LIVING HISTORY: History Is Where the Future Begins

: Documentary Feature
GENRE: Documentary
STATUS: Completed


A journey through the courageous life and work of Dr. Gerda Lerner, pioneer of women’s history.


Why Women Need to Climb Mountains (former working title Living History) – 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.

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.


Renata Keller - Executive Producer and Director

Renata Keller is a filmmaker, artist, and graphic designer based in Berlin and London. She has worked in visual arts for over twenty-five years and is the Director of Vertical Impulse, a graphic design, film production, and CEO of the German Magazin evolve ( Keller’s lifelong 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.

Kathy Bayer - Producer

Kathy began her career in publishing as an editor specializing in performing arts books at Doubleday & Co. She went on to hold several marketing and event production roles in nonprofit education. Later she established a music management and concert production company, 4th Dimension Productions, where she produced live and multi-media events. She is now Principal at KB Marketing Communications, where she consults in marketing strategy. Her interest in supporting women’s personal and professional growth led her to co-found the Evolving Women’s Alliance in 2011. 

Dr.Elizabeth Debold - Script Consultant

Elizabeth is a bestselling author  (Mother Daughter Revolution: From Good Girls to Great Women), transformative educator, keynote speaker and consultant, working at the forefront of gender and cultural evolution for over three decades. She has consulted to numerous films and television programs, as well as to foundations, nonprofit educational organizations, and businesses. She is the executive producer of A Seat at the Table, a documentary based on her work with girls at Miss Hall’s School in MA, released in Fall 2012. 

Judy Fox - Co-Producer and Research Manager

Judy has worked for the past twenty-five years managing graphic and interior design projects and overseeing print production of books and magazines. Her longstanding love of art, film, and history, as well as her passion for women’s growth and transformation, have led her to in-depth study in these areas. Introduced to Gerda Lerner’s work several years ago, Judy recognized the importance of documenting her life and work and now lends her research skills to the project.


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UPDATE - February 25, 2016

The film Why Women Need to Climb Mountains – a journey through the life and work of Dr. Gerda Lerner is almost ready for showing in German and English and later this year in Spanish. A Hebrew version is planned.
The film has been sent to various film festivals in the USA and Europe and I am working on the premieres in Germany, Austria, Switzerland, UK and the States as well as how and with whom to distribute the film.

UPDATE - September 16, 2014

We're very happy to be awarded grants this year from both Austria and the US. We are now raising funds to complete post-production and launching a crowdfunding campaign on Indiegogo this month. 

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