Fonds F02286 - Richard Leiterman fonds

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Richard Leiterman fonds

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Fonds

Reference code

CA ON00239 F02286

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Issuing jurisdiction and denomination (philatelic)

Dates of creation area

Date(s)

  • 1961-2005 (Creation)
    Creator
    Leiterman, Richard

Physical description area

Physical description

1.2 m of textual records and other material

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Archival description area

Name of creator

(1935-2005)

Biographical history

Richard Leiterman b. April 7, 1935, South Porcupine, Ontario; d. July 14, 2005, Vancouver, British Columbia

Richard Leiterman was among the best and most famous of Canadian cinematographers. His early work at the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation and on such landmark low-budget documentary and feature films as Allan King’s A Married Couple (1969), Don Shebib’s Goin’ Down the Road (1970), Rip-Off (1971) and Between Friends (1972), and William Fruet’s Wedding in White (1972), virtually defined the look of early English-Canadian cinema – hand-held direct cinema shot with style, grace and sensitivity. In their book, "Richard Leiterman", Alison Reid and P.M. Evanchuk state that Leiterman’s career "has been so closely involved with the mainstream of Canadian filmmaking that his work is practically illustrative of its trends, its tendency towards fiction film with a solid base in the documentary tradition."

The youngest of six children (his older brother Douglas is an accomplished producer), Leiterman grew up in Northern Ontario and British Columbia and worked as a garbage collector, logger, tug-boat hand, beachcomber and truck driver. At the suggestion of King, who was his brother-in-law at the time, Leiterman enrolled in a summer extension course in camera technique at the University of British Columbia when he was in his early twenties. His instructor, Stanley Fox, would later remark to King that Leiterman, though only a beginner, "held the camera as though it had been in his hands his whole life."

After the course, Leiterman sold his car to buy a camera and began shooting stock footage and selling it to broadcasters. In 1961, King invited Leiterman to London to work as second camera operator on a film about the European Common Market, and in 1962 the two founded Allan King Associates to produce news films for television. Leiterman got a big break a year later when he was hired as a camera operator on the American South documentary, One More River, which was being produced and co-directed by his brother Douglas. Though hired as a second cameraman, Leiterman wound up shooting eighty percent of the film.

Leiterman’s contribution to A Married Couple was so significant that he was credited as the film’s associate director; he has, in fact, been consistently recognized worldwide as one of the top five cameramen of the direct cinema style. Elaborating on the relevance of Leiterman’s contribution to direct cinema, Reid noted how, while looking through the viewfinder, he will scan "the surroundings for additional pertinent material ... [enabling] ... an easy flow through space from one purposeful image to another so that the dynamics of the situation are incisively inscribed ... [Leiterman has] ... an appreciation for the wholeness of a subject."

Leiterman won a Canadian Film Award for Cinematography for his work on Joyce Wieland’s The Far Shore (1975) and a Genie Award for Best Cinematography for King’s Silence of the North (1981). In 2000, he received the Kodak New Century Award from the Canadian Society of Cinematographers. During the nineties, Leiterman primarily shot movies for American television and taught cinematography at Sheridan College in Toronto before retiring to Vancouver. He died at age 70 due to complications from the rare disease Amyloidoisos.

Custodial history

Scope and content

The fonds is comprised of films, videos, scripts, articles, correspondence, awards, mementos and posters created and/or received by Richard Leiterman in his professional life as a cinematographer. The fonds has been arranged into the following series: Correspondence/Articles; Dramatic Productions - Notes and Clippings; Working Scripts, Storyboards, Notes; Photographs; Memorabilia; Awards; Posters; and Film/Video.

Notes area

Physical condition

Immediate source of acquisition

Estate of Richard Leiterman, 2006.

Arrangement

The arrangement was imposed by the estate of Richard Leiterman prior to deposit at the Archives. This arrangement has been maintained.

Language of material

  • English

Script of material

Location of originals

(404) Map 1
F3 A3.9
Cold Storage
5043.7
MI 112
MI 144

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None

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Copyright restrictions apply.

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No further accruals are expected

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Location

  • Map cabinet: (404) Map 1
  • Shelf: F3 A3.9
  • Shelf: Cold Storage
  • Shelf: 5043.7
  • Shelf: MI 112
  • Shelf: MI 144