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Women: Six Films, Six Weeks October 1, 2014

Posted by nrhatch in Books & Movies.

Over the next six weeks, PBS and Makers.com are presenting a series of 6 documentaries focused on women’s achievements in Comedy, Hollywood, Politics, Business, War, and Space:

1. MAKERS: Women in Comedy 

Produced and Directed by Heidi Ewing and Rachel Grady

WOMEN IN COMEDY tracks the rise of women in the world of comedy, from the “dangerous” comedy of 70s sitcoms like Norman Lear’s Maude to the groundbreaking women of the 1980s American comedy club boom and building to today’s multifaceted landscape. Today, movies like Bridesmaids break box office records and the women of Saturday Night Live are often more famous than their male counterparts, but it didn’t start out that way. Contemporary comics, including Chelsea Handler, Margaret Cho, Mo’Nique, Sarah Silverman, Joan Rivers, Ellen DeGeneres, Jane Lynch and Kathy Griffin, talk about where women started in this competitive, male-dominated profession and where they are determined to go. Narrated by Leslie Mann.

Premiered September 30th, 9/8c on PBS

Special Screening TONIGHT October 1st, 8 PM EST on MAKERS.com

2. MAKERS: Women in Hollywood

Produced and Directed by Linda Goldstein Knowlton, Produced by Rory Kennedy

WOMEN IN HOLLYWOOD showcases the women of showbiz, from the earliest pioneers to present-day power players, as they influence the creation of one of the country’s biggest commodities: entertainment. Audiences hear from actress-producer-activist Jane Fonda, television powerhouse Shonda Rhimes, who created Grey’s Anatomy and Scandal; screenwriter Linda Woolverton, who re-imagined the traditional Disney princess by making Belle (Beauty and the Beast) a self-possessed, strong-willed young woman; writer-director-actress Lena Dunham, who mines comedy and drama gold by exploring what it’s really like to be a young woman today, and six-time Academy Award nominee Glenn Close. The film is narrated by Julia Roberts.

Airing October 7th, 9/8c on PBS

Special Screening October 8th, 8 PM EST on MAKERS.com

3. MAKERS: Women in Space

Produced by Michael Epstein and Sara Wolitzky, Directed by Michael Epstein

WOMEN IN SPACE traces the history of women pioneers in the U.S. space program. Some, like aviators Wally Funk and Jerrie Cobb, passed the same grueling tests as male astronauts, only to be dismissed by NASA, the military, and even Lyndon Johnson, as a distraction. It wasn’t until 1995 that Eileen Collins became the first woman to pilot a spacecraft. The program includes interviews with Collins, as well as Sally Ride’s classmates Shannon Lucid, Rhea Seddon andKathryn Sullivan, and features Mae Jemison, the first woman of color astronaut, and Peggy Whitson, the first female commander of the International Space Station. The hour ends with the next generation of women engineers, mathematicians and astronauts—the new group of pioneers, like Marleen Martinez, who continue to make small but significant steps forward. Narrated by Jodie Foster.

Airing October 14th, 9/8c on PBS

Special Screening October 15th, 8 PM EST on MAKERS.com

4. MAKERS: Women in War

Produced and Directed by Rachel Grady and Heidi Ewing

WOMEN IN WAR looks at American women’s increasing participation in war—from Vietnam to the present—as nurses, soldiers, journalists, diplomats and spies. Among those featured are Linda Bray, the first woman to lead troops into battle, and Valerie Plame Wilson, whose career was sabotaged after she was “outed” as a high-level spy. Viewers hear from war correspondents like Molly Moore about life on the battlefield. The film shares the stories of military leaders who have broken through gender barriers, like General Angela Salinas, at her retirement the highest ranking woman serving in the USMC, and Vice Admiral Michelle Howard, the highest-ranking woman in the history of the U.S. Navy. Produced and directed by Rachel Grady and Heidi Ewing. Narrated by Christiane Amanpour.

