LOS ANGELES, March 29, 2011 /PRNewswire/ -- Jennifer Aniston, Alicia Keys, Demi Moore and Film Independent Spirit Award-winner Patty Jenkins (Monster) have been signed to direct the Lifetime Original Movie Project Five, an anthology of five short films exploring the impact of breast cancer on people's lives. Aniston, Marta Kauffman (Friends), Paula Wagner (The Last Samurai, Mission: Impossible), Kristin Hahn (The Departed, The Switch), Kevin Chinoy (Greg the Bunny, Warren the Ape) and Francesca Silvestri (Greg the Bunny, Warren the Ape) will executive produce the Sony Pictures Television production, Project Five, reuniting Aniston and Kauffman for the first time since Friends. The announcement was made today by Nancy Dubuc, President and General Manager of Lifetime Networks, an industry leader in raising awareness about breast cancer.
Through its deeply interconnected story arc developed by Kauffman, Project Five will use humor and drama to focus on the effect that breast cancer and its diagnosis have on relationships and the way women perceive themselves, while searching for strength, comfort, medical breakthroughs and, ultimately, a cure.
Under Kauffman's supervision, writers Stephen Godchaux (Spin City, Dead Like Me), Jill Gordon (Cupid, My So-Called Life), Howard Morris (Women are Crazy, Men are Stupid), Deirdre O'Connor (The Electric Company) and Wendy West (Dexter, The Closer) have written a film included in Project Five, which will be produced by Sony Pictures Television, Echo Films and Chestnut Ridge Productions. The film's fifth director will be announced in the coming weeks.
"Our hope with Project Five is to entertain, inform and inspire dialogue, research and prevention. Otherwise, our goals are small," said Aniston. "We want these films to move people and empower those affected by breast cancer to stand tall through this challenge, which impacts ALL of our lives, no matter who we are."
"I'm a big fan of this amazing group of powerful and creative women, and we are thrilled to be working with them on Project Five," said Dubuc. "It's an awesome feeling to be able to give them such a strong platform to do what they do best – entertain and tell great stories – so that we all educate viewers about breast cancer through these five films of courage, love and hope."
"We are proud to be partnering with this amazing creative team on a project of such importance and impact for women," said Helen Verno, executive vice president of movies and miniseries, Sony Pictures Television.
Breast cancer is one of the leading causes of deaths among women, affecting one in every eight females, with one in 35 of those women often dying from the disease. While breast cancer death rates are going down – likely a result of early detection – it's estimated that nearly 200,000 new cases are diagnosed annually, with 40,000 deaths attributed to the disease each year. Breast cancer is the most common cancer among African American women, who are more likely to die from the disease than other ethnicities due to later detection and delayed treatment. Among Hispanic women, breast cancer is the leading cause of cancer death. There are currently 2.5 million breast cancer survivors in the United States.
Long at the forefront in the ongoing battle to fight breast cancer for more than 17 years, Lifetime's Stop Breast Cancer for Life initiative has been dedicated to offering women the most up-to-date, comprehensive information about the disease. Reaching women and families across the country in partnership with its cable affiliates, advertising sponsors and leading non-profit organizations, Lifetime has collected more than 25 million petition signatures to urge Congress to pass the bipartisan Breast Cancer Patient Protection Act, which would end "drive-through mastectomies," the practice where women are sometimes forced to leave the hospital just hours after invasive breast surgery. Lifetime and its audience are now urging the health insurance industry to allow women to stay in the hospital up to 48 hours after a mastectomy as a standard of care.
Past Lifetime Original Movies addressing breast cancer include Living Proof, produced by Renée Zellweger and Craig Zadan and Neil Meron (Drop Dead Diva) and starring Harry Connick Jr., Amanda Bynes, Angie Harmon, Amy Madigan and others; the Emmy® Award nominated Why I Wore Lipstick to My Mastectomy, with Sarah Chalke; and Matters of Life & Dating, starring Ricki Lake.
ABOUT SONY PICTURES TELEVISION
Sony Pictures Television is one of the television industry's leading content providers. It produces and distributes programming in every genre, including series, telefilms, theatrical releases and family entertainment around the world and for every platform: broadcast and cable television, first-run and off-network syndication and digital distribution. In addition to one of the industry's largest libraries of feature films and television shows, SPT boasts a current program slate that includes the top-rated daytime dramas and game shows, landmark off-network series, original animated series and critically acclaimed primetime dramas, comedies and telefilms. Internationally, SPT is a leader in local language productions around the world, some of which are co-produced with local partners, and sells SPE-owned formats in approximately 70 countries. To better serve its clients and partners worldwide, SPT maintains offices throughout the world, including Argentina, Australia, Brazil, Canada, France, Germany, Hong Kong, Hungary, India, Italy, Japan, Korea, Mexico, the Netherlands, the People's Republic of China, Russia, Singapore, Spain, Venezuela and the United Kingdom. SPT's worldwide television networks portfolio is a key strategy in SPE's long-range commitment to the global marketplace, with 132 channel feeds, which are available in more than 142 countries reaching more than 500 million households worldwide. SPT also creates original content for and manages SPE's premium video website, Crackle. Additionally, SPT owns Dutch entertainment company 2waytraffic, production company Embassy Row and Sony Movie Channel, and is a part owner of cable channel GSN, new 3D channel 3net, FEARnet, the premier horror/thriller website and VOD service, and national media sales company ITN Networks, Inc. SPT advertiser sales is one of the premiere national advertising sales companies, handling the commercial inventory in SPT's syndicated series as well as in all of SPE's digital businesses in the United States. SPT (www.sonypicturestelevision.com) is a Sony Pictures Entertainment company.
ABOUT LIFETIME TELEVISION
Lifetime Television is committed to offering the highest quality entertainment and information programming, and advocating a wide range of issues affecting women and their families. Lifetime Television®, Lifetime Movie Network®, Lifetime Real Women® and Lifetime Digital™ (which includes myLifetime.com, LMN.tv, Lifetime Games, Roiworld.com, DressUpChallenge.com, MothersClick.com and LifetimeMoms.com) are part of Lifetime Entertainment Services, LLC, a subsidiary of A&E Television Networks, LLC. A&E Television Networks is a joint venture of the Disney-ABC Television Group, Hearst Corporation and NBC Universal.
SOURCE Lifetime Television