LOS ANGELES, CA (May 6, 2015) – As a pioneer of female-focused entertainment, Lifetime has unveiled Broad Focus, a major initiative designed to provide women with more opportunities to write, develop, produce and direct content for the network.
Further positioning Lifetime as the industry leader in hiring and supporting women in creative roles, Broad Focus is a movement to identify and develop entertainment’s best and up-and-coming creative talent with a specific lens focused on developing content dedicated to the female experience. The initiative’s mission is to encourage and cultivate women’s talent in media, scout content leaders who are creating the best female-focused stories for television and advocate and raise awareness about the need for more women in influential content making roles throughout the media landscape.
“There is a large, untapped well of female talent out there and we want to remain first in line to that source of creativity,” said Nancy Dubuc, President and CEO, A+E Networks. “In this day in age, it’s hard to believe as an industry we still struggle to fully recognize women’s talents in behind-the-camera roles, especially as directors. Our company invests heavily in finding fresh, unique voices and Broad Focus will inspire us to look deeper and in non-traditional places to discover women among those storytellers. I’m proud we are challenging ourselves and our friends in the industry to do more to support them.”
While last year only 7% of feature films were directed by women, 20% of Lifetime’s movie directors were female, and 43% of its writers, 35% of its executive producers and 29% of its producers were women, far exceeding the industry averages of 11%, 19% and 23%, respectively.
As one of the first extensions of Broad Focus, Lifetime has partnered with Geena Davis’s inaugural Bentonville Film Festival. Currently taking place through May 9, the festival champions women and diversity by which winning films will be guaranteed theatrical, television, digital and retail home entertainment distribution.
The network has signed on as the event’s exclusive cable television partner and will telecast one of the festival’s winning films. The network will also choose a winning script from the festival’s script writing contest next year to put in its development pipeline.
Later this year, Broad Focus will be showcased on-air through sponsored short-form content about women filmmakers, as well as with short films directed by women in partnership with marketers. Lifetime is currently presenting these programs to the upfront marketplace.
Select talent and auspices that reflect the Broad Focus efforts in Lifetime’s current programming pipeline include: Eva Longoria, Executive Producer and Director, Devious Maids; Sabrina Wind, Executive Producer, Devious Maids; Nikole Beckwith, Writer and Director, Stockholm, Pennsylvania; Laurie Collyer, Director, The Secret Life of Marilyn Monroe, Keri Selig, Executive Producer, The Secret Life of Marilyn Monroe; Alex Kalymnios, Director, Cleveland Abduction; Judith Verno, Executive Producer, Cleveland Abduction; Sarah Gertrude Shapiro and Marti Noxon, Co-Creators, UnREAL, one of television’s only series with two female co-creators; and Uta Brieswitz, Director, UnREAL.
Additional women the network is proud to have brought into leadership content roles already this year include: Angela Bassett, Director, Whitney; Nzingha Stewart, Director and Writer, With this Ring; Christina Ricci, Executive Producer, The Lizzie Borden Chronicles; Viola Davis, Executive Producer, Lila and Eve; Allison Shearmur, Executive Producer, The Clan of the Cave Bear; Linda Woolverton, Writer and Executive Producer, The Clan of the Cave Bear; among more than 120 additional women currently attached as writers, directors and producers of Lifetime programming and development.
Other high-profile female creatives who have partnered with Lifetime in recent years include, to name a few, Emmy® Award nominee Allison Anders, Director, Ring of Fire; Queen Latifah, Executive Producer, Steel Magnolias; Cicely Tyson, Executive Producer, The Trip to Bountiful; Whoopi Goldberg, Executive Producer, A Day Late and a Dollar Short; Paula Weinstein, Executive Producer, The Red Tent; Jennifer Aniston, Alicia Keys, Demi Moore, Penelope Spheeris, Marta Kauffman and Paula Wagner, the Directors and Executive Producers on Five; and Bryce Dallas Howard, Laura Dern, Ashley Judd, Sharon McGuire and Bonnie Hunt, the Directors of Call Me Crazy.