Author Archives: krystiank

Welcome to Anatevka

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Tradition is the central theme of the musical Fiddler on the Roof, but the production in Welcome to Anatevka is far from traditional. Filmmakers Ruth Leitman and James Jernigan go behind the scenes of auditions and rehearsals for a production of Fiddler at the Habima Theater of the Atlanta Jewish Community Center that features adult actors with developmental disabilities, high school students and theater professionals. Named for the village in which Fiddler is set, Welcome to Anatevka give us a new perspective on the craft of the theater and the lives of the disabled. Among the film’s strengths is that it shows disabled actors acting the same as other aspiring thespians-working to finesse their performances, fussing over being upstaged, and carrying on a backstage romantic triangle-without shying away from the realities of the actors disabilities, including hot tempers, intractable anxieties and difficult behavior. And it’s these fears and challenges that make the success of opening night all the sweeter.

A Film by Ruth Leitman and James Jernigan

  • 22 adult actors with developmental disabilities, 8 theater professionals,
  • 13 high school drama students,
  • 10 weeks until curtain. . .
  • Breakdowns, crushes, catfights, seizures… ‘Break a leg.’

Welcome to Anatevka.

Alma

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Home use/ educational use

Alma Thorpe’s bizarre views on sexuality, motherhood and mail order sweepstakes, make her a living, breathing shrine to Southern Gothic. In this intimate and darkly humorous film, director Ruth Leitman (Lipstick & Dynamite, Wildwood, NJ) follows Alma’s daughter Margie’s struggle with a mentally ill mother and an abusive alcoholic father. Framed by accusations of incest, Alma is an unflinching examination of family secrets and pain tangled up in love.

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Press Quotes

“A POTENTLY PERSONAL AND RAW PORTRAIT OF A PART OF AMERICA THAT IS TOO OFTEN REDUCED TO SIMPLE STEREOTYPES. RUTH LEITMAN HAS MADE A FILM THAT IS UTTERLY TRUE TO HER UNIQUE VISION.”
Steve James Director -HOOP DREAMS, STEVIE, AT THE DEATH HOUSE DOOR

COMPELLING ALMA BEARS WITNESS TO A SITUATION FOR WHICH THERE ARE NO EASY ANSWERS.”
Amy Taubin, The Village Voice.

“ENTHRALLING, DARKLY FUNNY, HORIFFYING AND HOPEFUL”
Maitland Mc Donagh, TV GUIDE On-line.

“THE DOCUMENTARY EQUIVALENT OF THE SOUTHERN GOTHIC NOVEL”.
Jonathan Foreman, The New York Post.

“A SEARING, SURPRISINGLY FUNNY, BEAUTIFULLY CRAFTED FAMILY MELODRAMA.”.
Felicia Feaster, Creative Loafing.

“ A PIECE OF DOCUMENTARY FILMMAKING SO POWERFUL, IT’S HARD TO THINK OF ANY FICTIONAL FILM TO RIVAL IT IN EMOTIONAL IMPACT.”
Malene Arpe, Eye, April 29th 1999 Toronto, Ontario.

“HILARIOUS AND HORRIFYING.”
Steve Murray, Atlanta Journal and Constitution.

“NO  BETTER EXAMPLE OF THE EMOTIONAL STRIDES DOCUMENTARY FILMMAKING HAS MADE IN THE PAST DECADE IS RUTH LEITMAN’S ALMA.”
Felicia Feaster, Art Papers

“IT’S AN EXPLORATION BY THE AUDIENCE, THE FILMMAKER AND THE SUBJECTS THEMSELVES OF A KIND YOU’VE NEVER QUITE SEEN IN A DOCUMENTARY BEFORE.”
Jerry Johnson, The Austin Chronicle.

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DVD Extras:

-Director’s Commentary
– Q&A with Ruth Leitman & Margie Thorpe at Indiana University
-Photo Gallery- Including production stills, and travelogue from Film festivals worldwide
-CNN Feature-American Voices- Alma premiere

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