Cliff Stern
Photo Credit: Everett Collection

Cliff Stern

Crimes and Misdemeanors

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About Him

Grew Up… an aspiring filmmaker. Cliff's never dreamed of being rich and famous, only of making important films about intelligent ideas and thinkers.

Living… far from his hopes. Stuck in an unsuccessful marriage with an unsuccessful career, Cliff is cajoled by his wife, Wendy, into helping her brother, wealthy television producer Lester, make a documentary about himself. Familiar with documentary filmmaking and desperate for the money, Cliff takes the job, even though he passionately despises Lester and his idiotic, arrogant. After finishing the project, Cliff intends to use the money to finish an important documentary about the optimistic philosopher, Louis Levy.

Profession… low-budget filmmaker. Cliff is more concerned with ideas than he is with cinematic filmmaking. He doesn't want to shock or awe the audience with sensationalism or sentimentality— just to spread ideas worth spreading.

Interests… philosophy, Chinese food, satire, and plagiarizing James Joyce in love letters.

Relationship Status… married, unhappily. Cliff’s marriage with Wendy is falling apart. When he meets Halley, Leter’s intelligent associate producer, Cliff begins wooing her by proving his superiority to Lester.

Challenge… succeeding in life and love. Both professionally and personally, Cliff has been getting the short end of the stick for quite some time now. He desperately wants to bring his personal film projects to fruition and, in turn, win over the heart of Halley, with whom he believes he could have a happy life.

Personality… intelligent, but neurotic and bitter. When Halley mentions that Lester is an American phenomenon, Cliff replies, “Yeah, but so is acid rain.” By turns envious and snobbish, Cliff can’t believe how the general public can buy into the mindless entertainment Lester produces. Still, Cliff has faith in the intelligent side of humanity, and does what he can to champion this dying way of life.

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