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Overview for Kelly M Hartigan
Kelly M Hartigan

Kelly M Hartigan


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Birth Place: Profession: Film Production - Main ...


The pure definition of a one-movie wonder, screenwriter, producer and director Leslie Harris positioned herself at the forefront of the early '90s new wave of black cinema with Sundance favorite "Just Another Girl on the I.R.T." (1992) but never made another feature film again. Born in Cleveland, OH in 1960 Harris studied Studio Arts at her home state's Denison University where she dabbled in live-action shorts and animation. On graduating, she moved to New York where she worked for several major advertising firms before making the leap to directing commercials herself. Frustrated with the industry's constraints, Harris then set up her own advertising company focusing on small business communities. Inspired by Spike Lee, she continued to pursue her filmmaking dreams on the side and thanks to various grants and the generosity of various high-profile contacts, eventually raised enough funds to begin work on her first feature in 1992. A coming-of-age tale about an African-American girl whose dreams of becoming a doctor are jeopardized when she falls pregnant, "Just Another Girl on the I.R.T." (1992) won the Special Jury Prize at the Sundance Film Festival and grossed a relatively impressive near-$500,000 on its limited release. Harris also released the picture through her very own production company, Truth 24 FPS Productions, making her the first African-American woman to negotiate a 200+ screens theatrical release deal with a major motion company (Miramax Films). Harris was tipped to become one of the decade's most important new female directors, but with the exception of "Bessie Coleman's Dream to Fly" (1993), a short about the pioneering civil aviator, she never made another film. Instead, she focused on an academic career, lecturing on filmmaking at the likes of Wellesley College, Columbia University and the Canadian Film Institute, and serving as a full-time professor at the New York University Tisch School of the Arts. Harris occasionally still returned to her first love for various webisodes and shorts, while in 2013 she launched an unsuccessful Kickstarter campaign to fund a new feature-length film titled "I Love Cinema."

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