Chicken & Egg Pictures is one of the most respected organizations aimed squarely at one thing: supporting female non-fiction filmmakers with important (and innovative) stories to tell. Since their founding, Chicken & Egg has doled out around $7 million to over 300 filmmakers! Their two major programs that seek out and support filmmakers are the (Egg)celerator Lab and the Chicken & Egg Award. They only choose about ten filmmakers for the Lab each year, which makes it pretty tough to get in, but so worth it if you do!

The (Egg)celerator Lab

Yes, the (Egg)celerator Lab is a kind of accelerator lab specifically aimed at women (or gender non-conforming) directors who are making their first or second documentary film. Ten filmmakers get invited every year, and they make a point to seek out underrepresented voices and unique stories. And it comes with $35K!

From Chicken & Egg Pictures:

Each project receives a $35,000 grant for the production of a film, and the filmmakers will come together at various points over the course of a year for an intensive period of professional development, tailored mentorship, and workshops with industry experts, creatively fusing the art and craft of filmmaking with industry and peer support.

Here is a list of the recently announced 2019 (Egg)celerator Lab participants with the name of their project and where it’s from:

  • Milisuthando Bongela, Milisuthando (Working Title) (SOUTH AFRICA)
  • Nausheen Dadabhoy, An Act of Worship (US/PAKISTAN)
  • Betzabé García,#Mickey  (MEXICO)

  • Viviana Gómez Echeverry , Paths of Fire and Water  (COLOMBIA)

  • Farah Kassem ,We Are Inside (LEBANON)

  • Sara Khaki , Sara: A Fearless Dream (IRAN/US)

  • Jessica Kingdon, Untitled PRC Project (US)

  • Daresha Kyi ,Mama Bears (US)
  • Jasmin López , Silent Beauty  (MEXICO/US)

  • Kristine Stolakis , Pray Away (US)

The Chicken & Egg Award

The Chicken & Egg Award, which was formerly called the Breakthrough Award, recognizes experienced female who deserve recognition and visibility–and not to mention $50K! Because let's face it–it's hard enough to make a great documentary, let alone make any money off of it. This year’s Chicken & Egg Award recipients are directors of Peabody Award and Emmy® Award-winning films that contain all sorts of characters, from Yazidi human rights activists to punk rocker-turned-Buddhist monk, who’ve inspired and played festivals like Tribeca, Sundance, Berlinale, and so on.  

From Chicken & Egg Pictures:

The Chicken & Egg Award was designed to respond to the reality that only a few women nonfiction directors in the US are able to work full time as independent storytellers. The award comes with a $50,000 unrestricted grant that gives its recipient more financial freedom in planning her career, and year-long individualized mentorship geared towards working to achieve the professional goals each filmmaker sets for herself. When so few women achieve the same visibility and access to resources and opportunities as men, the Chicken & Egg Award is a resounding crack in the glass ceiling.

These are recipients of the 2019 Chicken & Egg Award:

  • Julia Bacha
  • Alexandria Bombach
  • Stephanie Wang-Breal
  • Lana Wilson
  • Malika Zouhali-Worrall

While the Chicken & Egg Award is chosen through a closed nomination system, the yearlong (Egg)celerator Lab is an open call for any women filmmakers who are aiming at timely and important stories that could seriously benefit from the support of Chicken & Egg Pictures. And who wouldn’t?

If you think this could be you and you’re interested in applying to next year’s Lab, then we have good news. The Director of Programs at Chicken & Egg pictures gave us her best tip for any readers thinking about applying. Here’s what Lucila Moctezuma advises:

The most important component of your application is your work sample. It's worth taking the time to put together a strong sample with the material you have shot so far. A couple of scenes are more powerful than a slick trailer because it gives a better sense of who your characters are, the place or places of your film, and your visual style and rhythm. Put your best material at the beginning of the sample. 

Thanks for the advice, Lucila!

Congratulations to the new group of participants. And if you find yourself applying for the next (Egg)celerator Grant, check out more info on applying here. The grant hasn't opened up yet since they've just announced the current Lab, so check back soon.

And best of luck to you!

Featured header image is a still from the Chicken & Egg Pictures (Egg)celerator Lab participant 'Mama Bears' directed by Daresha Kyi.