The pair used a keynote session at the Cannes Lions festival in France to lift the lid on their projects, which are backed by consumer goods giant Procter & Gamble.
Bessie star Queen Latifah is launching The Queen Collective, which will aim to fuel the pipeline of female directors across TV, film and commercials. The collective will work with brands including HP and Smirnoff as well as companies such as United Talent Agency Marketing, Tribeca Studios, Wieden+Kennedy and Marina Maher Communications / Ketchum to fund and find distribution for female-focused projects.
Latifah admitted that it was sometime “daunting” for women but she wanted to give more women the opportunity to director. She added that there was no reason that women shouldn’t direct sci-fi, fantasy and action projects in addition to other stories. “We want to [women] to tell their story and we’ll bring it to market. It’s very exciting,” she said. “I’m going to get on the phone every hour. Maybe I can point [people] in the right direction.”
Meanwhile, Couric is also working with P&G to produce more content created by women.
Via her production company Katie Couric Media, the former CBS Evening News anchor is working on a series called Getting There, which profiles highly successful women, for The Skimm. Women featured include Insecure star Issa Rae, Barefoot Contessa’s Ina Garten and Instagram’s Eva Chen.
“I’m thrilled to see so many brands and companies not just selling soap or shampoo but care about changing the world, to wield so much influence. I thought why stop at advertising and why not extend into content. We’re going to be partnering with brands that share my value and that want to make the world a better place.”
Couric recently produced six-part docu-series America Inside Out for Nat Geo and teamed up with Netflix to produce Unbelievable, a limited series from Erin Brockovich writer Susannah Grant based on An Unbelievable Story of Rape .
She said that there needed to be more female creative voices. “We have to make sure that girls can do anything and we need to encourage them at an early age. We need more women in executive and managerial ranks, not just as window dressing, and that will have a trickle down effect. We need not only more women, more women of colour and diversity in general. That makes the storytelling richer and better for the audience. Organisations have to acknowledge there’s a problem and continue to talk about it,” she said in Cannes.
Latifah joked that Couric had a hip hop album in her after the former Today host, concluded that she didn’t “want to work for ‘da man’ anymore”.