Producers: Volia Chajkouskaya, Elina Litvinova
Co-Producer: Tereza Nvotova
A single mom on a global quest reveals a network of organizations behind the ultra-conservative movement attacking our constitutional rights.

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