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Lifetime to Put More Women Behind Camera With ‘Broad Focus’ Initiative

Program’s mission is to hire female content makers to provide more opportunities for female writers, producers and directors

Lifetime is launching a program called Broad Focus, designed to provide women with more opportunities to write, develop, produce and direct content, the network announced on Wednesday.

The initiative’s mission is to encourage and cultivate women’s talent in media, scout content leaders who are creating the best female-focused stories for television and advocate and raise awareness about the need for women in content creation.

“There is a large, untapped well of female talent out there and we want to remain first in line to that source of creativity,” said Nancy Dubuc, President and CEO, A E Networks. “Our company invests heavily in finding fresh, unique voices and Broad Focus will inspire us to look deeper and in non-traditional places to discover women among those storytellers. I’m proud we are challenging ourselves and our friends in the industry to do more to support them.”

Last year, only 7 percent of feature films were directed by women. Of Lifetime’s creator stable, women represented 20 percent of its movie directors, 43 percent of its writers, 35 percent of its executive producers and 29 percent of its producers. Those numbers exceeded the industry averages of 11 percent, 19 percent and 23 percent, respectively.

Names aligned with Broad Focus’ mission already in the Lifetime fold include Eva Longoria, Sabrina Wind, Nikole Beckwith, Angela Bassett, Christina Ricci and Viola Davis.

Lifetime has partnered with Geena Davis‘ inaugural Bentonville Film Festival for Broad Focus’ first extension, signing on as the event’s exclusive cable television partner with a promise to telecast one of its winning films. Later this year, the initiative will be showcased on-air in short-form content about women filmmakers, as well as short films directed by women in partnership with marketers.

In recent years, Lifetime has partnered with other high-profile female creatives, including Queen Latifah, Whoopi Goldberg, Jennifer Aniston, Alicia Keys, Demi Moore, Ashley Judd, Laura Dern and Bonnie Hunt.