Here, the Silence Is Heard, TATA and The Wife Of among the (Egg)celerator Lab grantees
by Marta Bałaga
- The lab, an initiative of Chicken & Egg Pictures, has awarded a number of feature-length documentary projects from around the world
The (Egg)celerator Lab, an initiative of Chicken & Egg Pictures, self-described as “a leader in supporting women and gender-nonconforming filmmakers”, has awarded grants to feature-length documentary film projects directed (or co-directed) by first- or second-time directors. The $40,000 grant is to be put towards production and a year-long mentorship, while – for the first time ever – ten additional projects will each receive a $15,000 (Egg)celerator Lab Finalist Grant.
“$550,000 in grantmaking marks the largest sum that Chicken & Egg Pictures has ever directed to emerging filmmakers through the (Egg)celerator Lab in a single year,” says executive director Jenni Wolfson. “We know there are many exceptional films and filmmakers out there that need and deserve production support, so it’s especially meaningful to us that we can extend our reach to a total of 20 projects in 2022.”
Apart from 7 Beats Per Minute, Joonam, Life + Life, Matryoshka, Olimpia and Our Daughters, three European co-productions made the cut: Here, the Silence Is Heard (Chile/Spain), TATA (Moldova/Romania) and The Wife Of (Belarus/Estonia).
In Here, the Silence Is Heard, director Gabriela Pena focuses on a personal story, as after arriving in Chile at the old house that her family abandoned in exile, “the ghosts of an unstoppable family spell begin to appear at night”. Pena will also produce the film alongside Picho García, who co-directs. Lina Vdovîi and Radu Ciorniciuc – following the Sundance-awarded Acasă - My Home [+see also:
interview: Radu Ciorniciuc
film profile] – will also keep things in the family with TATA (see the interview), produced by Monica Lazurean Gorgan, where Vdovîi’s strained relationship with her violent father takes an unexpected turn once she discovers he has become a victim of exploitation at work.
Finally, in The Wife Of, producer Volia Chajkouskaya will turn to directing, with the help of Ivo Felt, Christian Popp and Marius Markevicius. “When starting this film in 2020, I was driven by the idea of female leadership and the so-called ‘female face’ of the Belarusian revolution, because I believe that a huge number of positive transformations in the world are possible if women get more of a voice and opportunities,” says Chajkouskaya. “My initial motivation was based on my admiration of courageous Belarusian women, who dared to start a fight against the dictatorship. This ironic title, which is a work in progress, references how media and society tend to perceive and present women in patriarchal societies like Belarus – as only an appendage to a man. The current situation in Ukraine has a big impact on my characters and my homeland, and makes the topic I am working on even more important and relevant than ever.”
The lab finalists include Clare Weiskopf and Nicolas van Hemelryck, presenting Alis; Pascale Appora-Gnekindy and Ningyi Sun, behind Eat Bitter; Maia Lekow and Christopher King, the directors of How to Build a Library; Vicky Du (Light of the Setting Sun); Sasha Wortzel (River of Grass); Silvia Castaños and Estefanía Contreras (Hummingbirds); Emily Mkrtichian (There Was, There Was Not); Sharon Yeung and Natalie A Chao (We Are Volcanoes); Ivy MacDonald (When They Were Here); and, finally, Shirley Abraham and Amit Madheshiya, with a new project.
Chicken & Egg Pictures was founded in 2005 by Julie Parker Benello, Wendy Ettinger and Judith Helfand. Since its inception, the organisation has awarded over $9 million in grants and thousands of hours of creative mentorship to over 400 filmmakers.
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