Alexandra Dean is an Emmy award-winning documentary and news producer. She produced news-magazine documentaries for PBS before becoming a series and documentary producer at Bloomberg television, producing the series “Innovators, Adventures and Pursuits.” She also writes about invention for Businessweek magazine. She is a founding partner at Reframed Pictures.
Her latest achievement is the documentary film Bombshell: The Hedy Lamarr Story which she wrote, edited, and directed. Hedy Lamarr was the inspiration for the Wonder Women Project and the subject of our very first pin and print.
We reached out to Alexandra and asked for her thoughts on the recognition of female achievement, role models, and what her dream project might be. Even with a busy schedule she very kindly agreed to answer our questions.
WW: Woman have made countless contributions to the world - in the arts, sciences, government, engineering, etc.. But it’s startling to me just how unaware we are of all that talent. In your opinion why aren’t we more aware? And how do you think we might try to remedy the current lack of awareness?
AD: We aren’t aware because up until this point we haven’t paid enough attention to the subtle ways in which people are erased, ignored or forgotten if they don’t fit your preconceived notion of what a brilliant or uniquely gifted person should look, sound or be like.
WW: Having role models that inspire future generations to do amazing things can make the world a better place. Our own values shine through when we honor those we admire. Do you think we’re getting better as a society in promoting female role models to both girls and boys? How do you think we can improve?
AD: We need to find more female and diverse role models in the past and in the world today and celebrate them in media and in schools, but we can’t do it in a way that is just worthy... we have to do it in a way that shows we’re seriously with big budgets and huge reach...the way RBG celebrates Ruth Bader Ginsburg and I Am Not Your Negro celebrates James Baldwin. Those are by far the most successful documentaries of the past few years and it’s because they blew it out of the water in terms of style and the subject was life changing. If we see enough content like that, things will start to shift.
WW: I know you spent a countless number of hours working on and promoting your documentary. But you probably have several ideas you’d like to explore for future projects. If you had the time and an unlimited budget what would be one keystone project you’d like to tackle?
AD: If I had unlimited time and budget I would work on a series I’ve been privately developing about a real woman who was this incredible master of disguise during the turn of the century. I love these historical characters who blow your mind. I’d also finally raise the budget for a series called Beautiful Minds about the women like Hedy Lamarr who are geniuses in science today.
Bombshell: The Hedy Lamarr Story is available on DVD, Blu-ray and Streaming on Amazon.
You can also catch the film on American Masters until June 15th.
Alexandra Dean can be followed on Twitter at @ alexhaggiagdean