Powerful Documentary on Domestic Violence Premieres at Newseum in Washington, D.C.; Will Begin Airing in June on PBS Stations Across the Country

A powerful documentary on domestic violence premiered Tuesday night (May 18) before an audience of domestic violence prevention advocates at the Newseum.

"Telling Amy's Story" chronicles the time leading up to the death of Amy Homan McGee, a mother of two who was shot and killed by her husband.  The documentary will begin airing on PBS stations throughout the country on June 1.  A complete listing of stations and times is available at http://telling.psu.edu. The documentary will also be available with Spanish-language subtitles and captioning for the hearing impaired.

Mariska Hargitay of NBC-TV's "Law & Order: Special Victims Unit," who appears in the documentary, spoke at the premiere.

"I am proud to stand with Penn State Public Broadcasting, Verizon, the National Domestic Violence Hotline, the administration and our partners to shed light on the often hidden epidemic of family violence," said Hargitay, who is also the founder of the Joyful Heart Foundation, which helps heal, educate and empower survivors of sexual assault, domestic violence and child abuse. "Our hope is that this film will be used to ignite a dialogue across the country and ultimately save lives."

"Telling Amy's Story" was produced and directed by Joe Myers, creative director at Penn State Public Broadcasting, and builds on a successful domestic violence prevention programat Pennsylvania State University. Through the program, Penn State has trained  employees and students at more than 20 of the university's campuses to spot the signs of domestic violence and provide assistance to those in need. Both the training program and the documentary were funded by $385,000 in grants from the Verizon Foundation, the philanthropic arm of Verizon.

Amy's story is told in large part by Detective Deirdri Fishel, who is a member of a unit in the State College (Pa.) Police Department that focuses on a coordinated response to reports of domestic abuse, including participation in the review of domestic violence homicides to find out what clues were missed, or what steps could be taken to stop a similar situation.

"Telling Amy's Story' is an example of Penn State Public Broadcasting's commitment to creating powerful public service media that combine compelling media with robust outreach to communities," said Ted Krichels, associate vice president for public engagement and general manager of Penn State Public Broadcasting.  "This combination creates a catalyst for local discussions around a vital national issue and impact at the local level."

Sue Else, president of the National Network to End Domestic Violence, said: "We hope this compelling documentary pays tribute to Amy's memory and to more than a thousand women who are killed by their intimate partners each year in the United States. We are ever grateful for the Verizon Foundation and Penn State's continued commitment to ending violence against women. Amy's chilling, tragic story reminds us that intimate-partner violence affects us all, and we urge everyone to be part of the solution."

In the past three years, the Verizon Foundation has awarded more than $15 million to nonprofit organizations that assist domestic violence survivors.

Through the Verizon Wireless HopeLine® program more than 7 million no-longer-used wireless phones have been collected and recycled or refurbished to support domestic violence survivors, generating $8 million that has been given to local agencies since 2001.

"Raising awareness of domestic violence and aiding in its prevention is a key issue for Verizon," said Patrick Gaston, Verizon Foundation president. "Verizon is proud to partner with Penn State University and all of our partners to bring this important story and its lessons to a wider audience and to hopefully save lives."

(B-roll video of Tuesday's premiere is available upon request by contacting Anna Marie Johnson Teague at amteague@dmtcommunications.com or 713-858-5423.) 

The Verizon Foundation, the philanthropic arm of Verizon Communications, supports the advancement of literacy and K-12 education through its free educational website, Verizon Thinkfinity (www.thinkfinity.org), and fosters awareness and prevention of domestic violence.  In 2009, the Verizon Foundation awarded $67.9 million in grants to nonprofit agencies in the U.S. and abroad.  It also matched the charitable donations of Verizon employees and retirees, resulting in $26.1 million in combined contributions to nonprofits.  Through Verizon Volunteers, one of the nation's largest employee volunteer programs, Verizon employees and retirees have volunteered more than 5 million hours of community service since 2000. For more information on the foundation, visit www.verizonfoundation.org.

Verizon Communications Inc. (NYSE, NASDAQ:VZ), headquartered in New York, is a global leader in delivering broadband and other wireless and wireline communications services to mass market, business, government and wholesale customers.  Verizon Wireless operates America's most reliable wireless network, serving nearly 93 million customers nationwide.  Verizon also provides converged communications, information and entertainment services over America's most advanced fiber-optic network, and delivers innovative, seamless business solutions to customers around the world.  A Dow 30 company, Verizon employs a diverse workforce of more than 217,000 and last year generated consolidated revenues of more than $107 billion.  For more information, visit www.verizon.com.