X

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 Short
Drama, Experimental

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

112%

This project got the green light!

Nonprofit Web Series

Portland Series
Comedy, Drama

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

106%

This project got the green light!

Childish Things

Los Angeles Short
Drama

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

98%

This project got the green light!

Last Night of Normal

Seattle Short
Drama, Family

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

118%

This project got the green light!

Mama Drama

Fairfield Short
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.

102%

This project got the green light!

Lady Parts Justice in The New World Order

Chicago Feature
Comedy, Documentary

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

105%

This project got the green light!

Me, My Mom & Sharmila - From Stage to Screenplay

Chicago Feature
Comedy, Drama

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

111%

This project got the green light!

Panthera Leo

Minneapolis Feature
Thriller, Drama

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

82%

This project got the green light!

The Empty

New York Short
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.

82%

This project got the green light!

An Act of Terror

Charlotte Short
Drama, History

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

150%

This project got the green light!

If Only

New York Short
Drama

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

131%

This project got the green light!

Pay to Stay

New York Short
Horror, LGBTQ

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

82%

This project got the green light!

Sylphvania Grove

New York Short
Adventure, Fantasy

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

210%

This project got the green light!

Streetlights

Los Angeles Short
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.

89%

This project got the green light!

Butterflies

New York Short
Drama

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

102%

This project got the green light!

Commercial for the Queen of Meatloaf

Baltimore Short
Experimental

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

84%

This project got the green light!

Welcome Home

Albany Series
Comedy

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

80%

This project got the green light!

THOSE PEOPLE: A Love Story

Los Angeles Feature
Drama, Romance

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

105%

This project got the green light!

The Last Partera

Durham Feature
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.

106%

This project got the green light!

The Hitchhiker's Guide to Suburbia

Dallas Short
Comedy, Teen

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

146%

This project got the green light!

e.ro.sion, noun

Jersey City Short
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.

103%

This project got the green light!

American Trial

New York Feature
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.

102%

This project got the green light!

Consexual

Bozeman Short
Documentary

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

129%

This project got the green light!

Hide and Seek

Washington Short
Drama, Sci-Fi

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

130%

This project got the green light!

LULU

Los Angeles Short
Drama, LGBTQ

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

111%

This project got the green light!

Women's March - a documentary by TrimTab Media

San Francisco Short
Action, Documentary

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

108%

This project got the green light!

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

Los Angeles Series
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!

88%

This project got the green light!

The Last Clinics

McAllen Series
Documentary

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

100%

This project got the green light!

Half the Picture

Los Angeles Feature
Documentary

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

82%

This project got the green light!

F*ck Yes Series

Los Angeles Series
Romance, Comedy

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

133%

This project got the green light!

ctrl alt delete

Los Angeles Series
Comedy, Drama

A scripted ensemble dramedy based on nine real abortion stories

92%

This project got the green light!

Risking Light

Saint Paul Feature
Documentary

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

100%

This project got the green light!

Inner U Diagnosed?

Bethany Feature
Documentary

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

84%

This project got the green light!

Overland: A Documentary Experience

Durham Feature
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.

102%

This project got the green light!

Keep the Change

Feature
Romantic Comedy

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

106%

This project got the 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.

103%

This project got the green light!

Olympic Pride, American Prejudice

Atlanta Feature
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.

80%

This project got the green light!

Actress

Feature
Documentary

A film about starring in the movie of your life.

100%

This project got the green light!

The Dog

New York Feature
Documentary

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

80%

This project got the green light!

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

Brooklyn Feature
Documentary

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

81%

This project got the 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.

104%

This project got the green light!

Homemade

Atlanta
Documentary

81%

This project got the green light!

Sending to: 112 supporters

Add attachment (2MB filesize limit)

Your message has been sent!

Hi there! We're excited for you to send your first message.

Just a reminder, use messaging respectfully and appropriately. As a community of filmmakers and film lovers, we're here to tell stories, expand imaginations, build bridges and deepen empathy. Like everything on our platform, be supportive, create healthy debate, never get nasty and definitely don't spam. To use Seed&Spark, you agree to abide by our Code of Conduct.

Are you sure you want to delete this draft? There's no undo button!

The draft has been successfully deleted!

Ok

Hiding your project will prevent it from being viewed on the site or showing in search results on the web. Please note that it can take up to a week or two for Google to stop surfacing the page in search results. Anyone that clicks through before then will see the not found page.

Unhiding your project will allow it to be viewed on the site and show in search results on the web. Please note that it can take up to a week or two for Google to start surfacing the page again in search results.

Terms

>

Basic Info

Before we get started, please confirm the following:

By starting a project you agree to Seed&Spark’s Site Guidelines.

Terms

>

Basic Info

Cancel


Saved to Watchlist

Way to go, you just added something to your watchlist for the first time! You can find and view your watchlist at anytime from your profile.

Pay what you can.

Watch wild and wonderful movies and shows from independent filmmakers and get a new handpicked playlist every month.

Subscribe to Seed&Spark

Watch

Fund