Since its founding in 2005, Chicken & Egg Pictures has awarded nearly $4 million in grants and offered 5,200 hours of mentorship to over 190 films. And now the only non-profit film fund dedicated exclusively to female documentary filmmakers is celebrating its 10th anniversary.
“It was pretty clear that there were lots of women that we knew who were in these unique — or maybe not-so-unique — chicken-and-egg scenarios with their filmmaking and their career,” said Helfand. “They had a great idea, but they really didn’t have the money or the ability to really take their idea and get it to a trailer or get it to a place where they could share it with everyone. If you don’t have the idea, you need the trailer, but how do you get the trailer if you don’t have the money to go out and do the research and the development? How do you jumpstart that part of it if you don’t have the resources to invest in yourself?”
Chicken & Egg was funded to serve this need — to act as a catapult for women filmmakers, a place where they could pitch their idea and ask for development funds. But it was also about more than that. “We never wanted to just give anybody a grant, because nobody needs just a grant,” Helfand explained. “They need connections, they need creative consultation, they need introductions, they need a safe place to fail and flail.”
“It was very, very personal in terms of wanting to create a community and a support network and a real place for people to hone their craft, as well,” Ettinger added.
You can head over to Indiewire to read a list of the 10 most influential films Chicken & Egg Pictures has helped birth, including the docs that narrative features “Freeheld” and the upcoming “Lioness” are based on, along with insights into each of the projects from the three founders.
Whether you’re unfamiliar with the work of Chicken & Egg or a passionate supporter of their cause, you’ll want to check out their anniversary reel below, which highlights some of their remarkable contributions to film.
Just last week, they launched a new program, an Accelerator Lab for 10 non-fiction projects, each helmed by first- or second-time female filmmakers.
The Inaugural Accelerator Lab will continue Chicken and Egg’s tradition of giving visibility to movies and women’s voices that otherwise would not have seen the light of day. They’ve focused on tough, controversial issues — especially around women’s reproductive rights, such as “After Tiller.” These are the stories of our time, and these women have funded them and created a generation of documentarians. Ten years of a world with Chicken & Egg Pictures is most certainly worth celebrating.