Lifetime dominates True Crime TV movies with female directors and writers for Ann Rule summer slate

Karen Lam
Karen Lam will direct Danger In The Dorm for Lifetime. Pic credit: Lifetime

Lifetime just announced that they are greenlighting five brand new Ann Rule films for the TV network, with the majority staffed by female directors in a move designed to showcase female behind-the-scenes talent.

The network designs most, if not all, of their programming to cater to a female audience, and now they are putting women behind the scenes calling the shots.

Four out of the five films announced today will feature female directors with Ashley Williams and Robin Givens making their film directorial debuts.

Williams, who recently starred in Chris Watts: Confessions of a Killer from Lifetime’s Winter “Ripped from the Headlines” slate, has her film directorial debut with Practice to Deceive.

Givens will also make her directorial debut with A Murder to Remember, based on the Rule novel, Empty Promises.

Three of the five films will be written by women, too.

What are the Lifetime True Crime films scheduled?

Expect them all to premiere this summer on Lifetime.

Bestsellers from true-crime queen Ann Rule that include Danger In The Dorm, Mortal Danger, Practice To Deceive, Bitter Harvest
and A Murder to Remember, adapted from Empty Promises, are set for release.

The films will revolve around NY Times bestselling author Rule’s crackling good prose of mayhem and murder, underscored with lies and deception. This is all part of the Ripped from the Headlines slate for Lifetime’s summer programming.

The Rule books that already have made a huge impact for Lifetime include Too Late to Say Goodbye with Rob Lowe, Hunt for the I-5 Killer with John Corbett, Everything She Ever Wanted with Gina Gershon, and Capture of the Green River Killer with Tom Cavanagh,

Lifetime is adapting more Rule titles including Danger In The Dorm, Mortal Danger, Practice to Deceive, Bitter Harvest and Empty Promises, in which the movie version would be entitled A Murder to Remember.

Casting is currently underway on the movies.

Of the industry achievement for women, Lifetime says:

“As part of the Broader Focus initiative, of the Lifetime Original Movies slated for air from January through July 2020, 68% of those films are written by women, 57% are directed by women and 53% are executive produced by women, far surpassing industry averages.”

The additional directors announced today include Karen Lam for Danger in the Dorm, Shamim Sarif for Bitter Harvest, and David Weaver for Mortal Danger.

The writing staff includes Ramona Barckert, Christina Ray, Amber Benson, Richard Blaney, Gregory Small, Conor Allyn, and Benjamin Anderson.

What are these new Ann Rule films about?

True Crime baby, and lots of it:

Danger In The Dorm

Smart student Becky Swafford is murdered in her dorm room, a quiet college campus is now the hunting ground of a serial killer. Detectives work relentlessly but are stumped when more bodies stack up, and no discernible pattern is detected.

Lifetime says: “Despite the odds, Becky’s best friend Kathleen and her grieving mother Grace refuse to give up on solving her murder, even when it means risking their own lives.”

Ramona Barckert serves as writer, and Karen Lam will direct.

Mortal Danger

Paul Carter was a closet killer, a charming nightmare for flight attendant Grace Tanner as he swept her into a passionate love affair. But her dream lover faded fast as his jealous rages led to a brutal attack.

Lifetime says: “Incredibly, Grace was able to escape and go into hiding. Fearing for her future, Grace works with the police to bring Paul to justice.”

Richard Blaney and Gregory Small serve as writers and will be directed by David Weaver.

A Murder to Remember

From the Rule collection titled Empty Promises, we meet Javier and Robin Rivera as the two are marking their one-year anniversary on a camping trip. But when Javier winds up dead, Robin finds herself alone and at the mercy of a mysterious stranger, Sam.

Lifetime says: “But is Sam there to protect Robin? Or does she need protecting from him?

Amber Benson wrote the script. Robin Givens will make her directorial debut with this movie.

Practice to Deceive

A tiny island is turned upside down as local businessman Russel Douglas is found dead the day after Christmas. An investigation of his friends and family yield to the ultimate twist, and the identity of his murderer.

This is Ashley Williams’ television movie directorial debut from a script written by Christina Ray.

Bitter Harvest

Genius doctor, beloved mother Debora Green, had three children, a gorgeous house and an adoring husband. But the facade was real, as her rocky marriage upends the perfect picture.

Conor Allyn and Benjamin Anderson wrote the script that Shamim Sarif will direct.

Lifetime’s summer Ripped from the Headlines slate is expected this summer, 2020.

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