Chicken & Egg Pictures Announces Breakthrough Filmmaker Awards for Five Rising Female Documentarians

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As awards season takes over Hollywood, keep up with all the ins, outs, and big accolades with our bi-weekly Awards Roundup column.

Chicken & Egg Pictures, a leader in supporting women nonfiction filmmakers, announced today the recipients of their annual Breakthrough Filmmaker Awards: Natalia Almada (“Todo lo demás,” 2016), Ramona Diaz (“Motherland,” 2017), Laura Nix “(Inventing Tomorrow,” 2018, which will debut at Sundance later this month), Kimi Takesue “(95 and 6 to Go,” 2016), and Nanfu Wang (“I Am Another You,” 2017). This award consists of a $50,000 unrestricted grant and a year-long creative support and mentorship program tailored to each filmmaker’s individual goals.

The Breakthrough Filmmaker Award was designed to “respond to the reality that only a few women nonfiction directors in the U.S. are able to work full-time as independent storytellers. The program recognizes and elevates five experienced women directors with unique voices who are poised to reach new heights and become strong filmmaker- advocates for critical and timely issues. When so few women achieve the same visibility and access to resources and opportunities as men, the Breakthrough Filmmaker Award program is a resounding crack in the glass ceiling.”

“Chicken & Egg Pictures’ Breakthrough Filmmaker Award recipients have often described their Breakthrough year as life altering,” said Lucila Moctezuma, Program Director of Chicken & Egg Pictures in an official statement. “Unlike any other award, it’s not just a recognition of past accomplishments, but an investment in the future, both for the filmmakers’ careers and for the film industry at large, which must do more to honor women’s leadership and voices.”

Find out more about Chicken & Egg Pictures at their website.

– Film Independent, the nonprofit arts organization that produces the Spirit Awards and the LA Film Festival, announced the winners of its five Spirit Awards filmmaker grants today at its annual Spirit Awards Nominee Brunch held at BOA Steakhouse in West Hollywood. John Cho and Alia Shawkat co-hosted the event and handed out the honors.

“This year we are giving out $150,000 in cash grants to a group of remarkably talented writers, directors, and producers,” said Film Independent President Josh Welsh. “The Spirit Awards grants are designed to provide critical support to these filmmakers, recognizing them for past accomplishments and helping them to develop new work.”

“The Rider” director Chloé Zhao received the inaugural Bonnie Award. Bonnie Tiburzi Caputo joined American Airlines in 1973 at age 24, becoming the first female pilot to fly for a major U.S. airline. In her honor, the Bonnie Award recognizes a mid-career female director with a $50,000 unrestricted grant sponsored by American Airlines.

Jonathan Olshefski, director of “Quest,” received the Jeepâ Truer Than Fiction Award. The award is presented to an emerging director of non-fiction features who has not received significant recognition. The award is in its 23rd year and includes a $25,000 unrestricted grant funded by the Jeep brand for the first year.

Justin Chon, director of “Gook,” received the Kiehl’s Someone to Watch Award. The award recognizes talented filmmakers of singular vision who have not yet received appropriate recognition. The award is in its 24th year and includes a $25,000 unrestricted grant funded by Kiehl’s Since 1851 for the fourth consecutive year.

Summer Shelton received the Piaget Producers Award. The award honors emerging producers who, despite highly limited resources, demonstrate the creativity, tenacity and vision required to produce quality, independent films. The annual award, in its 21st year, includes a $25,000 unrestricted grant funded by Piaget for the 11th year.

Matty Brown received the Seattle Story Award. The award is for a filmmaker who exhibits innovation, diversity and uniqueness of vision while having a history of transforming perspectives through rich stories. The award includes a $25,000 cash grant, sponsored by Visit Seattle, to create a short film inspired by Seattle’s independent spirit. This film will premiere during the Spirit Awards broadcast.

This year marks the 33rd edition of the awards show that celebrates the best of independent film. Nick Kroll and John Mulaney return to co-host the show, and director Ava DuVernay is the Spirit Awards Honorary Chair. Winners for the remaining categories will be revealed at the 2018 Film Independent Spirit Awards on Saturday, March 3. The awards ceremony will be broadcast live exclusively on IFC at 2:00 pm PT / 5:00 pm ET.

“The Rider”

Protagonist Pictures

– Screenwriter and LGBTQ rights activist Dustin Lance Black is set to receive the Writers Guild of America West’s 2018 Valentine Davies Award in recognition for his civil and human rights efforts, which have positively impacted the LGBTQ community. Black will be honored at the 2018 Writers Guild Awards West Coast ceremony on Sunday, February 11, at The Beverly Hilton.

