In German, Ein Stehaufmannchen is the name of a children's toy: a little man who always gets back up. Claude Ganz was a young boy when he and his family were unwittingly caught in the turbulence of World War II. The odyssey began in 1937 when they fled their home in Frankfurt, Germany to France, where they were incarcerated by the Vichy authorities. From France, they walked over the Alps to Switzerland and found Swiss guards waiting to deport them. This is the story of how one man, separated from home, country and family rebuilt his life in the remote land of America. Combining rare family footage of life in Germany before the war (including gathering grapes in the family vineyard) with deeply moving tales, EIN STEHAUFMANNCHEN is a reflection of Ganz's indomitable spirit, a celebration of survival and resiliency.
Director Vivian Kleiman's career spans 20 years of independent production, media education and advocacy. Her work has been screened at major international film festivals including Sundance, Toronto, Berlin, Jerusalem, San Francisco, and Moscow, and awarded top honors including The George Foster Peabody Award, the Eric Barnouw Award of the Organization of American Historians, the Outstanding Achievement Award of the International Documentary Association, as well as a National Emmy Award nomination for Outstanding Individual Achievement in Research.
A longtime collaborator with filmmaker Marlon T. Riggs (Tongues Untied, Color Adjustment, Black Is...Black Ain't), she serves as president of the production company which they co-founded in 1991, Signifyin' Works.
Kleiman produced and directed My Body's My Business, which addresses issues related to AIDS prevention among women working the streets. Noted by the National Women's Health Network as "the most respectful of women of any AIDS video," this video was selected for screening at the Museum of Modern Art in NY, and cited as one of the 12 top AIDS videos created in the previous 5 years.
In 1982, Kleiman completed production of Routes of Exile: A Moroccan Jewish Odyssey, a feature-length documentary which chronicles relations among Jews, Arabs and Berbers in Morocco since Biblical times.
Currently, Kleiman is in production on The Fire This Time (working title), a documentary about the church burnings in South Carolina, with funding from the MacArthur Foundation, the National Council of Churches, and the Soros Documentary Fund.
Roam Sweet Home is a one-hour documentary co-production with Channel Four of England which she produced with Ellen Spiro. A quirky look at people who live full time in recreational vehicles, it will have its national PBS broadcast in August 1997.
At the same time, Vivian Kleiman teaches at Stanford University's Department of Communication in the Graduate Program in Documentary Film Production.