(Clockwise from top left) Gloria Steinem, Condoleezza Rice, Katie Couric. Credit: Courtesy of Susanna Howe; (Bottom left) Michelle Rhee. Credit: Courtesy of MAKERS
AOL AND PBS ANNOUNCE
“MAKERS: WOMEN WHO MAKE AMERICA”
LANDMARK DIGITAL VIDEO AND BROADCAST INITIATIVE REVEALS
A NATION TRANSFORMED BY WOMEN
The Groundbreaking Project is Proudly Presented by Simple Skincare
Launches Today at MAKERS.com
NEW YORK, NY — February 28, 2012 — Today AOL, a premier digital media company, and PBS, the nation’s largest non-commercial media organization, are launching “MAKERS: Women Who Make America,” an unprecedented digital video and broadcast initiative. Produced by filmmakers, the multi-platform initiative aims to become not only the largest but also the most dynamic collection of women’s stories ever assembled.
MAKERS originated from a very clear premise: over the last half century, the work of millions of women has altered virtually every aspect of American culture. The MAKERS platform tells the story of these exceptional women — both famous and heretofore unknown individuals — whose pioneering contributions continue to shape the world in which we live.
MAKERS profiles Supreme Court Justices, Secretaries of State and CEOs. They are athletes, activists and entertainers. They are groundbreakers who have sparked change, been firsts-in-their-fields, and paved the way for those who followed. The richness of the MAKERS initiative extends beyond profiling these incredible groundbreakers to tell the stories of hundreds of women who are driving and realizing social change today. MAKERS draws on the archival and narrative possibilities of a digital video experience to create a new way to explore these women’s stories and highlight a new generation of women whose impact is just beginning to be felt and understood.
“AOL wants to be known for groundbreaking firsts in the digital media industry, and we are thrilled to be partnering with PBS as they stand alone in their unparalleled ability to educate the world on the most important movements of our time,” said Tim Armstrong, Chairman & CEO of AOL. “Partnering together to bring MAKERS to life is exactly the type of future-forward programming we believe in.”
“By spotlighting some of the most inspirational women in our nation’s history, MAKERS will tell the comprehensive story of how women have advanced in America during the last half century. I hope that the MAKERS project will become the seminal record of women’s achievement, and inspire a new generation of leaders,” said Paula A. Kerger, President and CEO of PBS. “PBS and our member stations are proud to support this celebration and dialogue about the role of women in our society.”
MAKERS begins today at MAKERS.com. The site is an AOL-developed interactive video platform, presented by Simple, a new line of facial skincare products, featuring original content edited and curated by the filmmakers. PBS will also launch a companion site at pbs.org/makers, featuring select MAKERS stories and information on the upcoming documentary.
MAKERS is optimized for viewing across every mobile device, including an innovative iPad app that offers a unique video-viewing experience. The stories will be expanded weekly, ultimately bringing hundreds of inspiring women to the public throughout 2012 and beyond.
“MAKERS is a vivid and evolving living library containing hundreds of original interviews that we know will inspire people everywhere,” said Maureen Sullivan, CMO of AOL. “MAKERS.com was built to utilize the latest innovation in video and mobile technology and enables users to individually curate and discover the stories of these women.”
"We're honored to be a part of this initiative and celebrate these incredible women who have made such a tremendous impact," said Alison Clark, Brand Building Director, Unilever US, Skincare. "When we first heard the stories of these amazing women, it just felt right for Simple to be a proud supporter of MAKERS. As a new line of facial skincare products in the U.S., we look to engage with women and salute those whose authenticity, ideals, and pioneering spirit have inspired us to endeavor to have the same impact."
As MAKERS.com grows and expands its content and community throughout 2012, the premiere on PBS in 2013 of a 3-hour documentary will extend that audience even further. The documentary, “MAKERS: Women Who Make America,” will tell the story of the Women’s Movement over the last half century.
In addition to the digital video platform and broadcast, PBS will utilize its broad community and grassroots networks to draw the American public into an ongoing conversation about MAKERS and how women transform all aspects of our country and our world today. The project producers are working with PBS member station WETA Washington, D.C., the flagship public broadcaster in the nation’s capital, to develop the project. Public television stations across the country will create local initiatives designed to spark reflection and debate on the driving creative force of American women. This outreach will include major partnerships with local PBS stations and women and girl empowerment groups.
“It’s exciting to be going after a massive story in a new and wonderfully fine-grained way,” said filmmaker Dyllan McGee, the founder of MAKERS. “My partners, Betsy West and Peter Kunhardt, and I realized there was a need to track and preserve the story of how individuals transform a culture — something that hasn’t been done before on this scale. Our hope is that the new combination of an expanding digital platform rolled out over time, along with a major PBS television broadcast, will ignite sustained dialogue. It’s about how far women have come and where we need to go in the future.”
