Category Archives: Feature Film

Hard-Earned

Hard Earned, a six-part documentary series for Al Jazeera America, puts aside economic debates and follows five families around the country to find out what it takes to get by on eight, ten or even 15 dollars an hour. The series turns an intimate lens on this group of 21st century American dreamers. They fight against all odds to thrive, when it takes everything they have to simply survive.

Hard Earned Trailer:

Official Hard Earned Websites:
HardEarnedSeries.com
Aljazeera America
Hard Earned at Kartemquin

Recent Media Coverage:
PBS POV Blog: ‘Hard Earned’ Shows the Challenges of Making a Living and a Life
New York Times: ‘Hard Earned’ Documents the Plight of the Working Poor

Lipstick & Dynamite

Watch Full Film on Vimeo On Demand →


Buy Lipstick & Dynamite on DVD:


home use/ educational use



Here’s what the critics say about LIPSTICK & DYNAMITE:

“Exhilarating…riotous…endlessly entertaining.”
-Ken Tucker- NEW YORK MAGAZINE

“Smart … terrific … spirited tough old broads as they look back on their years in the ring when they pulverized the Donna Reed stereotype…”
-David Rooney- VARIETY

“Utterly enthralling… the first film ever to appeal to feminist study groups and Hulk Hogan fans alike.”
– BLENDER MAGAZINE

“These are Golden Girls gone wild!”
-NEW YORK OBSERVER

“They went to the mat, literally, for gender equality.”
-“O” MAGAZINE

“Leitman has captured for the ages a piece of feminist history in danger of disappearing forever.”
-BUST MAGAZINE

“Highly entertaining”
-HOLLYWOOD REPORTER

“Entertaining and bittersweet.”
– LOS ANGELES DAILY NEWS

“DYNAMITE!”
-ATLANTA JOURNAL & CONSTITUTION

“It’s totally slammin’!”
-E ONLINE

“Gutsy… seize the day… glorious.”
-SLATE

“Lipstick & Dynamite affirms Leitman’s status as a Diane Arbus with a movie camera and a feminist edge.”
-CREATIVE LOAFING ATLANTA WEEKLY.

Visit Lipstick & Dynamite web site

Welcome to Anatevka

Watch Full Film on Vimeo On Demand →

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

Watch Full Film on Vimeo On Demand →

Buy DVD

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.

ALMA-W_-CANE0004

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.

alma_laurels

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

alma_v1f

Wildwood, NJ


Watch Full Film on Vimeo On Demand →

This film takes you down the shore with an all-women crew to Wildwood, NJ, the last great American blue-collar seaside carnival town. Wildwood, NJ moves beyond gum-cracking, big hair, and press-on nails to look into the souls of women raised on the boardwalks rides, lights and come-ons.

Grandmothers and go-go girls; girls who work as vampires in boardwalk haunted houses. Tween girls stretching out on their first trip without their parents: young, rangy a little drunk on Bud, dukes up, nose open, with a couppla’ bucks to burn.

A Wildwood honeymoon, virginity lost to a boardwalk stranger, fistfights, madness, babies—and no matter what—returning to Wildwood year after year as they grow up and grow old.

This film was shot in 1994 on Super-8 film and synched frame by frame in the early days of non-linear editing.

  • Color
  • Super-8 Film
  • Aspect Ratio 4:3
  • Stereo
  • Not Rated
  • Original Release 1994; DVD 2009
  • Running time: 60:00

WildwoodDVD_OutCover