HALLMARK MEDIA ANNOUNCES "MAKE HER MARK: HALLMARK'S RECIPROCAL DIRECTOR MENTOR PROGRAM" LAUNCHING IN 2023
Acclaimed Actor and Director Ashley Williams Forefront of the Reciprocal Shadow Program
PASADENA, CA - August 10, 2022 - Hallmark Media announced today it is launching a female-focused initiative that will create opportunities for aspiring filmmakers. The Make Her Mark reciprocal director mentor initiative conceived as a passion project by Ashley Williams, ("Amber Brown", "How I Met Your Mother"," "Jim Gaffigan Show", "Sister Swap: A Hometown Holiday", "Two Tickets to Paradise"), was developed as a result of her collaboration with top executives at Hallmark. The program will continue Hallmark's commitment to inclusive storytelling and embracing the female perspective in its slate of movies and series in front of and behind the camera. It was announced today at the bi-annual meeting of the Television Critics Association.
"I am where I am today because of the women and men who mentored me and lifted me up along the way," said Lisa Hamilton Daly, EVP, Programming, Hallmark Media. She continued, "And now we will pay it forward as an organization and help arm aspiring women filmmakers with the tools and experience they need and want to take their careers to new heights. I cannot wait to see the incredible work that will result from this new program."
"My gratitude to Hallmark Channel for the years of supporting me as a storyteller runs deep. And now, to work in concert with Wonya Lucas, Lisa Hamilton Daly, Randy Pope and the executive leadership team to create this same support for other female storytellers is some of the most fulfilling work I've ever done," said Ashley Williams. "This new program is one of several ways Hallmark is committed to diversifying its stories AND its storytellers."
In addition to this active movement by the company to hire increasingly more female directors, Hallmark will tap into its extensive stable of reputable directors who have expressed an interest in mentoring rising talent behind the camera. The program will allow women to shadow established directors on Hallmark sets to learn the process. In the Make Her Mark program, after a woman shadows a director-mentor through the full pre-production, production and post-production processes, the network will employ that woman as the director of their own movie, with her former mentor now "shadowing" her as their creative producer. Each participant will have access to mentoring, career coaching, and help in developing her subsequent works.
"Hallmark is a brand built around giving to and connecting with others, and The Make Her Mark program is our gift of opportunity experience, coaching, and guidance for such deserving and talented women in our field," said Wonya Lucas, President & CEO, Hallmark Media. "I hope one day, when she accepts her Emmy or Peabody or Oscar, that she fondly remembers that Hallmark Media gave her that first shot... and then she pays it forward."
The company will announce its first pairings in the coming months for movies that will air on Hallmark Channel or Hallmark Movies & Mysteries. Williams will direct a film for Hallmark Channel this year.
To watch a message from Ashley Williams to the Television Critics Association in response to the announcement, please click here.
ABOUT HALLMARK MEDIA, INC.
Owned and operated by Hallmark Cards, Inc., Hallmark Media is home to Hallmark Channel, Hallmark Movies & Mysteries, and Hallmark Drama. Hallmark Channel features an ambitious slate of new, original content, including movies, scripted series, and annual specials. Hallmark Channel is also home to the popular annual holiday franchise Countdown to Christmas featuring a 24/7 lineup of holiday programming. Hallmark Movies & Mysteries is a 24-hour cable network featuring a unique mix of new, original movies and acquired series focused on the lighter side of the suspense and mystery genres. The network also features its own annual holiday programming franchise, Miracles of Christmas and is the new home of Mahogany movies. Hallmark Drama showcases the rich legacy of the Hallmark Hall of Fame library and spotlights movies and series from Crown Media's collection of original dramatic content. Crown Media Family Networks is also home to Hallmark Movies Now, the company's subscription streaming service, which offers commercial-free, feel-good movies and series from Hallmark Channel, Hallmark Movies & Mysteries, and more, including exclusive content you can't find anywhere else. Hallmark Media's publishing extension, Hallmark Publishing, offers original novels, as well as books adapted from Hallmark original movies.