After graduating in film from San Francisco State University, Claudine Stevens, whose Jewish family roots go back to 19th century gold rush days in California, relocated to Jerusalem. She lived there for five years while working as an assistant film editor and researcher/manuscript editor at Hebrew University, where she pursued Jewish and Middle East Studies. Upon returning to California, Claudine worked for Francis Coppola’s Zoetrope Studios, DreamWorks, and Fox in Development and Post-Production.
Her love of film and education and experience in the medium led her on an investigative path which helped her create, along with Cecilia Peck, Gentleman’s Agreement: Hollywood’s Stand Against Anti-Semitism. While researching this presentation, which she and Cecilia have given at the Hollywood Heritage Museum and 20th Century Fox Studios, Claudine found and interviewed one of the European refugees whom Laura Z. Hobson, the future author of Gentleman’s Agreement, worked to bring to the U.S. Just before the start of World War II, Laura overcame many obstacles in achieving asylum in this country for refugee Verena Sterba, her parents and her younger sister. From the now 81-year-old Mrs. Verena Michaels, Claudine gained added insight into the author’s determined personality, integrating that knowledge into the presentation.
Claudine uses her research and unique and effective storytelling style to weave a vibrant picture of historical events and the environments from which they emerge. Using a PowerPoint with visuals, she brings to life the authentic stories of those involved in the creation of the film and presents audiences with compelling insights into anti-Semitism, history in general, and in particular, a Hollywood impacted by a changing Production Code, new legislation, and the Blacklist.