“Dustin Lance Black is the embodiment of the Valentine Davies Award. A tireless advocate for the cause of LGBTQ+ rights, his accomplishments in that arena have been truly profound. The Board of Directors of the WGAW considers it our honor to give him this award,” said WGAW President David A. Goodman in an official statement.

– Veteran television writer-producer Alison Cross (“Serving in Silence: The Margarethe Cammermeyer Story,” “Roe vs. Wade,” “Murder in the First”) is set to receive the Writers Guild of America West’s 2018 Paddy Chayefsky Laurel Award for Television Writing Achievement, given to a Guild member who has “advanced the literature of television and made outstanding contributions to the profession of the television writer.” Cross will be honored at the 2018 Writers Guild Awards West Coast ceremony on Sunday, February 11, at The Beverly Hilton.

“The Board of Directors is truly excited to give this award to such a skilled dramatist as Alison. She has a long and varied list of credits, but in all her scripts, whether on staff or as the sole creator, you hear the voice of a writer driven by the ideals of integrity and justice. Her impressive body of work has at times influenced society at large, and serves as an inspiration to all writers in the field,” said WGAW President David A. Goodman in an official statement.

– The Cinema Audio Society has announced that a new award has been created in memory of Edward J. Greene CAS. The award will be called the “Edward J. Greene Award for the Advancement of Sound” and will be presented when the board feels it is merited. This inaugural award will be presented to previous CAS Career Achievement Recipient and AMPAS Technical Achievement Award winner Tomlinson Holman CAS creator of THX.

“The passing of Ed Greene had a profound effect on the CAS and sound community at large. The Board of Directors and the former Presidents wanted a meaningful way to honor Ed’s memory.  So this award, in Ed’s name, to acknowledge the Advancement of Sound was created,” said CAS President Mark Ulano in an official statement. “Presenting this inaugural award to Tomlinson Holman who has contributed so much to the sound community in both cinema and broadcast is the perfect representation of who and what this award represents.”

Judd Apatow

Judd Apatow

Daniel Bergeron

– Judd Apatow will host the 70th Annual DGA Awards, and Don Mischer has been appointed Awards Chair for the event, which will take place on February 3, 2018 at the Beverly Hilton in Beverly Hills.

“What makes the DGA Awards so special for directors is the opportunity to connect with, and be recognized by, their peers – and this year, we’ll have two powerhouse directors tailoring the evening’s celebration of filmmaking with that in mind,” said President Thomas Schlamme in an official statement. “We are thrilled to welcome Judd as our host. Beyond his impact as a multi-hyphenate force in our industry, Judd’s comedic chops, social consciousness, and lifelong love of film and television underlie his unique ability to entertain with heart – whether behind the scenes or in front of a live audience. And when it comes to expertise in live events, specials, and awards, nothing compares to the great Don Mischer. To our Guild’s fortune, Don has graciously agreed to add Awards Chair to his growing list of service and contributions to our Guild.”

– The 2018 Sun Valley Film Festival (SVFF), presented by Zions Bank, will honor Gwyneth Paltrow with its Vision Award. The festival runs March 14 – 18, 2018.

The SVFF Vision Award pays tribute to an individual who has provided the keen insight, influence and initiative to fulfill a creative vision. Past recipients of the award include Geena Davis, Clint Eastwood and Oliver Stone. Paltrow will be presented with the award on Saturday, March 17 at Sun Valley Resort’s historic Roundhouse on Bald Mountain. She will also be a part of the Coffee Talks series, which is a free and informal gathering, where Paltrow will discuss her career and answer questions from the audience.

“We couldn’t be happier to honor Gwyneth, who is not only a cinema icon, but a health and wellness guru who has revolutionized the online presence of lifestyle brands,” said Executive Director Teddy Grennan in an official statement. “We’re thrilled to celebrate her achievements both on and off the screen with SVFF’s Vision Award.”

– Four-time Academy Award nominee and multiple Emmy Award-winner Jane Alexander will receive the Sedona International Film Festival’s 2018 Lifetime Achievement Award during the upcoming 24th annual festival, February 24  -March 4. The Festival will feature 150 films from narrative features to documentaries to shorts at three venues: The Mary D. Fisher Theatre, the Sedona Performing Arts Center (SPAC) and Sedona Harkins 6.

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