The world-class women who have supported this project and are featured in the MAKERS platform are the foundation of the MAKERS community that will grow and expand to a global audience.
Visit MAKERS.com to look for stories from MAKERS including Linda Alvarado, Brenda Berkman, Judy Blume, Carol Burnett, Ursula Burns, Hillary Rodham Clinton, Katie Couric, Ellen DeGeneres, Geraldine Ferraro, Theresa Kane, Billie Jean King, Maya Lin, Susan Love, Marissa Mayer, Robin Morgan, Sandra Day O’Connor, Maria Pepe, Michelle Rhee, Condoleezza Rice, Faith Ringgold, Ileana Ros-Lehtinen, Zainab Salbi, Sheryl Sandberg, Phyllis Schlafly, Barbara Smith, Gloria Steinem, Martha Stewart, Kathrine Switzer, Diane Von Furstenberg, and Barbara Walters.
“MAKERS celebrates women’s achievement and I’m flattered to be included in this amazing group of women,” said Ellen DeGeneres. “I hope that my story and the stories from other MAKERS will inspire new generations of women to use their talents to create positive change.”
“Women’s progress has been a collective effort,” said Gloria Steinem, a contributor to MAKERS. “I am thrilled we will now have a dynamic resource that will chart how far we have come and how far we need to go in the future.”
The project is founded by filmmaker Dyllan McGee. Executive Producers are Dyllan McGee, Betsy West and Peter Kunhardt, who worked in consultation with a team of advisors to select the groundbreaking MAKERS featured, and Dalton Delan, Executive Producer for WETA. The documentary is produced by Kunhardt McGee Productions, Storyville Films and WETA Washington, D.C., in association with Ark Media. Foundation funding is provided by The Charles H. Revson Foundation, NoVo Foundation, Ford Foundation, John S. and James L. Knight Foundation, Carnegie Corporation of New York, The Rice Family Foundation, and The Rockefeller Foundation and others.
About AOL Inc.
Having helped millions of Americans to get online, AOL Inc. (NYSE: AOL) is on a mission to inform, entertain and connect the world. The home of a world-class collection of premium brands, AOL creates original content that engages audiences on a local and global scale. We help marketers connect with these audiences through effective and engaging digital advertising solutions.
About PBS and WETA Washington, D.C.
PBS, with its 356 member stations, offers all Americans — from every walk of life — the opportunity to explore new ideas and new worlds through television and online content. Each month, PBS reaches nearly 123 million people through television and more than 21 million people online, inviting them to experience the worlds of science, history, nature and public affairs; hear diverse viewpoints; and take front row seats to world-class drama and performances. Teachers of children from pre-K through 12th grade turn to PBS for digital content and services that help bring classroom lessons to life. More information about PBS is available at www.pbs.org.
WETA Washington, D.C., is the third-largest producing station for public television. Other WETA productions and co-productions include “PBS NewsHour,” “Washington Week with Gwen Ifill and National Journal,” “The Kennedy Center Mark Twain Prize” and documentaries by filmmaker Ken Burns, including the premiere this fall of “The Dust Bowl.” Sharon Percy Rockefeller is president and CEO of WETA. More information on WETA and its programs and services is available at www.weta.org.
About the Filmmakers
Executive Producers are Dyllan McGee, Peter Kunhardt and Betsy West. Kunhardt and McGee are partners in the Emmy Award-winning documentary company Kunhardt McGee Productions. Working with PBS, HBO, and all the major networks, Kunhardt McGee’s documentary films capture the people and the ideas that have shaped our history. Recent Kunhardt McGee projects include “Finding Your Roots” (PBS), “Gloria: In Her Own Words” (HBO), “Teddy: In His Own Words” (HBO); “Faces of America with Henry Louis Gates, Jr.” (PBS); “This Emotional Life” (PBS); and “African American Lives 1 and 2” (PBS). Betsy West, a veteran of ABC and CBS News and currently an associate professor at the Columbia Journalism School, has more than twenty-five years experience in television news and documentary films. Her senior roles at “Turning Point” (ABC), “Nightline” (ABC), “60 Minutes” (CBS), “48 Hours,” and “9/11” (CBS) have earned her 22 Emmy Awards and two duPont-Columbia Awards. Joining Storyville Films in 2006, she co-produced the feature documentary “Constantine’s Sword” and is executive producer of “The Lavender Scare,” currently in production.
Simple, a new brand of facial skincare products made especially for women with sensitive skin, originated in the UK 50 years ago, helping to transform the way women look at skincare and winning scores of passionate devotees. Today, Simple is the No. 1 facial skincare brand in the UK. As Simple makes its debut in America, the brand is celebrating the many different women who make America great. Simple joins AOL and PBS in saluting these women who inspire us – with their authenticity, their ideals, their pioneering spirits and their unwavering commitment to a cause, a goal or a personal philosophy.
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MAKERS; 212-402-4680, press@MAKERS.com