Airing October 21st, 9/8c on PBS

Special Screening October 22nd, 8 PM EST on MAKERS.com

5. MAKERS: Women in Business

Directed by Jamila Wignot Produced by Leah Williams

WOMEN IN BUSINESS tells the story of the exceptional women—past and present—who have taken the world of business by storm. Told by female business leaders themselves, this is a candid exploration of what it takes to make it and a celebration of the extraordinary individuals who, over the course of 50 years, have proven—on Wall Street, in corporate America or business empires of their own—that a woman’s place is wherever she believes it to be. Some of the featured business leaders include Ursula Burns, the CEO of Xerox and the first African-American woman to head a Fortune 500 company; Sallie Krawcheck, Wall Street powerhouse and current owner of the global networking platform for women, Ellevate (formerly 85 Broads);  Indra Nooyi, CEO of Pepsi Co; and Sheryl Sandberg, COO of Facebook, whose provocative book, Lean In, ignited a national conversation about women, feminism and equality in the workplace.

Airing October 28th, 9/8c on PBS

Special Screening October 29th, 8 PM EST on MAKERS.com

6. MAKERS: Women in Politics

Produced and Directed by Grace Lee, Produced by Rory Kennedy

WOMEN IN POLITICS profiles the long, slow fight for female political representation over the last century, from the first woman elected to Congress in 1916 to a young woman running for Detroit City Council in 2013. Trailblazing leaders like Hillary Clinton, Senator Barbara Mikulski, Olympia Snowe, the youngest Republican woman ever elected to the House of Representatives, and Shirley Chisholm, the first African-American woman to serve in Congress, provide a backdrop for younger women like Rashida Tlaib, the first Muslim-American woman elected to the Michigan House. Today’s leaders in Washington, including Elizabeth Warren (D-MA), the first female Senator from Massachusetts, Susan Collins (R-ME), who led the Senate in shaping a deal to end the government shutdown, and Rep. Tulsi Gabbard (D-HI), currently the youngest woman serving in Congress, are also represented. Narrated by Alfre Woodard.

Airing November 4th, 9/8c on PBS

Special Screening November 5th, 8 PM EST on MAKERS.com

The shows are broadcast at 9 PM Eastern Time  on PBS on Tuesday nights and at 8 PM Eastern Time on Makers.com on Wednesday nights.

Aah . . . that’s better!

Related posts:  Girl Power? Grrrrrrr! (L. Marie) * Gender Rules: Why Does Breaking Them Freak Us Out So Much? (Eric J. Baker) * Dear Young Men (Raptitude)



1. Three Well Beings - October 1, 2014

I would really like to catch this series! I’m not familiar with “Makers” and will have to look into that. I also haven’t seen any indication that this is going to be aired locally, but I’ll check! I don’t know that our PBS channels synch their programming. I’ve often wondered about that. Thanks for the heads-up. I’m going to start my Google search right now! 🙂

nrhatch - October 1, 2014

We watched Women in Comedy last night on PBS. Interesting, Fascinating, Frustrating, and Hilarious.

They didn’t list the time for the Pacific coast.

2. valleygrail - October 1, 2014

This is significant viewing. We have so far to go. Thanks for the information!

nrhatch - October 1, 2014

We enjoyed the premiere last night ~ love that they started the series with comedy.

3. Jill Weatherholt - October 1, 2014

Yay for Girl Power! Thanks for the heads up, Nancy, this looks like a great series.

nrhatch - October 1, 2014

Last night’s broadcast of Women in Comedy covered Phyllis Diller to Roseanne to Ellen to Sarah Silverman.

Great to see all the powerful personas on stage.

4. NancyTex - October 1, 2014

Thanks for sharing, NH. Looks like a terrific series.

nrhatch - October 1, 2014

Loved the Comedy sketches last night ~> such in-your-face and because-I-say-so attitude from the “weaker” sex.

NancyTex - October 1, 2014

I’m hoping it’s replaying on PBS or else I’ll just get on the laptop at 8pm and watch it online. Thanks again!

nrhatch - October 1, 2014

It was re-broadcast last night at 2:30 am on our PBS station, so I bet you can find a replay.

5. ericjbaker - October 1, 2014

Hollywood must be populated with some of the dimmest businesspeople on Earth. Box office receipts are way down overall, yet female-powered movies continue to flourish. Am I missing something?

nrhatch - October 1, 2014

There are some DIM WITS out there calling the shots.

We need a few more producers like Norman Lear ~ he had balls enough to be a feminist and a voice for equality, presenting ground-breaking shows like “All In The Family” and “Maude.”

6. L. Marie - October 1, 2014

Excellent list! So glad to see the achievements of women celebrated!

nrhatch - October 1, 2014

I’ve marked the show on my calendar for the next 5 weeks. They are all Super Heroes . . . no spandex required!

