Lisa Leeman

Lisa Leeman believes that films can change the world, one story at a time, by generating empathy, dismantling stereotypes, and building cultural bridges. Leeman has produced, directed, written & edited award-winning documentaries for the last twenty-five years. Her work illuminates contemporary social issues through intimate character-driven stories. Roger Ebert named Leeman’s One Lucky Elephant as one of the best documentaries of 2011. She co-wrote, co-produced, and co-directed the award-winning documentary Awake, which screened theatrically for 48 weeks in the U.S. and in 17 countries internationally. Lisa’s work has been seen on screens around the world, including IDFA, PBS, HBO, ARTE, Channel 4. Awards include Sundance’s Filmmakers Trophy for her directorial debut, Metamorphosis: Man into Woman (POV, PBS, 1990), cited as the first American film to chronicle a gender transition, and an Emmy nomination for her short Fender Philosophers. Lisa is a member of the Academy of Motion Picture Arts & Sciences, and has served as a judge at the Sundance Film Festival and as president of the International Documentary Association. She is a Professor of Cinematic Arts at the University of Southern California and has taught master classes on documentary filmmaking in Azerbaijan, China, Jordan, Malawi, Portugal, the Republic of Georgia and the West Bank.

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