Richard Leiterman

Richard Leiterman

Richard Leiterman
Born (1935-03-07)March 7, 1935
South Porcupine, Ontario, Canada
Died July 14, 2005(2005-07-14) (aged 70)
Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada
Nationality Canadian

Richard Leiterman (March 7, 1935 – July 14, 2005) was a well-known Canadian cinematographer,[1] best known for documentary and feature film work in the 1960s and 1970s. His cinéma vérité, or direct camera, style helped define Canadian cinema at the time.


Born in the small town of South Porcupine[2] in northern Ontario in 1935, Leiterman grew up in Vancouver, where he spent his young years working as a waste collector, beachcomber and truck driver. During his mid-20's, he was encouraged by his brother-in-law, Allan King, to take a camera technician course at the University of British Columbia.

Leiterman took to the film camera like a natural. He sold his car to buy a 16mm camera, and proceeded to shoot stock footage, which he then sold to Canadian broadcasters like the CBC. Hired by Allan King as a second camera operator on a documentary, Leiterman went to London and, in 1962, co-founded Allan King Associates with him. The company focussed on news-related filmmaking. In 1963, Leiterman went to the Southern U.S. to shoot One More River, a look at racism in America. Over the next few years, his documentary work took him around the world.

In 1969, Leiterman shot the Allan King-produced A Married Couple, which was featured at the Director's Fortnight at Cannes in 1970. Leiterman next began a series of collaborations with famed Canadian director Donald Shebib, starting with the Canadian classic Goin' Down the Road (1970), and followed by Between Friends (1973) and Wedding In White (1972). Leiterman used his documentary experience to provide a cinéma vérité look to his work.

Leiterman continued to shoot a variety of material over the following three decades, from Canadian features such as My American Cousin (1985) to American made-for-TV movies such as Stephen King's It (1990). His cinematography work earned him a Canadian Film Award (1975) a Genie Award, (1981), three Emmy Awards, and, in 2000, the Kodak New Century Award.

During the late 1990s, Leiterman shot the Canadian TV series Cold Squad. He taught cinematography for a brief time in the Advanced TV & Film program and Media Arts program at Sheridan College in Oakville, Ontario, then finally retired.

Leiterman died on July 14, 2005 at age 70 due to complications from a rare disease called Amyloidosis.


  1. Reid, Alison (1978). Richard Leiterman. Canadian Film Series. Canadian Film Institute. p. 120. ISBN 0919096026.
  2. "Trial by fire, an interview with Richard Leiterman", Take One (Canadian film magazine), 2002, retrieved 2014-04-01
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