Vivian Kleiman

Independent Films

Independent Films

No Straight Lines

(2021) Director/Producer
A mash-up of art, humor, and history, No Straight Lines tells the remarkable stories of five scrappy and pioneering comic book artists who broke the doors open and made LGBTQIA+ lives visible.
● Tribeca Film Festival (New York) World Premiere
● Outfest (Los Angeles) Grand Jury Prize, Best Feature-Length Documentary Film
● NLGJA: The Association of LGBTQ+ Journalists Award for Excellence in Journalism – Documentary Film

“A rich tapestry of interwoven voices and images”

— The Guardian (on No Straight Lines)

“…tells a wider and deeper tale about the power of seeing one’s experience represented… Kleiman made the artwork itself the star of film.”

— San Francisco Chronicle (on No Straight Lines)

Last Day of Freedom

(2018) Executive Producer
(Co-Director/Producers Dee Hibbert-Jones & Nomi Talisman)
Stories from families struggling to manage feelings of shock, shame and fear after their loved ones were accused of a capital crime. Innocent family members trying to see the truth and understand what went wrong. Perspectives that are rarely, if ever heard.
● Academy Award Nomination

“The [screening and post-screening talkback] demonstrated the power of queer storytelling to build community, dispel shame, and create connection through difference…PEN America was honored to elevate those voices and stories in a moment when they are absolutely necessary.”

— William Johnson, Director, PEN Across America

Color Adjustment

(1992) Producer & Research Director
(Director/Producer Marlon Riggs)
Traces 40 years of race relations and the representation of African Americans through the lens of prime-time television entertainment, scrutinizing television’s racial myths.
● George Foster Peabody Award
● National Emmy Award, Nomination, Outstanding Individual Achievement in Research
● National PBS Broadcast: P.O.V.
● Eric Barnouw Award, Organization of American Historians

“If we wanted a real dialogue about race in America, we’d start with this film.”

— Bill Moyers, Social Commentator (speaking about Forgotten Fires, Broadcast on National PBS Primetime Independent Lens, won top prize at Heartland Film Festival, NAACP prize)

Roam Sweet Home

(1996) Co-Producer
(Director Ellen Spiro)

A humorous road trip with aging roamers and loners-on-wheels who live on the road full time due to economic necessity, pleasure, or both.

● National Owl Award, American Association of Retired Persons (AARP)
● Grand Prize, Big Muddy Film Festival

My Body’s My Business

(1992) Director/Producer
Examines the impact of the AIDS Crisis on street prostitutes. The video features several prostitutes and ex-prostitutes who tell their stories about keeping safe on the streets with their “dates” and at home with their boyfriends. It’s a story of women becoming empowered to gain a voice in all aspects of their lives. Noted by the National Women’s Health Network as “the most respectful of women of any AIDS video,” and screened at the Museum of Modern Art in NY, Whitney Museum, and cited as one of the 12 top AIDS videos created in the previous 5 years.

Tongues Untied

(1989) Additional Cinematographer
(Director/Producer Marlon Riggs)
An essay film that gives voice to black gay men as they confront racism, homophobia, and marginalization. It broke new artistic ground by mixing poetry, music, performance and Riggs’ autobiographical revelations. Lauded by critics for its vision and its bold aesthetic advances and vilified by anti-gay forces. The film was added to the Library of Congress National Film Registry in 2022.

“An exploration that rises above the ‘deeply personal’ — far above it —of what it means to be black and gay. Angry, funny, erotic and poetic by turns (and sometimes all at once), it jumps from interview to confession, music video to documentary to poem”.

— Craig Seligman, San Francisco Examiner (about Tongues Untied)