Global Documentary Workshop and Jewish Homegrown History
For the past eight years, Mark Harris and I have been collaborating with Stephen O. Lesser on the Global Documentary Workshop, which brings together film students from CUC (the Communication University of China in Beijing) and USC School of Cinematic Arts. He has not only funded the project as a generous benefactor, but has also been committed to facilitating the collaborative exchange between the two cultures. Thus, he attended the screenings of student films both in LA and Beijing and hosted banquets for all participants. He also participated in the orientation sessions we held at USC, for preparing our students who were going to China. Stephen also made an important contribution to our museum installation, Jewish Homegrown History: Immigration, Identity and Intermarriage. He gave a fascinating interview on what it was like growing up in Hollywood as the grandson of movie mogul Sol Lesser, the son of film scholar Regina Fadiman, and stepson of producer Bill Fadiman. He also gave us permission to use the Lesser family’s home movies, which included a trip to Europe between the two World Wars shot by a professional cinematographer who came along for the ride.

Moguls and Mothers: Growing up Jewish in Hollywood

Lesser hosts dinner for students in Global Workshop in LA’s Chinatown

Marsha Kinder, Stephen Lesser cardboard cutout, and Stephen Lesser