Beginning his career as an art dealer, Graham Leader produced HEARTWORN HIGHWAYS in 1976 with filmmaker Jim Szalapski – a feature documentary on Nashville’s progressive country music “outlaws” which was warmly received at the 1979 Sundance Film Festival. Released on DVD in 2003 with 65 minutes of previously unseen material, HEARTWORN HIGHWAYS received broad acclaim in the music press. The re-mastered soundtrack issued in 2006 by Hacktone Records also won rave reviews.
In 1990, Leader produced SHUTTLECOCK, starring the late Alan Bates and Lambert Wilson. Adapted by Tim Rose Price from the novel by the award-winning author Graham Swift the film was directed by Andrew Piddington (The Killing Of John Lennon). SHUTTLECOCK opened the 1991 San Sebastian Film Festival.
In 1991, Leader optioned “Killings,” a short story by Andre Dubus, and began developing a feature film adaptation with screenwriter Rob Festinger. In 2000, the film – later titled IN THE BEDROOM – was directed by Todd Field and starred Sissy Spacek, Tom Wilkinson, Marisa Tomei and Nick Stahl. IN THE BEDROOM was acquired by Miramax at Sundance in 2001, where it won The Special Jury Prize. In 2002, the film won a Golden Globe Award for Sissy Spacek’s performance and was nominated for five Academy Awards, including Best Picture.
Leader’s interest in art and new technologies led him to produce THE SAFFRON LIMITED (2005), a six minute digital short film capturing the dazzling, ephemeral spirit of artist Christo’s installation, “The Gates, Central Park, New York.”
CHILDLESS, the first film wholly financed and produced by Leader’s company GRANITE FILMS, stars Barbara Hershey, Joe Mantegna, Jim Naughton, and Diane Venora. Recently completed, the film is conceptually unique and was made entirely using cutting edge digital technology.