ITVS’s Women and Girls Lead Announce Pillar Films for 2014-2015 Season and New Leadership Council Members

Season premieres on PBS Tuesday, September 30, with MAKERS

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(San Francisco, CA) — September 12, 2014 — Independent Television Service (ITVS) announced today the launch of its fourth year of documentary broadcasts in support of Women and Girls Lead (WAGL), an innovative public media campaign designed to celebrate, educate, and activate women, girls, and their allies across the globe to address the challenges of the 21st century. The new slate of programs launches with the second season of MAKERS, airing on PBS starting September 30, 2014. 

Expanding on the critically acclaimed PBS documentary MAKERS: Women Who Make America, which told the story of the modern American women’s movement, each documentary in the new six-part series examines the impact of the women’s movement on six fields once largely closed to women: business, space, Hollywood, comedy, war and politics. In each field, women have pried open, and profoundly reshaped, the central institutions of American life and culture. Interviewees include Diahann Carroll, Glenn Close, Geena Davis, Ellen DeGeneres, Chelsea Handler, Gwen Ifill, Julia Louis-Dreyfus, Jane Lynch, Valerie Plame, Shonda Rhimes, Joan Rivers, Cokie Roberts, Sarah Silverman, Alfre Woodard, and many more. 

The other new Women and Girls Lead pillar program is A Path Appears, from the creative team that brought you the groundbreaking Half the Sky: Turning Oppression into Opportunity for Women Worldwide. The four-hour series A Path Appears will air on PBS as a special presentation of Independent Lens over the course of three nights beginning January 26, and will feature Pulitzer Prize-winning New York Times reporters Nicholas Kristof and Sheryl WuDunn along with a number of celebrity activists as guides — including Malin Akerman, Jennifer Garner, Mia Farrow, Ashley Judd, Eva Longoria, and Alfre Woodard — witnessing stories of transformation and sharing their own experiences. 

“We are very excited to have the opportunity to present these empowering films as part of our Women and Girls Lead initiative,” said Sally Jo Fifer, President and CEO of ITVS. “Both unique series give us an expansive view on the issues women worldwide have had to overcome in gender inequality, in the workplace and in society, and we think they will lead to inspiring, important conversations.” 

Helping initiate and facilitate those conversations will be four new dynamic Leadership Council members who joined WAGL’s distinguished group this summer: 

Dr. Mae Jemison is the first African-American female astronaut to go into space and currently leads the 100 Year Starship, a government-funded project to plan the next 100 years of interstellar travel. After graduating from Stanford University, she became a medical doctor and worked in Liberia and Sierra Leone as the Peace Corps medical officer. In 1983 she applied to the NASA program, after being inspired by Sally Ride. Dr. Jemison holds nine doctorate degrees in the humanities, science, and engineering. 

Anne Fulenwider is Editor-in-Chief of the U.S. edition of Marie Claire. Previously, Fulenwider served as senior articles editor at Vanity Fair, where she edited features and launched the Fanfair section of the magazine in March 2000. Prior to Vanity Fair, Fulenwider was a senior editor at The Paris Review and served as George Plimpton’s research assistant on his book Truman Capote. She was named min’s 2013 Editor of the Year

Hari Sreenivasan is the anchor of PBS NewsHour Weekend, Senior Correspondent for the nightly program as well as the Director of Digital Partnerships. Prior to joining NewsHour, he was at CBS News, reporting regularly on the CBS Evening News, The Early Show, and CBS Sunday Morning. Sreenivasan has received Emmy nominations for NewsHour coverage of the Gulf oil spill, his work on an Interactive piece for PBS Frontline, “Targeting the Electorate,” and for his reporting at CBS. 

Reshma Saujani is the founder and CEO of Girls Who Code, a national non-profit organization working to close the gender gap in the technology field. A graduate of the Harvard Kennedy School and Yale Law School, Reshma most recently served as Deputy Public Advocate of NYC. She is the author of Women Don't Wait in Line, a book promoting female leadership. 

Additionally, Women and Girls Lead is producing a panel at the Geena Davis Institute on Gender in Media’s Washington, D.C. symposium on September 23rd. The panel features WAGL Leadership Council member Abigail Disney, a documentary filmmaker and activist, and Jamie Gordon, executive producer of A Path Appears. The panel will focus on the empowerment of women and girls worldwide through the use of film, and keynote speakers are actress Geena Davis, also on the WAGL leadership council, and leadership council chair Pat Harrison. As an added component of the D.C. event, we will produce a free public OVEE screening of the day’s discussions, featuring personal interviews as well as clips from the panels. 

Community Cinema Events 
In tandem with the PBS broadcast, ITVS’s Community Cinema will host preview screenings and discussions of the MAKERS episodes Women in Space, Women in Comedy, and Women in Hollywood in over 75 cities across the country in September through October, in partnership with public media stations, libraries, universities, and community organizations. Events will bring multi-generational audiences together to celebrate women who have reshaped American life and culture, while acknowledging and honoring local women who have made extraordinary contributions to their communities. To find a screening near you, visit:

Women and Girls Lead is spearheaded by the Independent Television Service, an organization founded by Congress in 1988 and funded by the Corporation for Public Broadcasting (CPB). CPB is a private corporation funded by the American people. Women and Girls Lead also receives generous support from EILEEN FISHER, INC. For more visit and

About ITVS 
Independent Television Service (ITVS) funds, presents, and promotes award-winning documentaries on public television, innovative new media projects on the Web, and the Emmy® Award-winning weekly series Independent Lens on Monday nights at 10 p.m. on PBS. Mandated by Congress in 1988 and funded by the Corporation for Public Broadcasting, ITVS has brought thousands of independently produced programs to American audiences. For more visit

Posted on September 15, 2014