Exclusive: Chicken & Egg Pictures Announces Newest Grantees of Project: Hatched Program

Chicken & Egg Pictures has announced the newest grantees of their Project: Hatched program for feature-length documentary impact. The filmmaking teams behind five projects will receive mentorship as well as $10,000 toward their film’s impact campaigns. Women and Hollywood can exclusively reveal that the first round of Project: Hatched’s 2021 granted films are “Dope is Death”; “Down a Dark Stairwell”; “Since I Been Down”; “Unapologetic”; and “Fruits of Labor.”

The five directors behind the project are women at different stages of their careers.

“Each of these films tells a story about racial, economic, or workers justice in the United States and marks a critical moment in our social history,” said Program Director Lucila Moctezuma. “Their directors are uniquely positioned to create change and propel us toward a more equitable future, and Chicken & Egg Pictures is excited to support them with funding and programmatic support to further the impact of these important films.” 

The selected projects tackle a wide range of subject matter, including a coming-of-age story set in California that addresses agricultural labor (Emily Cohen Ibañez’s “Fruits of Labor”) and the Movement for Black Lives seen through the lens of millennial abolitionist leaders fighting for change (Ashley O’Shay’s “Unapologetic”).

Past participants of the Project: Hatched program have “used their films to amplify and move the dial on critical social issues: ‘Coded Bias’ director Shalini Kantayya’s impact plans fought against the advancement of racist facial recognition technology with the Universal Declaration of Data Rights as Human Rights; and in conjunction with her film’s PBS broadcast, ‘Belly of the Beast’ director Erika Cohn launched an action campaign calling for reparations for victims of forced sterilization in California,” Chicken & Egg Pictures details. 

Founded in 2005 by Julie Parker Benello, Wendy Ettinger, and Judith Helfand, Chicken & Egg Pictures has awarded over $8 million in grants and thousands of hours of creative mentorship to over 340 filmmakers.

Check out more information about the grantees of Project: Hatched below.

Down a Dark Stairwell 

Director: Ursula Liang (UNITED STATES) 

Producer: Rajal Pitroda 

A Chinese-American police officer kills an unarmed Black man in a dark stairwell of a NYC housing project, igniting a complicated fight for accountability and justice. 

Fruits of Labor

Director: Emily Cohen Ibañez (UNITED STATES, COLOMBIA) 

Producer: Emily Cohen Ibañez 

A teenage farmworker dreams of graduating high school, when ICE raids in her community threaten to separate her family and force her to become her family’s breadwinner. 

Dope is Death

Director: Mia Donovan (CANADA) 

Producer: Bob Moore 

Dope Is Death tells the story of how radical politics and direct community action birthed the first acupuncture drug detoxification program in America. 


Director: Ashley O’Shay (UNITED STATES) 

Producers: Ashley O’Shay, Morgan Elise Johnson 

Impact Producer: Naeema Jamilah Torres 

Meet Janaé and Bella, two fierce abolitionists whose upbringing and experiences shape their activism and views on Black liberation. 

Since I Been Down

Director: Gilda Sheppard (UNITED STATES) 

Producers: Saman Maydani, June Nho Ivers 

Producer and Lead Impact Strategist: Bonnie Benjamin-Phariss 

Impact Team: Samuel Rubin, Allison Begalman, Brandi Williams, Sania Irfan In America’s backyard, a community held captive by policies targeting gangs and drugs sacrifices their youth for a false sense of justice and safety. Nearly forty years later, a true path to justice and healing is led from inside their prison walls. 

Note: The parentheses next to the directors’ names indicate the filmmakers’ nationalities and/or countries of origin.

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