Peter Stein

Director
I have always felt that it was entrusted to me to keep my father’s name from being forgotten. A pioneering street photographer in Paris in the 1930s and New York in the 1940s, Fred Stein had the misfortune to die young, before photography was recognized as an art form, and so his work was neglected. But I have always known that his photographs are important, and deserve a place in art history. Now that I am established in my life and my career as a Director of Photography who has shot films for the major studios and TV networks, and as a former professor of cinematography in the Graduate Film Program at New York University for almost fifteen years, I have the knowledge and means to achieve this goal. Together with my wife Dawn Freer an accomplished writer and film editor we have brought his work before the public again and have attained success in introducing him to the art world. We feel that the way that he lived his life is an invaluable story, full of historical drama and psychological depth. He went through terrible ordeals – fleeing the Nazis, nearly losing his life several times, living in exile, poverty, hardship – and yet he responded by making timeless art. He always kept an optimistic and humorous outlook. He was kind, and fought for the common man. His examples are inspiring more and more, the more we learn about him. We made this film in order to introduce not only the photographs, but also the man, to the world. The photographs, which are beautiful, and the man, who was special from his beginnings in Dresden, Germany. I have travelled to Dresden, as the place of my father’s, and my mother’s birth, many times in my quest to complete this story, and have many friends and connections there. My mother’s house, the Villa Salzburg, was one of the few houses left intact after the firebombing of the war. My father’s dramatic life is told through the first person perspective, illustrated with archival film and period music and personal photographs, and given his character by the in- depth performance of the multi lingual actor Mark Waschke reading my father’s actual words from his writings, showing his unique voice. This is also the case of Lilo Stein my mother, acted by the brilliant German-American actress Barbara Sukowa with words taken from writings as well as past interviews. The film is a multi-layered documentary. There are three threads: it tells the story of Fred Stein, from a first person perspective. Set against that is the journey of Peter Stein who brings the work to the art world. This strand is told by Peter himself, who is a warm and intimate raconteur. Curators, dealers, gallery owner, collectors, buyers, and ordinary people give us commentary. Peter’s story also uses archival and modern footage. A third element weaves though the two stories together, set off against the biographical background in all their brilliance: the photographs. These are really the star of the show. Each time the photographs come on the screen in a montage, set to music, it lifts the narrative and shows us what it’s all about. We titled the film “Out of Exile” because we feel it is not only the story of my father and his journey through two new countries to find a permanent home, and the current

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