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Hey, I'm Ruth!

Chicago, Illinois

Ruth Leitman-Writer/Director

Ruth Leitman has a BFA in Film and Photography from University of the Arts in Philadelphia. Through her company Ruthless Films, she has directed six feature length documentary films that have received funding from Rockefeller Foundation, Paul Robeson Fund, TriBeCa Film Institute, Fledgling Fund and Illinois Humanities Council. Her films focus on women and those whose lives have faced a lack of opportunity, but who are survivors.

Leitman’s Southern Gothic film Alma (1998), won the Documentary Feature Jury Prize at Hamptons Film Festival, screened at International Documentary Film Festival Amsterdam, South by Southwest, Director’s Guild of America and the Whitney Biennial. Her film Lipstick & Dynamite (2005) premiered at TriBeCa Film Festival and Hot Docs. It won the Documentary Storytelling Prize at Nantucket Film Festival, was released theatrically by Koch Lorber Films and broadcast on SHOWTIME. Lipstick was featured on Jay Leno, Conan O’Brien and NPR’s Fresh Air and Morning Edition. Leitman wrote Fordson, which has garnered numerous festival awards. Most recently Tony & Janina’s American Wedding (2010) an immigration story, premiered at Chicago International Film Festival winning a Jury Prize. The film won several advocacy awards after it became a clear agent for change, after the film’s subjects were reunited in the US in August 2011.

In the summer of 2009, Leitman’s first documentary Wildwood, NJ. (1994) became a youtube viral hit. With over a millions views, featured on several best of year-end lists, hundreds of blogs including: Jezebel, Urban Outfitters, G4’s Attack of the Show, VH-1’s Best Week Ever, the film became a symbol of ‘90’s zeitgeist girl culture. It was appropriated and reused in pop culture media from the fashion runways of Milan to music videos of Lana Del Rey.  Wildwood was invited to screen at Hot Doc’s fifteen-year anniversary festival in 2013. Wildwood was featured in British Film Institute, Sight and Sound Magazine’s- The Female Gaze: 100 Overlooked Films Directed by Women. http://www.bfi.org.uk/news-opinion/sight-sound-magazine/october-2015-issue which sparked a tour of the UK over the summer of 2016.

Leitman’s freelance clients include: The Redwalls, Neko Case, Ronald McDonald House, Safe Humane Chicago, American Trial Lawyers Association, Sallie Mae Student Loans, Illinois Caucus for Adolescent Health and Fair Wisconsin. Early work as a photographer includes: Rolling StoneSPINEsquireWorking MotherNewsweek, Outkast, Black Crowes, REM and Indigo Girls. Her work is a part of the permanent collections at the High Museum of Art and the Georgia Museum of Contemporary Art.

Leitman is a director on the documentary series Hard Earned produced by Kartemquin Films, which aired on Al Jazeera America in 2015. Hard Earned was nomintaed for an International Documentary Association Award and won an Alfred I. Dupont Columbia University Journalism Award in 2016.

She is currently in development on the 1950’s fiction feature film, The Pin-Down Girl, about the pioneers of women’s wrestling.

Leitman is on the faculty at Columbia College Chicago.

My Projects

Projects I'm Supporting

Self Portrait

New York • Drama, Experimental

A young woman reflects on the authenticity of her parents marriage in a staged dinner scene revealing three individual perspectives.


Green Light

Nonprofit Web Series

Portland • Comedy, Drama

A girl on a mission in America's whitest city.


Green Light

Childish Things

Los Angeles • Drama

A terminally ill father enlists the aid of two unique friends from the past to reconnect with his estranged daughter.


Green Light

Last Night of Normal

Seattle • Drama, Family

A young woman struggles to discover what truly matters to her after receiving a terminal diagnosis.


Green Light

Mama Drama

Fairfield • Comedy, Drama

A suburban mom has a falling out with her friends via text messages. It takes her 10-year-old daughter to remind of what really matters.


Green Light

Lady Parts Justice in The New World Order

Chicago • Comedy, Documentary

Lizz Winstead's band of Merry Pranksters defends reproductive rights in this documentary by award-winning filmmaker Ruth Leitman.


Green Light

Me, My Mom & Sharmila - From Stage to Screenplay

Chicago • Comedy, Drama

An intergenerational story of three South Asian women, a daughter, her mother & a Bollywood icon, whose destinies collide.


Green Light

Panthera Leo

Minneapolis • Thriller, Drama

When her older brother is murdered, a young girl sets out on her own to find his killer.


Green Light

The Empty

New York • Drama

Maura, a 10 year old girl, feels her mother, Patricia, drifting away. Maura takes the advice of a mysterious man to make Patricia happy.


Green Light

An Act of Terror

Charlotte • Drama, History

The true story of Virginia Christian, a 16-year-old African American girl accused of murder in the Jim Crow South.


Green Light

If Only

New York • Drama

On the day before she moves into hospice, Vera's three children show her the time of her life.


