Michael Kleiman (C’06) Speaks About Documentary Filmmaking

Michael Kleiman (C’06), documentary filmmaker and Penn alumnus, returned to campus on Nov. 30 to speak to Amy Jordan’s COMM 125 class about the intersection of communication and policy issues.


Kleiman speaks to COMM 125 class.

Kleiman directed The Last Survivor and Web, both award-winning documentaries. The Last Survivor, Kleiman’s first film, chronicles the lives of survivors of four different genocides and mass atrocities. His second film, Web, examines the One Laptop Per Child project through the lens of a few villages in Peru.

Kleiman is also the founder and executive director of MediaTank, a production company specializing in content related to public policy and advocacy.

During her introduction of Kleiman, Jordan said, “We want Michael to share how his documentary talents and his policy interests came together because there is a very unique opportunity for communication, in this case documentary filmmaking, to convey really important issues.”

Kleiman discussed the making of Web, ethical issues facing documentarians, how to secure funding for projects, and where to find inspiration. He encouraged students to take advantage of any opportunity that presents itself for accomplishing their goals.

“What I love about documentary is the ability not just to tell someone about an issue but to show them the story,” Kleiman said.