Chicken & Egg Pictures: Open Call for Women Directors & Co-Directors of Nonfiction Films

chicken-egg-pictures-logoChicken & Egg Pictures doled out $2.8 million in funding for women making documentaries over the past eight years, and they're closing in on the big 3M this year with their three grants and two film funds. They've just sent out the open call for "women nonfiction filmmakers whose diverse voices and dynamic storytelling have the power to catalyze change, at home and around the globe." Grants range from $5,000-$25,000 and come with mentorship, creative collaboration and access to the dynamic Chicken & Egg community. If you're a woman making a non-fiction feature, short, hybrid, new media, or multiple-platforms piece (or if you're working as Co-Director with a woman on one of these projects) read on for Chicken & Egg's tips on snagging that cabbage.

First let's deal with the obvious question a few grumpy non-females might be asking: why does Chicken & Egg Pictures only support women filmmakers? We're gonna skip the debate and just illustrate this article with the lovely artwork of the Guerrilla Girls, an anonymous group of feminist artists that formed in NYC in 1985. Guerrilla Girls have no tie to Chicken & Egg Pictures, but their work goes hand in hand. First up, a Guerrilla Girls billboard placed in Hollywood in 2003:

Fired up? Then onto the grant (dudes, go find female co-directors and come back when you're ready). This is the first year that Chicken & Egg will be introducing an application fee, but they're very sorry about it and kept it relatively low to avoid pricing out potential applicants. Apply before July 1st and you're only $20 in the hole, wait til July 15th and it's $35. Not bad for an 8-10% chance at a grant -- that ratio is pretty healthy for a film fund!

Before you apply, C&E recommends that you read their Guidelines, FAQ & Application Checklist, and Three Steps to Take Before Applying. They provide a list of questions to ask oneself before embarking on their (fairly long) application:

  • Does your project fit well within Chicken and Egg Pictures’ stated mission?
  • Are you balancing the story with issue?
  • Are you as committed to craft, experimenting with style, storytelling and tone as you are to justice and the issues you are exploring on screen and with your engagement?
  • Are you striving to go beyond the standard formulas to explore and offer your story in a unique way?
  • Are you thinking about intent, your potential audience, and how your film will be used in the world concurrently with your understanding of the story and the development of your film?
  • Are you interested in mentorship—both in receiving it and, when appropriate, offering it?
  • Shorts are the new tall and we, like many, are interested in how multiple platforms/social media can be used. Are you considering different ways to use your storytelling, the medium and the media itself?
  • Do you like the idea of being part of a community of women filmmakers that are primed to give back to the field, help the next one “up” and when possible, useful or necessary meet/work as a group?

Pop quiz: why is it important to develop a community of women filmmakers? The Guerrilla Girls made you a cheat sheet in 2012:

UnchainUpdate Guerilla Girls

If you're planning to be the 5th ever woman director nominated for the Oscar (or the 2nd winner), Chicken & Egg is ready to help. Check out a few of the projects that Chicken & Egg Executive Produces to make sure your film is the right fit for C&E (you can't apply for Executive Production by Chicken & Egg, but they will select your project from the application pool if they love your film and want to help every step of the way):

Brooklyn Castle, Executive Production by Chicken & Egg:

Orgasm, Inc., Executive Production by Chicken & Egg:

Body Typed, Executive Production by Chicken & Egg:

To get more insight into exactly how C&E rolls, check out the I Believe in You Grant (development/seed funding), The Liberty Grant (which completes your budget so that you're free to stop fundraising for your film and start making the dang thing), and the Celebration Grant (for veteran filmmakers). You don't need to select a particular grant to apply for -- C&E will make the call for you after reading your application and selecting your film.

Need some more inspiration to get started, ladies? Here are a few Guerrilla Girls DIY stickers from Sundance 2001:Guerilla Girls Sundance 2

Guerilla Girls Sundance

If you feel like changing the stats this decade, head on over to Chicken & Egg pictures and apply!

Link: Chicken & Egg Pictures' 2013 Open Call

[Images courtesy of Guerrilla Girls]

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Your Comment


Where's my men only grant?

June 7, 2013 at 8:24AM, Edited September 4, 8:21AM


Thank you for "adding" to the conversation, Travis.

June 7, 2013 at 9:09AM, Edited September 4, 8:21AM

Dave Kendricken

I think you get that by stepping foot in LA

June 7, 2013 at 9:58AM, Edited September 4, 8:21AM


Every man in LA gets a film grant? Wow!

