Over the last half-century, America has seen one of the most sweeping social revolutions in its history, as women have asserted their rights to a full and fair share of political power, economic opportunity, and personal autonomy. It’s a revolution that has unfolded in public and private, on grand stages like the Supreme Court and Congress, and humbler ones like the boardroom and the bedroom. No individual, nor any aspect of American life, has not been changed.
“Makers: Women Who Make America” (wt) will tell this remarkable story for the first time in a comprehensive and innovative three-hour documentary for PBS, to air in February 2012. Built on an extraordinary archive of interviews already completed for the website Makers.com, the film will feature the stories of those who led the fight, those who opposed it, and those -- both the famous and unknown -- caught up in its wake.
Taking its cue from the motto of the movement – “the personal is political” – “Makers” will delve deeply into the personal lives of its subjects. The film will not be a top-down narrative of events over people. It will be built, bottom-up, from the first-person, intimate accounts of women who were there, including movement leaders like Gloria Steinem and Eleanor Holmes Norton; opponents like Phyllis Schlafly ; celebrities like Oprah Winfrey, Katie Couric and Hillary Clinton; and many “ordinary” women confronted with what it all meant in their own lives.
Through the perspectives of those who lived through it, “Makers” will recount the seminal events in the women’s movement from the publication of The Feminine Mystique in 1963 to the Anita Hill vs. Clarence Thomas hearings in 1991. But it will also go much further, telling the surprising and unknown stories of women who broke down barriers in their own chosen fields, from the coal mines of West Virginia to the boardrooms of Madison Avenue. And it will take the story to today, when a new generation is both defending and questioning the legacy of their mothers.
Throughout, the film will capture with great period music, humor, and playful graphics the dizzy joy, aching frustration and sheer terror of a movement that turned American upside-down.
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. The documentary is produced by Kunhardt McGee Productions, Storyville Films and WETA Washington, D.C., in association with Ark Media. Dalton Delan is the Executive Producer for WETA.