Jenny Kleiman's great great great great grandfather won the Dock Street Theatre in a poker game and donated it to the city.
That's how steeped in Charleston's history she is.
With that said, she was born in New York City. Moved to Charleston at six, and split her time between cities and parents until 2005 when she left for film school.
Jenny is this wonderful, progressive female director hybrid of the two cities. She wears red lipstick to meet you for a dirty martini and boots on set. Smokes a cigarette while telling you the history of the oldest Jewish temple on the East Coast.
"It's taken me to 26 to realize that is one of the things that make me who I am: my roots are scattered, and that makes me more interesting."
She's tried to get away. After school, she moved to L.A., and while her first job was working with the Coppolas, she decided the city wasn't for her. That was resumé, not happiness.
So she left. June to January, she was in her car, driving around the country, never staying more than 10 days in the same place.
"While it sounds very romantic, it was a lot less On the Road and a lot more, 'Who am I and what am I doing with my life?'"
She ended up back in Charleston and was shocked how it had grown and changed.
"I've lived in New York. I've lived Los Angeles. I've lived in the two biggest cities for film making, and all that I really wanted was a city with the desire to grow and the desire to be a cultural epicenter, not somewhere so established." This is how Jenny can raise questions about gender in film, and how she will hopefully make it to a goal, Sundance.
Travel alone never answered her questions, because Jenny's insight reminded her, "You always take you with you." She has decided that she needed all that experience for her art and to realize that Charleston is where she wants to create said art. She's a Charlestonian. She remains edgy, but respectful.
"I took off across the United States trying to find a place that had all of those things, and my grandfather said it best, in his old, awesome Spartanburg accent: ‘I was going to look all over the place for the end of the rainbow, and meanwhile, it was right here in Charleston.’"
Words by: Elizabeth Bowers
Photography by: Sully Sullivan