By Indiewire Staff | Indiewire February 9, 2011 at 5:14AM
Nine projects have been named as the recipients of the Chicken & Egg Pictures winter grants. Chicken & Egg Pictures is a hybrid film fund and non-profit production company specialized in supporting women filmmakers. These grants are the first to come from the Which Came First Fund, an open call seeking submissions for narratives dealing with some of today's most pressing environmental issues.
"Our School," a documentary by Mona Nicoara and Miruna Coca-Cozma, was named the winner of the Liberty Grant. Chicken & Egg Pictures awards the Liberty Grant to an individual project in order for the filmmakers to focus completely on the creative aspects of the production instead of dividing their attention on the fundraising.
The winners of the 2010-2011 winter grants are listed below (synopses courtesy of Chicken & Egg Pictures):
"Betting the Farm," directed by Cecily Pingree and Jason Mann
"Betting the Farm" follows three farm families as they launch a new milk company in a desperate attempt to save their farms. Will their gamble rescue them—and with them an entire way of life—or will it leave them worse off than when they started?
"Casino Nation," by Laure Sullivan
After a long and bloody struggle, the Seneca Nation Of Indians traded thousands of acres of land for a casino empire. The pro casino faction views this as progress, but for traditionalists, who believe that land is essential to their beliefs and way of life, this represents the "end of days". "Casino Nation" explores the cultural, political and moral collision between this older way of life and the $20 billion dollar Native American gambling industry.
"Cheshire, Ohio," directed by Eve Morgenstern
What happens to an Ohio-River town once its overrun by one of the largest coal-fired power plants in the world? The power plant makes a 20 million dollar deal to buy out most of the town and bulldoze all the homes. A gun toting 83-year old woman named Boots refuses to sell and stays put. Residents, confronted with difficult choices seek out this filmmaker to offer 8mm home movies, archival photographs and testimony about the meaning of "home". "Cheshire, Ohio" is an
elegiac story that blends historic and contemporary footage and testimony from residents, about the increasingly difficult choices we face related to the environment, and makes us think twice about home.
"Green Shall Overcome," (working title), directed by Megan Gelstein
Green Shall Overcome is a character driven feature length documentary about the controversial environmental leader Van Jones. Shot over three years, with unprecedented access, the film follows Jones as he works to build “a green economy strong enough to lift people out of poverty.” From his office in Oakland to his office at The White House this film takes a behind-the-scenes look at the national movement for green-collar jobs.
"Oil and Water," directed by Francine Strickwerda and Laurel Spellman Smith
Two boys come of age looking for solutions to the global problem of reckless oil drilling. Hugo fights for the survival of his Amazonian tribe while David launches the world's first company to fair-trade certify oil.
"Solarize This," by Shalini Kantayya
In a city where oil spills, air quality red-alerts, and poverty are commonplace, "Solarize This" looks beyond the debates around global warming, and asks the hard questions of how a green economy may actually be built, through the stories of three working-class trainees at a solar power jobs training program in Richmond, CA.
"Story of Subsidies," directed by Annie Leonard
The next in The Story of Stuff film series, The Story of Subsidies will provide a critical look at the role of government subsidies in propping up yesterday's obsolete and dirty economy and will offer an alternative: working together to ensure our money builds the clean, green, healthy and fair economy of the future!
"Under Water's Mercy," directed by Sharon Linezo Hong
A young Native American woman returns to her family in Southeast Louisiana to find a man-made environmental crisis threatening their way of life. She overcomes great personal loss, and redefines the meaning of home.
"Our School," directed by Mona Nicoara co-directed by Miruna Coca-Cozma.
Three Roma (“Gypsy”) children from a small Transylvanian town participate in a project to desegregate the local school, struggling against indifference, tradition and bigotry with humor, optimism and sass. OUR SCHOOL is a bitter-sweet story about hope and race, and an elegy about generational prejudice and squandered opportunities.