Dean Hamer


Dean Hamer is an Emmy Award winning filmmaker, New York Times Book of the Year author, and NIH scientist emeritus with a long history in communicating complex and controversial ideas to diverse publics. He formed Qwaves with partner Joe Wilson to produce insightful and provocative documentaries about often overlooked social issues. Their films have been supported by Sundance, the Ford Foundation, ITVS and Pacific Islanders in Communications, screened and won awards at film festivals across the world including Berlin and Toronto, and used as outreach and educational tools by a wide range of community and educational organizations.

Out in the Silence, the first feature film from Qwaves, premiered at Lincoln Center and became a highly visible model for the use of film for social activism. In 2011, Hamer and Wilson moved to the north shore of O'ahu, Hawai'i to begin work on a series of films about Pacific Islander issues and voices. Their features Kumu Hina and Leitis in Waiting, and the accompanying shorts A Place in the Middle and Lady Eva, have opened the eyes of the world to the lessons to be learned from Polynesia's unique approach to gender and inclusion 

In addition to his film work, Hamer is the author of several best selling nonfiction books including The Science of Desire and The God Gene, a consultant for the BBC and Discovery channels, and a sought-after lecturer and guest on TV documentaries and news shows including Nightline and Oprah.



Joe Wilson

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Joe Wilson is an Emmy Award-winning documentary filmmaker and human rights advocate whose work with Dean Hamer, his partner in life and film-activism, explores oppression and empowerment among society's most vulnerable communities.

Wilson & Hamer's 2010 PBS film Out in the Silence, a Sundance Documentary Fund grantee, focused on the challenges of LGBT people in rural and small town America and became the centerpiece of a multi-year national campaign to open dialogue and build bridges across socio-political divides. These efforts were highlighted in impact reports by the Center for Social Media at American University and The Fledgling Fund.

Their 2014 PBS films Kumu Hina and A Place in the Middle brought Hawaiian cultural perspectives to the fore in national and international conversations on issues of gender diversity and inclusion. Kumu Hina was supported by Pacific Islanders in Communications and ITVS, won the Audience Award for its national PBS broadcast on Independent Lens,and received the GLAAD Media Award for Outstanding Documentary. A Place in the Middle premiered at the Berlinale and won awards at numerous children's festivals around the world. The film and educational toolkit, available to all for free, are at the center of a strength-based school-focused educational campaign.

Wilson & Hamer recently completed Leitis in Waiting and Lady Eva, a documentary feature and short about the conservative south Pacific Kingdom of Tonga's evolving approach to gender fluidity.

Previously, Wilson served as Director of the Human Rights and Global Security Program at Public Welfare Foundation in Washington, D.C. and Producer of Pacifica National Radio's public affairs program Democracy Now. He received a B.A. in Sociology and Economics from the University of Pittsburgh and served as a Peace Corps volunteer in the West African nation of Mali.