Ruth Leitman


Public bio

Ruth Leitman has made six feature documentaries through her company Ruthless Films and has received funding from Rockefeller Foundation, Paul Robeson Fund, TriBeCa Film Institute, Fledgling Fund and Illinois Humanities Council. Her film Alma (1998) won the Documentary Feature Jury Prize at Hamptons Film Festival, screened at IDFA, SXSW, DGA and Whitney Biennial. Premiering at Tribeca Film Festival and Hot Docs, Lipstick & Dynamite (2005) won the Documentary Storytelling Prize at Nantucket Film Festival; was released theatrically though Koch Lorber Films; and broadcast on SHOWTIME. Lipstick was featured on Jay Leno, Conan O’Brien and NPR’s Fresh Air and Morning Edition. She is currently developing a fiction TV series based on Lipstick for cable TV. Her film Tony & Janina’s American Wedding (2010) won the Chicago Jury Prize at Chicago International Film Festival, screened at the US Capitol, won several advocacy awards, was featured in the NYT International breaking news and yahoo homepage when the film’s subjects were reunited in America in 2011. She directed for the Kartemquin Films documentary series Hard Earned, which broadcast on Al Jazeera America in 2015.  Hard Earned was nominated for an International Documentary Association Award (2015) and earned a duPont Columbia University Award (2016).  Leitman is on the faculty at Columbia College Chicago in Cinema Art + Science, where she serves as the documentary coordinator.