7. 2e0mca - October 1, 2014

Amy Johnson could have appeared in either the Women in War or the Women in Space. Emilia Earhart… well that’s one fascinating story of flying intrigue! I learnt to fly with a lady instructor and very good she was too!

As for Women in Politics – we’re still recovering from the blight of Margaret Thatcher… and so are you… She invented ‘Greed is Good’ and her ideas permeated global banking culture and precipitated the subsequent Banking disaster that resulted in the current global recession 😦 Sorry – just my opinion 🙂

There are some very good ladies in political life. Hilary Clinton is one of yours who probably still has a lot to offer. Diane Abbott is one of ours who probably missed the boat partly due to race (though the establishment will deny that).

nrhatch - October 1, 2014

I admire Margaret Thatcher’s underlying philosophy:

“I came to office with one deliberate intent: to change Britain from a dependent to a self-reliant society – from a give-it-to-me, to a do-it-yourself nation. A get-up-and-go, instead of a sit-back-and-wait-for-it Britain.”

And I admire her bravery to act according to her beliefs:

“You know, if you just set out to be liked, you would be prepared to compromise on anything, wouldn’t you, at any time? And you would achieve nothing!”

I forgot you flew. Having a pilot’s license would be fun . . . if I could afford the fuel.

2e0mca - October 6, 2014

Hi Nancy, I took a very long time thinking about my response to your admiration.

Margaret Thatcher was my MP for thirty years. In that time I witnessed the destruction of whole communities, industries and the damage that she wrought to society itself first hand. The first quote you have flies in the face of what she actually did – she forced thousands of people out of work through her individual hatred of the left wing and trades unions. She made her personal dogma more important than anything else. She destroyed the mining industry to kill off the unions there but didn’t understand that her action would decimate huge swathes of UK industry that supplied the mines with its machinery. She drove a very large wedge through the heart of this nation – Ask yourself why the Conservatives are un-electable in Scotland, Wales and large stretches of the midlands? – it’s because there are still many people who can no longer find work where they live as a result of her policies. And the irony about the destruction of the UK mining industry?… We now import brown coal from Poland to feed our coal-fire power stations while we still have plentiful coal resources in the ground and that is a 2-fold economic burden. we’re importing something that we could be employing our own people toproduce but it’s also inferior and thus requires more of the product to produce the same amount of electricity.

I won’t say that everything Mrs Thatcher did was wrong – I agreed with some of her policies (though not always at first sitting). I just wish she’d stuck to policies rather than indulging her personal hates with no one around her who was brave (man?) enough to stand up for what was acceptable and what was not.

Hopefully, after my diatribe, you can understand why Margaret Thatcher is not someone I can respect.

ps – when she passed on some misguided persons forced, through social media, the song from the Wizard of Oz ‘Ding Dong the Witch is Dead’ to the top of the charts… I disapprove of disrespect to the dead but perhaps it illustrates just how much she divided this nation 😦

nrhatch - October 6, 2014

When she died, I saw posts that praised her and posts that vilified her. I figure the truth lies somewhere between the two extremes. Since she’s dead, I opted to focus on something to admire (given the focus of this post) rather than something to criticize.

That said, I do not live in the UK where I am directly impacted by her policies and politics. Your reasons for disliking Ms. Thatcher sound sound to me. Often the fall out from strong arm tactics is worse than the “disease” they aimed at curing.

Reagan did many of the same things in the US ~ eliminating regulations on industry and Wall Street that he viewed as onerous. The end result ~ the fox in charge of the hen house ate all the chickens.

8. brickhousechick - October 1, 2014

I came across the comedy documentary last night, it was fabulous! I didn’t know it was a series, thanks for the heads up

nrhatch - October 1, 2014

We watched Women in Comedy last night and found it interesting, fascinating, frustrating, and hilarious. Loved Roseanne’s “take it or leave it” attitude and Amy Poehler’s refusal to cave when Jimmy Fallon didn’t approve of her schtick.

It’s amazing what women have accomplished with so few men willing to “open doors” to them. It shocked me how few women wrote for shows like Golden Girls, Maude, SNL, etc.

