Filmmaker Gary Leva has distinguished himself as the creative force behind scores of documentaries, many of them focused on the cinematic arts. His feature documentary, Fog City Mavericks, which highlights 130 years in the history of San Francisco’s vibrant filmmaking community, had its world premiere at the 50th San Francisco International Film Festival prior to its continuing life on cable television and DVD.
Leva’s documentaries have made a lasting contribution to the history of film. His award-winning A Legacy of Filmmakers premiered at the Telluride Film Festival and received a New York Film Society screening at Manhattan’s Guggenheim Museum. This documentary illuminates the creation of Francis Coppola’s landmark film company American Zoetrope, set against the changing landscape of American cinema in the late 1960s and early 1970s. The film is now a part of the curricula at several top universities.
Leva was recently invited to take part in a symposium on the creation of historical films at Princeton University's Institute for Advanced Study. His presentation included a short lecture and a clip from an upcoming documentary. He also shared a panel with director Oliver Stone for a Q&A session by the Institute's fellows and distinguished guests.
Leva’s celebrated documentaries on the cinema of George Lucas span the entire range of Lucas’ career, from his earliest student films to the Star Wars series and beyond. To date, Leva has produced nine documentaries on the work of Alfred Hitchcock, covering everything from Hitchcock’s invention of the visual language of cinema to his masterful use of sound. Leva’s collection of eight documentaries on the cinematic artistry of Stanley Kubrick is widely regarded as the top anthology on the master’s work to date.
Beyond the world of cinema, Leva has produced documentaries on subjects as varied as the struggle for investigative journalists to stay relevant in the Internet age and the ways in which the achievements of Alexander the Great are reflected in our modern lives.
Other projects include the mockumentary R2-D2: Beneath the Dome, broadcast nationally on Fox; and 1939: Hollywood's Greatest Year, broadcast nationally on TCM. Leva is an adjunct professor at the USC School of Cinematic Arts and Pepperdine University.