June 7, 2013 at 4:06PM, Edited September 4, 8:21AM


Oh please. I know more women in film careers here in LA than I do men... so please stop all the white-knighting. And if that wasn't bad enough, most of them are terrible at their jobs. I know one girl who works at RSA films that couldn't tell you the difference between film and digital... then complains when her boss tell her she really needs to learn these things. A man would get fired instantly. They get MUCH more nepotistic connections and more special treatment then men. This argument is stupid. If there aren't equal numbers of women directors, then guess what? It's because they aren't as good. It's a leadership position that requires you to master about 20 different jobs to really be good at... AND... if a women is a great leader... most men will STILL tend to fallow a alpha male over a alpha female. It's just our brain wiring. Don't blame society or men for misogyny... blame nature.

This 50% 50% representation of women for everything is absurd. People in entertainment are looking to make MONEY. Nothing else. They won't discriminate in the face of profits. Why do you not see women in professional mainstream sports? ...they aren't as good. Why are there equal OR MORE women in signing/music? ... they ARE as good or better. Why are there equal OR MORE women in literature? Because they're probably better at it. So then, why aren't there equal women in directing? ... do the math. The free-market is the greatest anti-discrimination tool in history. But... it also shows us the true reality of nature. Which is probably why so many don't like it these days...

July 4, 2013 at 1:25PM, Edited September 4, 8:21AM


This is pure BS. I know plenty of men in this field who suck at directing too! Your point is both invalid and sexist. There is no right and wrong way to gain knowledge as a director. I agree one should know certain simple aspects of directing like "the difference between digital and film" and lenses, shots, VFX, lighting etc. But those are things that are learned. Many films directed by men aren't necessarily good. Would you say that to Kristen Bigalow? The main reason why women aren't getting adequate representation in film has a lot to do with content. They're not making films the majority of consumers want to see. As a woman, I even know this and don't have plans ever to make films like rom coms and many of the crappy documentaries you see here. I'm more into thrillers, fantasy, comedies, and action flicks and have gotten more support from men in this field who love my ideas than anything.

Studios aren't against women going into film and fully support but the main issue is many female filmmakers aren't making content with mass market appeal.

There needs to be more representation in film for women but we also need to see more women who can tailor to public interest so it benefits the business dynamics of Hollywood studios and generates money. A win-win for both!

October 16, 2014 at 3:24PM

Oriel Kerr
filmmaker, screenwriter, animator, illustrator

71% of commercial production companies don't hire female directors, jesus.

June 7, 2013 at 10:06AM, Edited September 4, 8:21AM


Many of these statistics imply discrimination against women instead of women discriminating against jobs with attributes that women do not like :

longer, non-daytime (night-time), irregular, weekend work hours
overtime (paid or unpaid)
longer commutes, travel away from home, relocation
dangerous, dirty, outdoor (men are nearly 100% of workplace deaths and injuries )

Women on average exit the full-time work force for six years. Does less work experience and fewer accomplishments affect a job applicant's eligibility?

June 13, 2013 at 1:51PM, Edited September 4, 8:21AM


WTF, dude?

Nice to be presumptuous about what attributes a whole sex likes in a job, as if over 50% of the population is ever gonna have some uniform taste in what they want in a job anyway.

The odd hours and the periodic nature is something that I know actually draws many women into film. If you want to make that leap that your post implies about women leaving work to get pregnant (the whole 6 years thing---and that "stat", if it truly is one, would apply to women with children of a certain age, not women in general---the stat changes the curve...), few things are better than the freelance lifestyle.

Also, if women are statistically gonna leave for 6 years...that doesn't matter! I've never worked on a film more than a few months anyway...if a film lasted 6 years, I'd quite too!

There are plenty of women working in film that enjoy the location work just as much as me.

And unlike in the 35mm era, there is hardly the issue of women being strong enough to do the heavy lifting (not that I didn't know several AC's who can and did left all those heavy camera cases in that era as well). I see more women in my department than 10 or 15 years ago, that's for sure, and I'm stoked for that.

June 16, 2013 at 5:11PM, Edited September 4, 8:21AM

Daniel Mimura

Hollywood can only benefit by having more women involved in productions. Level the creative playing field
I can attest having a woman on set makes the production less tense, especially in front if the camera. , Testimonials, confessions, nude scene, etc most times are always more comfortable when a woman is running the show. It brings out the best in everybody.

