Now, the female-targeted cable network is making one of its biggest steps yet in advancing women creatives in the industry by promising a job to every graduate of AFI Conservatory’s prestigious Directing Workshop for Women. The move is a part of Lifetime’s Broad Focus, a new initiative to help battle gender inequality in the entertainment business.
The plan was announced by “Unreal” co-creator Sarah Gertrude Shapiro at THR’s Women in Entertainment event.
Shapiro shared her experience as a female filmmaker in Hollywood: “I just got shut down over and over and over again. Never mind I showed substantial talent, never mind I had the drive of a herd of stampeding elephants and the work ethic of a woodpecker on methamphetamines — I was constantly passed over for guys. Just guys. … For those of us who have been systematically cock-blocked from doing our lives work because of our race or gender, we know it’s humiliating, it’s horrible and any sane person would give up and go someplace they were welcome. And many have. Because you really start to believe there’s something wrong with you.”
Shapiro described Lifetime’s belief in her and “UnReal” as “life-saving”: “They deemed me worthy. They invested in me. They took me seriously. They didn’t think there was a damn thing wrong with me.”