Wildwood,NJ_5.jpg
 

WILDWOOD, NJ

Directed By Ruth Leitman

 

Wildwood,NJ received it's first UK screening at the Overnight Film Festival in February 2016.
We are excited to announce that this previously overlooked film will now be screening across seven UK venues this Summer.

 

Wildwood, NJ Trailer

Wildwood,New Jersey has long been the home of an annual summer migration for hundreds of thousands of holidaymakers heading to the beach. In 1992, Leitman and Cassidy, and an all-women crew, spent a summer with the girls of Wildwood. Through the gorgeous  sun-kissed pastel tones of their  Super 8 camera, they take us on the boardwalk, home to big hair, stonewash denim and sass. A collage of interviews lets us experience these girls’ summer flings, dreams, friendships  and fistfights, brilliantly interspersed with their older generation reminiscing about their own adolescent adventures and chastising the younger. Preceding its better-know reality TV counterpart, Leitman and Cassidy’s film is a testament to the beauty of simplicity, capturing a moment in time.  This portrait of youthful abandon and the magic of a summer was recently brought out of obscurity, 20 years  after its initial release, after clips posted online went viral, creating a new fanbase, including singer lana del Rey who appropriated its images for her videos.

Charlotte Cook, Sight & Sound’s feature ‘The Female Gaze: 100 Overlooked Films Directed by Women’ which ran in the September 2015 issue.

Ruth Leitman has a BFA in Film and Photography from University of the Arts in Philadelphia. Through her company Ruthless Films, she has directed six feature length documentary films that have received funding from Rockefeller Foundation, Paul Robeson Fund, TriBeCa Film Institute, Fledgling Fund and Illinois Humanities Council. Her films focus on women and those whose lives have faced a lack of opportunity, but who are survivors.

Leitman’s Southern Gothic film Alma (1998), won the Documentary Feature Jury Prize at Hamptons Film Festival, screened at International Documentary Film Amsterdam, South by Southwest, Director’s Guild of America and the Whitney Biennial. Her film Lipstick & Dynamite (2005) premiered at TriBeCa Film Festival and Hot Docs. It won the Documentary Storytelling Prize at Nantucket Film Festival, was released theatrically by Koch Lorber Films and broadcast on SHOWTIME. Lipstick was featured on Jay Leno, Conan O’Brien and NPR’s Fresh Air and Morning Edition. Leitman wrote Fordson, which has garnered numerous festival awards. Most recently Tony & Janina’s American Wedding (2010) an immigration story, premiered at Chicago International Film Festival winning a Jury Prize. The film won several advocacy awards after it became a clear agent for change, after the film’s subjects were reunited in the US in August 2011.

In the summer of 2009, Leitman’s first documentary Wildwood, NJ. (1994) became a youtube viral hit. With over a millions views, featured on several best of year-end lists, hundreds of blogs including: Jezebel, Urban Outfitters, G4’s Attack of the Show, VH-1’s Best Week Ever, the film became a symbol of ‘90’s zeitgeist girl culture. It was appropriated and reused in pop culture media from the fashion runways of Milan to music videos of Lana Del Rey.  Wildwood was invited to screen at Hot Doc’s fifteen-year anniversary festival in 2013.

Leitman is a director on the upcoming documentary series Hard Earned produced by Kartemquin Films, which will air on Al Jazeera America in 2015. She is currently in development on the 1950’s fiction feature film, The Pin-Down Girl, about the pioneers of women’s wrestling.

http://ruthlessfilms.com

What Happened Next

In the summer of 2009, Leitman’s first documentary Wildwood, NJ. (1994) became a youtube viral hit. With over a millions views, featured on several best of year-end lists, hundreds of blogs including: Jezebel, Urban Outfitters, G4’s Attack of the Show, VH-1’s Best Week Ever, the film became a symbol of ‘90’s zeitgeist girl culture. It was appropriated and reused in pop culture media from the fashion runways of Milan to music videos of Lana Del Rey.  Wildwood was invited to screen at Hot Doc’s fifteen-year anniversary festival in 2013.

“When we made Wildwood, NJ in 1994, the film had the life we’d planned for it, enthusiastic audiences at festivals and the like. We could never have imagined or planned the second life that a general internet public would have for the film changing the narrative of its exposure and even the story itself. When clips were posted on the web in 2009, fashion designers, bloggers, musicians and fans of the NJ vernacular appropriated parts of the film. People insert their own narrative using the film to create more interactive connection to the history of the people and the place. For me as a filmmaker, it is a phenomenon that I am witnessing with my work rather than controlling. It’s way beyond us at this point, which is exciting, but not without some concern (like with Lana Del Ray’s ‘Diet Mountain Dew’ video).”
-Ruth Leitman

Music Videos

Twin Shadow ‘'At My Heels'
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ZYLEMzyxAxc

Lana Del Rey’s ‘Diet Mountain Dew’
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9rfemh2chpI

Articles

FourFour: Wildwood: The Movie - This is the original blog that raised the interest in WW.
http://fourfour.typepad.com/fourfour/2009/07/wildwood-the-movie.html

Dedicated Follower of Fashion
http://fashionfollower.com/Mainpage/90s-wildwood-nj-fashion-style/

Fault Magazine
http://fault-magazine.com/2010/06/ruth-leitman/

Vulture Magazine
http://www.vulture.com/2011/12/robyn-decida-wildwood.html

 
 

Get in touch with us at:
info@wildwoodnjtour.uk