June 7, 2013 at 12:51PM, Edited September 4, 8:21AM

Anthony Marino

I have a question, why does Chicken & Egg only support women directors....that direct non-fiction? What about all the fabulously talented female story tellers out there trying to break through the glass ceiling and become the next Peter Jackson or Woody Allen?

While it's appreciated that the organization is endeavoring to support the role of women in film, why cage us into non-fiction?

I'm sure Kathryn Bigelow and Jane Campion would agree.

June 11, 2013 at 4:52AM, Edited September 4, 8:21AM


I'm actually wondering the same thing. I could be mistaken, but I was under the impression that there are more women in documentary filmmaking than in the other genres as it is. It's the mainstream "institution" which women have had a hard time breaking through, not the ability to hire a couple of camera operators to conduct a bunch of interviews/ follow your interesting subject around town.

Also, I'm always a little torn about these sort of women-only initiatives, but holy schmoley... that the majority of the comments so far are from men screaming reverse discrimination just reinforces my experience that there's a MAJOR problem. And not only in the entertainment industry, but with the culture at large. Bravo, guys. Bravo.

June 13, 2013 at 2:36PM, Edited September 4, 8:21AM


I'm a Feminist and a video editor. "Reverse discrimination" is a euphemism for discrimination against men. Do women really gain real opportunities when men are not allowed to apply? How does a scholarship from a sexist organization help my resume? You can be sure I wouldn't list Chicken&Egg on my resume.

Does the reduction of the talent pool help the production? My male assistants work hard, and I'm wondering why it is so difficult to find female interns. Do women shun this line of work at the entry level?

But I understand that private institutions that don't receive federal or state funding may discriminate freely by sex, race, creed, disability and even sex. How did we feel when some large private golf clubs wanted to preserve a space that was safe for men by prohibiting women?

June 13, 2013 at 11:10PM, Edited September 4, 8:21AM


Does the workforce discriminate against women as a group or do women as a group discriminate against the workforce ? The US female labor market participation rate continues to hover around 75% while male and female unemployment rates are very similar.

The US Bureau of Labor Statistics in 2012 reported that men, married or never-married, work 10% more hours than married women and 4% more hours than never-married women.

In an effort to combat perceived discrimination against women, Chicken & Egg commits real discrimination against men.

June 13, 2013 at 1:40PM, Edited September 4, 8:21AM


Logically speaking, It is understandable that some men will feel discriminated against by this opportunity. However the numbers are real. No one is saying it's all men's fault either. Many times it's our fault as some of us women can be just plain lazy, afraid, intimidated and unfocused, or if we are focused in our energetic years, our focus is erroneously on men because we are emotional creatures who let our emotions flow into many areas of our lives, while men are logical and compartmentalize their emotions and lives with no problem, but the good news is that that's changing. Ian did an excellent job of listing attributes women do not like including longer, non-daytime (night-time) hours, irregular, weekend work hours, overtime (paid or unpaid), longer commutes, travel away from home, relocation, dangerous, dirty, outdoor (men are nearly 100% of workplace deaths and injuries ), on average, exit the full-time work force for six years. etc. He was also right in stating, "Less work experience and fewer accomplishments affect a job applicant’s eligibility," because companies are looking for the best person, not woman to fill the role. However, let's not also forget that the work place is generally designed to be competitive and most work environments are testosterone driven due to the amount of men there and women don't particularly like work competition or being overworked etc so they don't stay. I was an extra on a shoot and a PA was talking about his former producer boss who left the 80 hour work week job to become a freelance make-up artist. People thought she was crazy, but she wanted her peace and a holistic life. Women are different from men. We can accomplish the same goal, but we will go about doing it differently. The problem is that men want to force women to do things a certain way like they would do it and because they run the environment, that's what happens and women can't cope long term. Women still have a long way to go and we need help because we are disadvantaged, this is not to mention minority women like me who are doubly disadvantaged. Most men, especially those who are not of color will never understand this no matter how much they empathize. Women's liberation or not, we are the "fairer" gender. Even the time and energy our bodies devote to our monthly renewal alone causes us to lag behind men. If you want to understand this issue better and from a different perspective, visit Sociable Susan Magazine to read an article titled Power Women Discuss: Women, Power, Media & Political Leadership available at

June 13, 2013 at 4:11PM, Edited September 4, 8:21AM


I have a wonderful documentary I'm working on a non-fiction docuFilm. This is a great opportunity for my team n I.
Check out our trailer here:
So I'm glad to see this. Thanks NoFilmschool!!!!

