Meredith Vieira Launches Documentary Initiative for Female Directors

The new program is for women filmmakers seeking development funding for both doc features and series.
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Meredith Vieira

Meredith Vieira Productions (MVP) is looking to empower female directors.

It has partnered with This Is Just A Test (TIJAT) on an initiative to fund the development of documentary projects directed by women. The initiative is for female helmers — who comprised only 33 percent of documentary filmmakers in 2016-17 — seeking development funding for both documentary features and series. 

“I want to help women get their films made,” said Vieira, executive producer of the documentaries The Woman Who Wasn’t There and Tower. “I want to make more documentaries and I’m thrilled to have this opportunity to support female filmmakers.”

TIJAT will finance development and oversee production in collaboration with MVP. Vieira will serve as exec producer on one or more of the projects alongside TIJAT founders Aengus James and Colin King Miller. MVP’s Amy Rapp will lead the initiative for both companies, identifying filmmakers and projects and developing and producing them.

“Development money is the hardest to come by and harder still for women. We want to develop projects with visionary filmmakers (who just happen to be women) and tell exciting, character-driven stories,” said Rapp. “I’m grateful to Aengus and This Is Just A Test for seeing this need and backing our efforts.”

Added James: “The fact that this level of gender disparity exists in an industry filled with champions of equality is frightening. It’s also, to be blunt, bad business. Diversity benefits us all, every time, and audiences show up to consume content from diverse points of view. As an independent production company, the best way we can help effect change is to make this initiative wildly successful — and I’m confident it will be. Amy is seeking out the most timely, impactful and commercially viable documentaries. Those are the kinds of stories we want to tell."

TIJAT is repped by CAA; MVP is repped by ICM.