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Robbie Leppzer

Username
turntide
Website

Public bio

Robbie Leppzer is an award-winning independent documentary film director, director of photography, location sound recordist, and video editor who has directed over thirty television and public radio documentaries over the past forty years. His critically acclaimed feature-length and short documentaries, as well as commissioned television news magazine segments, about contemporary social issues have been broadcast by CNN International, NHK (Japan Broadcasting Corporation),Canadian Broadcasting Corporation, HBO/Cinemax, PBS, CNN, Sundance Channel, HDNet, Link TV, Free Speech TV, National Public Radio, and Pacifica Radio.


In addition, Leppzer works as a freelance news and documentary videographer and location sound recordist. His broadcast television videography clients include CNN, PBS, HBO, HDNet, CBC, Aljazeera, Bloomberg Television, NECN (New England Cable News Network), E! Entertainment, The Learning Channel, WashingtonPost.com, WGBH (PBS, Boston) and WGBY-TV (PBS, Springfield, MA). Since 1985, Leppzer has been director of Turning Tide Productions, an independent documentary video production company located in Wendell, Massachusetts.


“Filmmaker Robbie Leppzer is remarkably sensitive regarding the nuances of his subject matter and protagonists. The result is filmmaking that is both compelling and thought provoking.”
—Geoff Gilmore, Director, Sundance Film Festival


BROADCAST TELEVISION AND INDEPENDENT DOCUMENTARIES


POWER STRUGGLE
(86 minutes, color HD video, 2019) director, producer, videographer, editor, sound recordist. Filmed over five years, this feature-length documentary chronicles a heated political battle in Vermont to close one of America’s oldest nuclear power plants. Produced in association with NHK (Japan Broadcasting Corporation). A 50-minute Japanese version was co-produced and broadcast nationally by NHK in Japan in 2014. Nationally broadcast on Link TV andFree Speech TV.


“A genuine David vs. Goliath battle. A rich story of whether grassroots democracy can triumph over entrenched, powerful interests.”
—Steve Pfarrer, DAILY HAMPSHIRE GAZZETTE


THE PEACE PATRIOTS
(78 minutes, color video, 2005) director, producer, videographer, editor, sound recordist.
An intimate portrait of American dissenters reflecting on their personal participation as engaged citizens in a time of war. The film follows a diverse group of individuals, ranging in age from 14 to 75, including teenagers, college students, war veterans, teachers, clergy, and community activists, as they take part in vigils, marches, theater performances, and civil disobedience sit-ins to protest the U.S. invasion and on-going military occupation of Iraq. Featuring music by Steve Earle, Pete Seeger, Ani DiFranco, Billy Bragg, Jonatha Brooke and John Sheldon. Narrated by Janeane Garofalo. Nationally broadcast on Free Speech TV.


“In a time of sadness, thinking of the dead and maimed on both sides, this film gives us hope and inspiration. I hope it will be shown widely.”
—Howard Zinn, Author of A PEOPLE’S HISTORY OF THE UNITED STATES


AN ACT OF CONSCIENCE
(90 minutes, color video, 1997) director, producer, videographer, editor, sound recordist.
Filmed in a cinema-verité style over a five-year period, this feature-length documentary chronicles the story of a family in western Massachusetts whose home was seized by federal marshals and IRS agents after they publicly refused to pay federal taxes as a protest against war and military spending. Narrated by actor Martin Sheen. Produced in association with HBO/Cinemax. World Premiere, 1997 Sundance Film Festival. Nationally broadcast on Cinemax, Sundance Channel, Link TV, and Free Speech TV.


“AN ACT OF CONSCIENCE is one of the most deeply moving films I’ve seen in years. Seeing this movie lifts your spirits, exhilarates, and offers hope.”
—Studs Terkel, Author of WORKING, HARD TIMES, and THE GOOD WAR


“A balanced riveting story.”
—Renee Graham, BOSTON GLOBE


COLUMBUS DIDN’T DISCOVER US
(24 minutes, color video, 1992) director, co-producer, videographer, co-editor, sound recordist. Indigenous people from North, South and Central America speak out about the impact of the Columbus legacy—past and present—on their lives. Produced in English and Spanish versions. Broadcast by WGBH (PBS, Boston, MA). Nationally broadcast on Free Speech TV. Excerpts nationally broadcast on PBS.


“This moving video offers an alternative view of Columbus’s place (or misplace) in history, seen through the eyes of Native Americans. A telling video, straight from the heart and the source.” —Steve Garbarino, BILLBOARD.


HARVEST OF PEACE
(29 minutes, color 16mm, 1985) director, videographer, editor, sound recordist.
U.S. volunteers travel to a war zone in Nicaragua during the height of the U.S.-backed Contra war in the mid-1980s to harvest cotton in a unique citizen-to-citizen peace effort. Produced in English and Spanish versions. World premiere, 1985 Telluride Film Festival. Best Nonfiction Film, 1986San Antonio Cine Festival. Curator’s Choice, 1987 New England Film Festival. Broadcast by WGBY-TV (PBS, Springfield, MA). Nationally broadcast on Free Speech TV.


“A striking evocation of Nicaragua’s struggle and a moving expression of America’s best response.”
—Andrew Kopkind, THE NATION


SEABROOK 1977
(87 minutes, b/w video, 1978) co-director/producer/videographer, editor, sound recordist.
A chronicle of a seminal event of 1970s’ environmental activism when 1,414 people were arrested in a civil disobedience protest at a nuclear power plant under construction in Seabrook, New Hampshire and jailed en masse in National Guard armories for two weeks. Broadcast by WGBY-TV (PBS, Springfield, MA).


“SEABROOK 1977 is an invaluable historical document. The film manages to capture not only the sights of an extraordinary action, but the voices of ordinary people expressing their most personal feelings about one of the critical issues of our time.”
—Howard Zinn, Author of A PEOPLE’S HISTORY OF THE UNITED STATES