June 13, 2013 at 4:30PM, Edited September 4, 8:21AM


It's like trying to explain to a Tyrannosauraus Rex why he shouldn't eat people...they just don't get it. Men will never understand what it's like to work in a male dominated environment. Most...yes I said most, not see work as a competition. There aren't a lot of men that would try to work and raise a family. Does Ian's statistic include the work that is being done at home while men are giving more of themselves to a corporation than they are their family? Try to work and take care of a family and household. Have you seen the video on youtube of the men experiencing labor pains? This shouldn't be seen as discriminating against men, but as an opportunity for women. A private entitiy providing opportunity to women...isn't that what makes this a great country. We are free to give of our money to whoever we want to give it to.

June 14, 2013 at 7:57AM, Edited September 4, 8:21AM

Mary Ann

Mary Ann wrote "Men will never understand what it’s like to work in a male dominated environment."

Men understand working in a male-populated work environment very well. It's tough to compete with men for pay, even for men. The US BLS statistic measures hours at work and the greater number of hours worked by men can be used to explain the sex wage gap. When men work more to earn more money, their effort enables women work options such as working fewer hours.

Feminists often recite the sex pay gap as a measure of workplace discrimination without mentioning that men work more hours. If men work 10% more hours, then men should make 10% more. The sex wage gap beef is really between married women and their higher-paid opponents : never-married women and men (married or not).

June 14, 2013 at 11:22AM, Edited September 4, 8:21AM


"…men see work as a competition."

Work IS competition! Are you serious? All of human existence is competition! This is what drives evolution and progress!

"Men will never understand what it’s like to work in a male dominated environment."

And women will never understand reality then, I guess. Life is competition. Nature is NOT fair. Not everyone is meant to succeed. I understand where you're coming from, as women really don't get natural competition... or they do, but have an emotional-predisposition to reject it. There are two sexes for a reason. If both sexes were cold, competitive, and dominant... offspring wouldn't do very well. And if both sexes were overly compassionate, nurturing, and only interested in "fair-ness"... we would never improve or progress. This is just reality and the nature of our species.

July 4, 2013 at 1:40PM, Edited September 4, 8:21AM


*not meant to succeed

July 4, 2013 at 1:42PM, Edited September 4, 8:21AM


I am requesting for my film project as co Director for funds. The co producer is Europian mortion pictures with the title 4th Dimesion of love. i have written the screen play together with the german Director Till Hastreiter. You could see the web site of European motion pictures
Thank you
gloriana Selvanathan

June 15, 2013 at 1:51PM, Edited September 4, 8:21AM


Good work on covering the chess match with the documentary "Brooklyn Castle"

I watched the trailer, but I'm stumped at 2:06 . Did that sign really read "Home of the Girls National Chess Champion?" What ?!? A Web search reveals a "Women's World Chess Championship." Why are girls and boys separated in chess competitions? Will controversy broil over a transsexual woman (was a man) competing in the women's competition?

June 15, 2013 at 5:59PM, Edited September 4, 8:21AM


Most of these comments make me truly sad for the human race.

June 17, 2013 at 8:05PM, Edited September 4, 8:21AM



My name is Joanne beechey, I have a very interesting short film,aimed specifically at Women and child loss. I First wrote it as a script for the theatre;then i attended a week of workshops with Film-London and entered it into a competition. I did collaborate with another writer to produce a treatment of the best way to present my personal experience.

in 2002 my Son was stillborn. I found this a very hard process to overcome, I was accepted into central school of Speech and drama and started turning my Autobiography into something Abstract.

My Film is called Denep-Tance: half way between denial and Acceptance. Its like Alice in Wonderland on a psychedelic trip. The film starts in a delivery room and follows the protagonist through a series of emotions. It is a portrayal of the first minute that the protagonist is trying to comprehend,that the babies heart beat is Dead.

Shola proceeds to follow a Commedia Dell'arte Clown,through different rooms and corridors. It has been compared to the film Bronson as it is all inside the protagonists head.

Ending in her submerged in a giant bath filled with blood and lots more powerful images on her journey.

I would like to submit my Script for next years Bursary with Chicken and Egg,which in hindsight is fitting.
Please if you think that my short sounds interesting to you,Please I would appreciate any feedback.

Kind Regards

Joanne Beechey

January 28, 2014 at 7:11AM, Edited September 4, 8:45AM


Got it! Thanks a lot again for henpilg me out!

March 17, 2014 at 3:22PM, Edited September 4, 8:56AM