DEG Names Geena Davis First 'Hedy Lamarr Award' Recipient14 Jun, 2017 By: Erik Gruenwedel
DEG: The Digital Entertainment Group June 14 named Oscar winner Geena Davis its first honoree of the Hedy Lamarr Award for Innovation in Entertainment Technology.
The DEG created the award — which will be presented in November to coincide with the 103rd anniversary of Lamarr’s birth — to recognize female executives in the fields of entertainment and technology who have made a significant contribution to the industry.
Davis is founder and chair of the Geena Davis Institute on Gender in Media, which works to influence film and television content creators to dramatically increase the percentage of female characters — and reduce gender stereotyping — in media targeting children 11 and under. Last Fall, the Institute launced its machine learning research tool, the GD-IQ (Geena Davis Inclusion Quotient), in partnership with Google and developed by the SAIL laboratory at USC Viterbi School of Engineering, to measure screen and speaking time.
Davis also launched and serves as co-founder and chair of the Bentonville Film Festival.
"I'm deeply honored to accept this important award inspired by the brilliance of Hedy Lamarr," Davis said in a statement. "Our motto at the Geena Davis Institute on Gender in Media is 'If she can see it, she can be it,' and Hedy Lamarr is a wonderful example of the kind of multi-faceted woman we need more stories about. As a Hollywood actress, she was defined primarily by her appearance, but it was her accomplishment as a scientist and inventor that most dramatically impacted the world."
The industry group will also present the Hedy Lamarr Achievement Award for Emerging Leaders in Entertainment Technology, which recognizes female college students in their junior year and whose studies in the fields of entertainment and technology have shown exceptional promise.
The award will be presented to Johanna Baumann of the University of Michigan. In consideration of the extremely high caliber of the student nominee pool, two finalists also will be recognized: Carolyn DiLoreto of the University of Southern California, and Cherylynn Lima of Smith College.
“We are proud to present DEG's first Hedy Lamarr Awards to Geena Davis, who is recognized for her tireless advocacy of gender equality in media nearly as much as for her acting accomplishments, and these inspiring students,” DEG president Amy Jo Smith said in a statement. “Each woman epitomizes the innovative spirit of Hedy Lamarr and honors her legacy through her dedication to innovation in entertainment and technology.”
Austrian-American Lamarr, whose screen credits included Samson and Delilah, The Strange Woman and Tortilla Flat, was also a lifelong inventor whose innovative work included pioneering "frequency hopping," which became the foundation for spread spectrum technology. Conceived by Lamarr and composer George Antheil for radio guidance systems and patented in 1942, this highly secure technology resists interference and dropout, and is utilized today for a variety of cellular, Wi-Fi and Bluetooth applications.