Green Light

Pay to Stay

New York • Horror, LGBTQ

A couple take a mini-vacation to repair their relationship, unaware the AirBNB they rented may lead to their untimely end.


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Sylphvania Grove

New York • Adventure, Fantasy

A troubled girl follows a magical being into the woods where her fears take on fantastical forms.


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Streetlights

Los Angeles • Drama, Fantasy

A runaway 10-year-old kid meets a troubled teenager and street performer who teaches him some truths about life and survival in the streets.


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Butterflies

New York • Drama

Butterflies is a dark look at the psychological affects of bullying on Melanie as she navigates her way through high school.


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Commercial for the Queen of Meatloaf

Baltimore • Experimental

In a surrealist take on a 1950s commercial, a housewife attempts to spice up her marriage by preparing a delicious meatloaf for dinner.


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Welcome Home

Albany • Comedy

When life handed them lemons, they moved back home with their parents.


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THOSE PEOPLE: A Love Story

Los Angeles • Drama, Romance

Taylor and Mehran meet, and fall in love despite their cultural differences, but their bliss is threatened when family tensions escalate.


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The Last Partera

Durham • Documentary

A 95-year-old midwife passes on her wisdom to a new generation of Costa Rican women fighting for their right to choose how they give birth.


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The Hitchhiker's Guide to Suburbia

Dallas • Comedy, Teen

Because why hire a limo for prom when you can risk your life for a free ride?


Green Light

e.ro.sion, noun

Jersey City • Romance, Sci-Fi

Following the ending of a relationship, a girl slips into a parallel reality where her heart and soul slowly disappear before her eyes.


Green Light

American Trial

New York • Documentary, Experimental

What if the NYPD was put on trial following the death of Eric Garner? Our Film tells the tale of the trial that never was.


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Consexual

Bozeman • Documentary

Consexual will comment on the status of rape culture at MSU Bozeman, show the resources available and that there is hope for survivors.


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Hide and Seek

Washington • Drama, Sci-Fi

An indie rock musician turned stay-at-home dad makes an impulsive wish, propelling him into an alternate reality.


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LULU

Los Angeles • Drama, LGBTQ

"I'm often silent when I'm screaming inside."


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Women's March - a documentary by TrimTab Media

San Francisco • Action, Documentary

On January 21, 2017, millions of women came together in solidarity to march in cities across America.


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Her-POW! New Adventures of Vintage Comic Book Heroines!

Los Angeles • Action, Other

All new live-action adventures from 3 heroines from the Golden Age of comic books: The Woman in Red, The Veiled Avenger, and Ghost Woman!


Green Light

The Last Clinics

McAllen • Documentary

"The Last Clinics" follows abortion clinics and communities at the center of the battle against reproductive rights.


Green Light

Half the Picture

Los Angeles • Documentary

HALF THE PICTURE is a feature documentary about working women directors in Hollywood.


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F*ck Yes Series

Los Angeles • Romance, Comedy

F*ck Yes! is what affirmative consent sounds like. Sex made hotter. SoSFW (sort of Safe For Work.)


Green Light

ctrl alt delete

Los Angeles • Comedy, Drama

A scripted ensemble dramedy based on nine real abortion stories


Green Light

Risking Light

Saint Paul • Documentary

A mother embraces her child’s killer. A torture survivor ponders revenge. What is harder, or more crucial, than forgiving the unforgivable?


Green Light

Inner U Diagnosed?

Bethany • Documentary

IUD horror stories flood social media with side-effect forums and self-removal videos raising concerns about the device's actual safety.


Green Light

Overland: A Documentary Experience

Durham • Adventure, Documentary

Enter the wild with our cast of falconers as they partner with their birds of prey to hunt in some of the world's most majestic landscapes.


Green Light

Keep the Change

• Romantic Comedy

A young man struggling to hide his autism falls in love with a young woman who challenges his desire to appear ‘normal’.


Green Light

"Slut: A Documentary Film"

• Documentary

Sharing personal stories to explore how we can work toward a world that embraces female sexuality and supports victims of sexual assault.


Green Light

Olympic Pride, American Prejudice

Atlanta • Documentary

In 1936 when 18 Black athletes participated in the Berlin Olympic Games, history forgot all except one. This is the story of the other 17.


Green Light

Actress

• Documentary

A film about starring in the movie of your life.


Green Light

The Dog

New York • Documentary

THE DOG is the story of John Wojtowicz, the real-life bank robber behind DOG DAY AFTERNOON.


Green Light

No Le Digas a Nadie (Don't Tell Anyone)

Brooklyn • Documentary

An undocumented youth fights for herself, her mother and her community to come out of the shadows.


Green Light

Seed&Spark's Seed&Spark!

New York • Other

It's not about fundraising, it's about filmmaking! Join the movement to shape the future of film.


Green Light

Homemade

Atlanta • Documentary


Green Light

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