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Bay Area Women Honor Local Stars of Upcoming "Makers" Documentary

Some of the Bay Area's top business and community leaders attended a reception and preview of a new documentary about trailblazing women.

More than 50 Bay Area female movers and shakers gathered at the Rosewood Sand Hill in Menlo Park for a sneak preview with 11 of the hundreds of remarkable women who are the stars in the upcoming documentary, “MAKERS: Women Who Make America,” a digital video and broadcast initiative co-produced by PBS and AOL.

“I hope we become visible to each other... There are so many women's stories that have not been told... pursue those stories, notice the abscenses," said the evening’s hit special guest, activist Gloria Steinem, who is herself a MAKER profiled in the documentary. "The human experience is not complete if everyone around the campfire is not heard." 

Over cocktails and hors d'oeuvres the guests mingled Tuesday night with Steinem and some of the Makers from the Bay Area, including blogger and entrepreneur Lisa Stone, social software entrepreneur Gina Bianchini, non profit healthcare advocate Jane Chen, social innovator Priya Haji, designer and engineer Heather Fleming, Aileen Hernandez, food educator Amanda Haas, Third Wave Foundation co-founder Amy Richards, filmaker Tiffany Shlain, Futures Without Violence founder Esta Soler and teen advocate Whitney Smith.

Maureen Sullivan, AOL's Chief Marketing Officer, said she hoped the film would inspire a new generation of young women to join these trailblazers and make history too. 

In their announcement of the project, AOL and PBS said 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, athletes, activists and entertainers. All 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, AOL and PBS said. 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.

"Partnering together to bring MAKERS to life is exactly the type of future-forward programming we believe in,” Tim Armstrong, Chairman and CEO of AOL, said in the statement. “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,” Paula A. Kerger, President and CEO of PBS, said in the statement. “PBS and our member stations are proud to support this celebration and dialogue about the role of women in our society.”

Many of the stories and profiles are already up on MAKERS.com, an AOL-developed interactive video platform, along with a host of other resources and a blog. PBS will also launch a companion site at pbs.org/MAKERS, featuring select MAKERS stories and information on the upcoming documentary.

The project is founded by filmmaker Dyllan McGee, who said the documentary will air in February 2013.

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.

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