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Film uncovers surprising history of women leaders makes stirring case for equality in halls of power; part of collection of 12 short films exploring women and power by female directors including Shlain, Kristen Stewart, Chloe Sevigny, and more.

New York, NY (October 13, 2016) – In anticipation of the historic U.S. election that could produce the nation’s first woman president, a new film from Emmy nominated and Webby Awards founder Tiffany Shlain will debut October 28th on Refinery29. The film, 50/50: The Past, Present, and Future of Women + power, takes audiences on a thrilling and eye opening exploration of women as political leaders, winding from early human history to present day to a future where this is true equality in leadership roles between women and men.

50/50: The Past, Present & Future of Women + Power is part of Refinery29’s Shatterbox Anthology, a collection of twelve engaging and powerful short films created by female directors, writers and animators. Over the course of a year starting in August 2016, Refinery29 will unveil one new film per month, including works directed by Kristen Stewart, Chloe Sevigny, Gabourey Sidibe, Meera Menon and Pamela Romanowsky. The first six films within the anthology, including 50/50, will also be available on Comcast’s Watchable platform in the US.

50/50 follows Shlain, one of Newsweek’s “women shaping the 21st century,” on her own journey of discovery, starting with her surprise at learning that there have been 50 women who have served as heads of state (elected presidents or prime ministers) throughout the world. Upon finding that others similarly underestimated that number — most guessing well below half — she employs her signature cinematic-thought-essay style to tell the story of women as leaders, roving from early civilizations led by “badass” women to the rise of patriarchy to the modern women’s rights movement.

“When I learned that there were more than 50 women alive today who had led their countries, I was astounded by also disappointed in myself for not knowing that women had achieved this important milestone,” said Shlain. “Perhaps it is because we still haven’t had one in the US. Too often, women’s stories and accomplishments are soloed, overlooked, and forgotten. By looking at where women have been and where we are heading 50/50 reveals that women have made significant strides in the halls of power and makes  a stirring case for accelerating progress in order to build a more just, fair, and happy society for men, women, and everyone in between.”

Seamlessly blending together archival and found footage, news reports, and animation, the film offers a fascinating ride through the pivotal moments and people in history that have brought women to where they are today and what female leadership might look like in 50 years. 50/50 culminates in a moving montage of all of modern-day female heads of state – beginning in the 1960s with Sri Lankan Prime Minister Sirimavo Bandaranaike and traveling through the decades to current leaders like German Chancellor Angela Merkel.

“50/50 showcases the positive impact that women in power have created globally, and we hope that the film inspires women to harness their own power to create change in our country at this pivotal moment in time,” said Amy Emmerich, Refinery29’s Chief Content Officer. “The films featured in the Shatterbox Anthology share a common theme tied to the dynamics of power and the role women can play when owning their power. We are proud to work with Tiffany to share this critical message and rally for positive change.”

Shlain’s films and work have received more than 80 awards and distinctions, including a Disruptive Innovation Award from the Tribeca Film Festival. Four of her films have premiered at Sundance, including her acclaimed feature documentary Connected: An Autoblogography about Love, Death & Technology, which the New York Times hailed as a “high tech Terry Gilliam.” The US State Department selected four of Shlain’s films to represent America at embassies around the world for the American Film Showcase. Her original series The Future Starts Here received more than 40 million online views and was nominated for an Emmy Award.

Film credits: Director: Tiffany Shlain. Writers & Producers: Tiffany Shlain, Sawyer Steele, and Julie Hermelin. Editors: Tiffany Shlain & Sawyer Steele. Executive Producers: Jacki Zehner, Amy Emmerich, Shannon Gibson, and Stone Roberts.

Watch the film online at or Comcast’s Watchables.

About Refinery29

Refinery29 is the leading digital-media company focused on women with a global audience footprint of 331 million across all platforms. Through a variety of lifestyle stories, original video programming, and social, shareable content across all platforms, Refinery29 provides its audience with the inspiration and tools to discover and pursue a more independent, stylish, and informed life. Please visit,, and for more information and to browse content.