By Tamara Gould
Vice President, ITVS International
Based on the bestselling book by Nicholas Kristof and Sheryl WuDunn, Half the Sky will premiere as a special presentation on Independent Lens in October 2012. The project is a cornerstone of the Women and Girls Lead campaign and was on display at last week’s PBS Annual Meeting in Denver.
Just back from the PBS annual meeting in Denver and was absolutely thrilled by the response from stations to the upcoming Half the Sky series, which will air on October 1 and 2 as a special presentation of Independent Lens.
This project has been several years in the making, taking up the ambitious work of New York Times reporter Nicholas Kristof and Sheryl WuDunn who wrote Half the Sky to highlight the challenges that women and girls are facing worldwide — issues like trafficking, maternal health, female genital mutilation, and gender based violence.
It’s hard stuff, but the approach of both Nick and Sheryl — and by the incredible filmmakers who have taken this book and turned it into a transmedia project — have tapped into the message that ‘women are not the problem, they’re the solution.’
The luncheon event to roll out Half the Sky was powerful in itself, with remarks from the CEOs of CPB (Patricia Harrison), PBS (Paula Kerger), and ITVS (Sally Jo Fifer), along with Nick and Sheryl, Meg Ryan and Olivia Wilde — two of the six celebrity advocates who traveled with this project, and two incredible women from the film, Rebecca and Jane, who live in Kenya and shared their personal stories. Plus, filmmakers Maro Chermayeff, Jamie Gordon, Mikaela Beardsley, and Mira Chang were also on hand.
If the response from the conference is any indicator, Half the Sky will have a big impact on audiences when it airs this fall. Stay tuned!