Alexandria Bader '19 | Screenwriter
Alexandria Bader ’19 came to LMU for the school of Film and Television, but discovering that she could receive a Jewish Studies minor –– on top of her Film and Television Production degree –– was a welcomed surprise.
The Jewish Studies department took on a particularly important role in Alex’s academic journey when she realized she wasn’t able to take a feature-film screenwriting class unless she declared as a screenwriting minor. This was particularly disappointing for Alex because she had an idea for a feature film about a 16-year-old Jewish resistance fighter in World War II. When Alex told Professor Holli Levitsky about this idea, Dr. Levitsky said she would help Alex turn her dream of writing this feature-length screenplay into a reality. Applying for and receiving the Lumer Fellowship would enable Alex to take the time to create her screenplay.
The screenplay was born from Alex’s discovery of a girl named Zina, who fought in the Belarusian resistance. She was a real person, but there is very little written about her in English. Dr. Levitsky helped connect Alex with professors across the country who could help Alex translate manuscripts and unearth Zina’s story. Then, once Alex had all the research completed, she and Dr. Levitsky worked together over the course of a semester-long independent study to plot out Zina’s story, along with fictionalized components that fill gaps left in Zina’s narrative. After this first semester of independently working on the project, Professor Levitsky connected Alex with Professor Beth Serlin in LMU’s screenwriting department. Alex went on to work with Professor Serlin for a semester and was able to complete a first draft of the script.
The fellowship “gave me that buffer of funding so that I didn’t have to be stressed about money,” Alex says. She explained that her senior thesis, which was an entirely separate film, would have been a much higher stress situation if she hadn’t won the Lumer Fellowship.
Post-graduation, Alex has continued working on the script she developed the year she received the Lumer Fellowship. “Scripts take years to fine-tune, and a World War II movie is a big feat,” she said of her process. She has hopes of one day pitching the script to producers who would allow her to act in the film.
But in the meantime, Alex has created her own commercial production company Lior Pictures to keep herself immersed in the entertainment industry. She credits the classes she took in the Jewish Studies department with helping her have a deeper understanding of Judaism and Israel, which has brought her closer to her family. She also is appreciative that the program exists on a Catholic campus, because it allows Jewish students to consider their own spiritual journeys.
Alex would advise every Jewish Studies minor to visit their professors’ office hours. In fact, Alex learned about the Lumer Fellowship and other scholarship opportunities from Professor Levitsky during office hours.
“I don’t know anyone else at LMU who got that opportunity, so I’m extremely grateful for the fellowship that allowed that study,”