ITVS, CPB take on “Half the Sky”

The primetime PBS special and multi-platform project is part of ITVS' multi-year "Women and Girls Lead" project, with contributions from actresses Marisa Tomei, Lucy Liu, Diane Lane (pictured), and America Ferrera, and narration from George Clooney.
May 18, 2011

(Photo: Diane Lane with Edna Adan by Nicholas Kristof)

Independent Television Service (ITVS) and the Corporation for Public Broadcasting (CPB) is contributing significant funding for Half the Sky, a primetime television special and multi-platform project based on the best-selling book Half the Sky: Turning Oppression into Opportunity for Women Worldwide from Nicholas Kristoff and Sheryl WuDunn.

The two-part, four-hour broadcast will air on PBS’ ‘Independent Lens’ during the fall of 2012 and will function as a cornerstone of ITVS’ “Women and Girls Lead” project, a multi-year campaign geared towards using documentaries to aid in increasing leadership and development of girls and women worldwide.

Contributing to the production will be various actresses and spokespeople who will accompany producers to one of six countries in the global south. WuDunn will spearhead the production of stories surrounding the issues in the U.S.

Acrtor George Clooney has signed on to narrate the series, while Marisa Tomei and Lucy Liu have directed short films based on women profiled in Half the Sky, which will be part of the online content. Diane Lane traveled to Somaliland while America Ferrera will be going to India. ITVS says talks are also underway with Nicole Kidman to have her participate.

The multi-platform component will include a game to be hosted by Facebook and mobile games for India and Africa created in partnership with Games for Change.

“Viewers turn to PBS for programs that enlarge their world and deepen their understanding,” said Sally Jo Fifer, president and CEO of ITVS. “Half the Sky tells the extraordinary stories of women and girls on the front lines of the fight against poverty and gender inequality across the global south and here in the U.S. who have risen above these circumstances to better our world. It is a perfect match for the engagement-driven goals of public media.”

“More girls have been killed in the last 50 years, precisely because they were girls, then men were killed in all the battles of the twentieth century – we hope Half the Sky will be a call to conscience for anyone who reads the book, watches the documentaries, or engages with the online content or social media,” said WuDunn.

“ITVS and PBS are sure to save and inspire many lives by bringing these incredible stories to their audience,” added Ferrera. “I’m honored to be a part of it.”

About The Author
Daniele Alcinii is a news reporter at realscreen, the leading international publisher of non-fiction film and television industry news and content. He joins the rs team with journalism experience following a stint out west with Sun Media in Edmonton's Capital Region, and communications work in Melbourne, Australia and Toronto. You can follow him on Twitter at @danielealcinii.