Chicken & 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:
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:
If you feel like changing the stats this decade, head on over to Chicken & Egg pictures and apply!
[Images courtesy of Guerrilla Girls]