From September 30 to November 4, PBS and AOL will air Makers, a series of six documentaries about women who are trailblazers in their fields, from actor Glenn Close to astronaut Eileen Collins. The stories were culled from www.makers.com, which hosts a collection of videos telling women’s stories. Behind the whole shebang is a local Maker, Emmy Award-winning Founder/Executive Producer Dyllan McGee of Katonah. We talked about feminism, our local trailblazers, and getting a ‘no’ from Gloria Steinem.
How did Makers come about? I first went to Gloria Steinem to ask her to do a story on her life. She immediately said, ‘No; you can’t tell the story of the women’s movement through the story of one person.’ As I started looking into it, I realized there were more stories than could be told in a documentary and came up with the idea of launching a website with videos on hundreds of groundbreaking women and then using the best material to create a film on the women’s movement. Gloria’s ‘no’ was the best ‘no’ I’ve ever received—it inspired Makers.
Did any of the interviews surprise you? We ask every Maker: ‘Are you a feminist’? At the beginning of the project, I assumed the answer from all these groundbreaking women would be ‘yes’ across the board. I have been surprised how many women said ‘no’! To be honest, when I was young, I said ‘I’m not a feminist, but I believe in women’s rights,’ which now just makes me laugh.
Who do you think is one of the biggest ‘Makers’ of Katonah, or Westchester County? Any trailblazers here? Cynthia Brennan, who started Table Local Market, is a Northern Westchester trailblazer to me. She brought the local food movement to our area before it was the hot thing to do—she was on the cutting edge. I’d be lost without Table!