Ruth Leitman
Ruthleitmandirector headshot 2023

Leitman is an award-winning filmmaker recognized for highlighting social justice issues in feature documentaries over the past 20 years, with the support of the Rockefeller Foundation, Paul Robeson Fund, Tribeca Film Institute, Fledgling Fund, and Illinois Humanities Council. In 2016 she was named in the British Film Institute, Sight and Sound Magazine’s The Female Gaze: 100 Overlooked Films Directed by Women. In 2015, she directed for Kartemquin Films’ Al Jazeera America documentary series Hard Earned, which was nominated for an International Documentary Association Award (2015) and won an Alfred I. duPont Columbia University Journalism Award (2016). Premiering at Tribeca Film Festival and Hot Docs, Lipstick & Dynamite (2005) won the Documentary Storytelling Prize at Nantucket Film Festival; was broadcast on SHOWTIME and featured on Jay Leno, Conan O’Brien and NPR’s Fresh Air and Morning Edition. Her immigration film Tony & Janina’s American Wedding (2010) premiered at the Chicago International Film Festival and won a jury prize as well as several social justice awards. Alma (1998) won the Documentary Feature Jury Prize at the Hamptons Film Festival and screened at IDFA, SXSW, Director’s Guild of America, and Whitney Biennial. Wildwood, NJ (1994) has enjoyed a second life as a viral film since 2009 and screened at Hot Doc’s fifteen-year anniversary festival in 2013. Her early photography work is part of the current major exhibition, Underexposed.