AWFJ Partners With ITVS on Women and Girls Lead Campaign

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The Alliance of Women Film Journalists is proud to announce its partnership with the Independent Television Service (ITVS) for its the three-year national PBS campaign Women and Girls Lead, the multiyear public engagement campaign, which aims to educate, focus, and connect viewers with more than 50 acclaimed documentaries, as well as through nationwide community and educational events.

“AWFJ is honored to partner with the Women and Girls Lead initiative to help raise awareness about the work of the heroic women featured in the selected documentaries, and to amplify their voices so that they may inspire others. We strongly believe in and support the important and very timely work of the Women and Girls Lead initiative, and the work of all the filmmakers whose documentaries are included in the program,” said Jennifer Merin, president of AWFJ.

In supporting Women and Girls Lead, AWFJ is in league with CARE, Futures Without Violence (formerly Family Violence Prevention Fund), Girl Scouts of the USA, International Rescue Committee, Points of Light Institute, Women for Women International, Women’s eNews, Women’s World Banking, and World Vision.

The multiyear Women and Girls Lead initiative launched its first broadcasts on October 11, 2011 with Women, War, & Peace on PBS. A five-part series executive produced by Abigail Disney, Pamela Hogan, and Gini Reticker, the documentary series examines how women have been disproportionately affected by modern conflict as well as their unique role in brokering peace.

“Over the next nine months, we are launching the first wave of more than 50 documentaries that tell incredible stories of courage and leadership about women and girls from around the world,” said Sally Jo Fifer, ITVS president and CEO. “But beyond the national PBS broadcasts, Women and Girls Lead will take this content directly to communities through our groundbreaking engagement and education programs. Our goal is that these unforgettable films will spark not only conversation, but will also ignite meaningful change in the lives of women and girls everywhere.”

Several other programs from the Women and Girls Lead catalog are premiering, including We Still Live Here — Âs Nutayuneân (November 2011), which chronicles the resurrection of the native Wampanoag language of southeastern Massachusetts, the first time a language without remaining native speakers has been revived in this country. Daisy Bates: First Lady of Little Rock (February 2012) tells the story of a woman’s life and the public support of nine black students who registered to attend the all-white Central High School in Little Rock, Arkansas. Unconventional, revolutionary, and egotistical, Daisy Bates reaped the rewards of instant fame, but paid dearly for it. Strong! (June 2012) features Cheryl Haworth, the 5’8″ 300 pound champion American weightlifter. The film chronicles her journey and the challenges that this unusual elite athlete faces, exploring popular notions of power, strength, beauty, and health. For a complete list of the upcoming broadcasts visit: www.itvs.org/women-and-girls-lead.

Broadcasts in 2011 and 2012 will be accompanied by nearly 1,000 community screening events, in partnership with some of the world’s leading organizations supporting women and girls leadership development, health, education, and prosperity. Women and Girls Lead is supported by an advisory board led by CPB President and CEO Pat Harrison and consisting of media, policy, and cultural luminaries including actors Geena Davis and America Ferrera, Queen Noor, fashion designer Eileen Fisher, and PBS President Paula Kerger.

About the Alliance of Women Film Journalists

The Alliance of Women Film Journalists, Inc. (AWFJ), a not-for-profit corporation, is an association of professional female movie critics, reporters, and feature writers working in print, broadcast, and online media. AWFJ is dedicated to raising awareness about women’s perspectives on film and to supporting work by and about women — both in front of and behind the cameras — through intra-group promotional activities, outreach programs, and by presenting the annual EDA Awards in recognition of outstanding accomplishments (the best and worst) by and about women in the movies.

About Women and Girls Lead

Women and Girls Lead is a multiyear public media in support of the issues facing women and girls. Combining independent documentary film, television, new media, and global outreach partnerships, Women and Girls Lead amplifies the voices of women and girls acting as leaders, expands understanding of gender equity, and engages an international network of citizens and organizations in acting locally and reaching out globally.

By building a pipeline of some 50 public television documentaries and integrating content from partners across radio, commercial television, and beyond, Women and Girls Lead offers another model for public media to serve its mission in the 21st century, connecting key stakeholders to sustain productive dialogue and participation on the most critical issues facing local communities, the nation, and the world. For more information please visit: http://www.itvs.org/women-and-girls-lead/films.

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Jennifer Merin

Jennifer Merin

Jennifer Merin is the Film Critic for Womens eNews and contributes the CINEMA CITIZEN blog for and is managing editor for Women on Film, the online magazine of the Alliance of Women Film Journalists, of which she is President. She has served as a regular critic and film-related interviewer for The New York Press and About.com. She has written about entertainment for USA Today, The L.A. Times, US Magazine, Ms. Magazine, Endless Vacation Magazine, Daily News, New York Post, SoHo News and other publications. After receiving her MFA from Tisch School of the Arts (Grad Acting), Jennifer performed at the O'Neill Theater Center's Playwrights Conference, Long Wharf Theater, American Place Theatre and LaMamma, where she worked with renown Japanese director, Shuji Terayama. She subsequently joined Terayama's theater company in Tokyo, where she also acted in films. Her journalism career began when she was asked to write about Terayama for The Drama Review. She became a regular contributor to the Christian Science Monitor after writing an article about Marketta Kimbrell's Theater For The Forgotten, with which she was performing at the time. She was an O'Neill Theater Center National Critics' Institute Fellow, and then became the institute's Coordinator. While teaching at the Universities of Wisconsin and Rhode Island, she wrote "A Directory of Festivals of Theater, Dance and Folklore Around the World," published by the International Theater Institute. Denmark's Odin Teatret's director, Eugenio Barba, wrote his manifesto in the form of a letter to "Dear Jennifer Merin," which has been published around the world, in languages as diverse as Farsi and Romanian. Jennifer's culturally-oriented travel column began in the LA Times in 1984, then moved to The Associated Press, LA Times Syndicate, Tribune Media, Creators Syndicate and (currently) Arcamax Publishing. She's been news writer/editor for ABC Radio Networks, on-air reporter for NBC, CBS Radio and, currently, for Westwood One's America In the Morning. She is also a member of the Broadcast Film Critics Association. For her AWFJ archive, type "Jennifer Merin" in the Search Box (upper right corner of screen).