9. joannevalentinesimson - October 1, 2014

Thanks, Nancy! I saw an early film called Makers – the early women of the women’s movement. I look forward to seeing these.

nrhatch - October 1, 2014

Yes. I saw that too and must have signed up for e-mail updates about future documentaries. Yesterday, they shot me an e-mail about this series. Considering how the deck was stacked against women before the 1970’s, it’s wonderful to see how far we’ve come.

One of the clips last night was from the Mary Tyler Moore show:

Mary asked Lou why her predecessor had earned $50 more a week.
Lou replied, “He was a man.”
Livid, Mary said, “That’s the ONLY reason?!”
Lou nodded, “Yes. It has nothing to do with the quality of your work.”

10. Silver in the Barn - October 1, 2014

And it’s a pretty safe bet that even if a particular category doesn’t necessarily pique one’s interest on the surface, PBS is going to make it fascinating. So sorry I missed the comedy show last night but I’m sure it will repeat. And I, too, admire Margaret Thatcher for exactly your comment about Norman Lear!

nrhatch - October 1, 2014

Exactly ~ I can’t imagine too many people who wouldn’t enjoy the series, except, you know, Rush Limbaugh. :mrgreen:

found a link to the show on PBS.org:

If you can’t view it, find your local PBS affiliate.

11. Pix Under the Oaks - October 1, 2014

So appreciate PBS and love Makers!

nrhatch - October 1, 2014

PBS and Smithsonian are my 2 favorite channels for learning in an entertaining format.

12. In the Stillness of Willow Hill - October 1, 2014

What a wonderful recommendation!

nrhatch - October 2, 2014

Hi Willow ~ Sorry for the delay. I found you in the Spammer Slammer. You’re FREE!

We enjoyed the first documentary on comedy and loved it. Informative and funny.

13. diannegray - October 1, 2014

I’ll have to keep an eye out for these in Australia, Nancy 😀

nrhatch - October 1, 2014

You may be able to watch them on-line. I gave a link to Barbara at comment #10.

14. beeblu - October 2, 2014

Bring out the popcorn – looks as if you are in for a treat. Wonder if it will come here.

nrhatch - October 2, 2014

You might check out the link @ comment #10 to see if it works for you, BB. The 1st show focused on Women in Comedy . . . in America. So it may not be promoted much overseas.

15. jannatwrites - October 3, 2014

Sounds like a fascinating series. I like to see women pushing beyond what history indicates we should be. In my line of work, the office is made up mostly of women… however, men have always held the highest level positions. Would like to see that change as well.

nrhatch - October 3, 2014

The playing field is more accessible than it once was . . . but it’s not level yet.

16. Silver in the Barn - October 4, 2014

Hi Nancy, caught the comedy show Thursday night on our PBS. It was so strange to see Joan Rivers, so relevant and current, I guess this must have been filmed very recently. Anyway, I enjoyed it very much and thanks for the heads up! I’ll keep my eyes open for the next episodes for sure.

nrhatch - October 4, 2014

Glad you enjoyed it, Barbara. I’m looking forward to the whole series ~ my favorite entertainment is always that with a side of education.

I felt the same when Joan appeared in her recent incarnation . . . it was also great to see her early act:

“Last girl before thruway!”

Silver in the Barn - October 4, 2014

Ha ha! Yes, she was such a bundle of raw energy throughout her entire life! Also really enjoyed the Roseanne bit. Interesting the total awe the other women comics had of her “just don’t care” attitude. I loved her “fat mom” bit.

nrhatch - October 4, 2014

Yes! Roseanne rocked the house with Fat Mom ~ cookies and hot chocolate vs. running around the block.

No contest!

17. livelytwist - October 5, 2014

I’ll probably not watch any of these in real time, living at the other end of the world, but I’m happy these stories are being told. We need to hear them, men and women need to hear them. There’s so much we can learn from pioneers. Thanks for sharing.

nrhatch - October 5, 2014

If the entertainment value of the rest is as good as the first, they’ll make for great viewing. Sometimes we forget how far we’ve come because we still have hills to climb. Films like this provide a valuable retrospective glance.

18. 2e0mca - October 6, 2014

Hi Nancy – thanks for your understanding 🙂

I have got another Political lady for you – one that has crossed all UK party boundaries. She played a key role in the move towards peace in Northern Ireland – Mo Mowlem… http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Mo_Mowlam

nrhatch - October 6, 2014

Shame that she died so young. We need more like her.

2e0mca - October 6, 2014

Amen to that 🙂

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