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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

Watch MAKERS: Women Who Make America Trailer on PBS. See more from Makers: Women Who Make America.

NEW YORK--(BUSINESS WIRE)--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.

“Partnering together to bring MAKERS to life is exactly the type of future-forward programming we believe in.”

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.

For more, visit MAKERS.com/press and follow @MAKERSwomen on Twitter and visit Facebook.com/makerswomen on Facebook.

The three-hour PBS documentary airs on Tuesday, February 26 at 8PM ET on PBS (check your local listings).

 

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