Renata Keller pursuit of philosophical and spiritual study, along with her interest in women's development, led her to Gerda Lerner's work and inspired the creation of Why Women Need to Climb Mountains.
This documentary has been written, produced and directed by Renata Keller (EWA member). Suzanne Pradel who is also an EWA member, was the script consultant.
Why Women Need to climb Mountains – A journey through the life and work of Dr. Gerda Lerner will show in detail the courageous life and work of Dr. Gerda Lerner – grassroots activist, holocaust refugee, social reformer, writer, and pioneering feminist historian – and asks the question: How does knowing our history affect our potential to shape the future?
A fictitious dialogue between Lerner and director Renata Keller – two women from different generations - is the basis for the story that will guide the viewer throughout the life and work of Gerda Lerner. The meeting happens between an older and younger woman who learn what it means to recognise one's true essence and to act with confidence and courage in the world. Why Women Need to climb Mountains will show Lerner's relentless effort for social transformation and will talk of the fight of many women who researched and documented the history of women so that women's voices will increasingly be heard and respected in our patriarchal society.
The story mirrors the various parts of Gerda Lerner's life, beginning with her imprisonment when she was 17 by the Austrian Nazis, her fleeing into the US, her political grassroots work and most importantly her extraordinary contributions to creating the field of women's history.
In the film Gerda Lerner is the heroine for the younger woman and is simultaneously putting out the challenge to her (and all of us): to fight for the freedom of women and mankind.
"I have tried to bridge the gap between theory and practice, between action and thought. I have tried to find the right balance between the life of the mind and what people call ‘real' life, the life in social context". Gerda Lerner
The film features the last and only interview with Gerda Lerner before she died January 2013 and various interviews with some of her students and contemporary women scholars who pioneered the women's history field with her and who have been deeply impacted by her work.
The exploration of the film reaches back into the revolutionary awakening of women in the 20th century, and stretches into the 21st century with the question: what is next?
The film will be in German and Spanish and will also have Spanish sub-titles by autumn 2016 and it is planned to show it in various countries in South America as well. A Hebrew version is planned.
If you are interested/have ideas where the film could be shown or would like to show it in a small independent cinema near you, please let Renata know.