lesliebiopageLeslie Hope’s career began when acclaimed Canadian filmmaker Paul Almond cast her to star in his coming-of-age film UPS AND DOWNS. At 18 she starred in John Cassavetes’ LOVE STREAMS in a role he’d written for her, and when the acting was done Leslie stayed on as a crew member, eager to learn from one of the best.

Leslie has had the privilege to work with Academy Award winning and acclaimed directors, cinematographers, production designers and actors. Through acting she learned to build and inhabit characters from the inside out, to reveal character to camera through behavior and how camera placement, lens choice and frame augments and informs story.

With Charlie Stratton she founded THE WILTON PROJECT: a writer-driven theatre company dedicated to the development of new plays and a re-examination of the classics. As Artistic Director, she produced several award-winning critically acclaimed productions. THE WILTON PROJECT was housed in a photographer’s studio-a huge white space lit with natural light-and it was there she learned the power of a single strong visual and how shapes can tell a story. She became committed to the principle first learned witnessing John Cassavetes-working with a company of committed artists in an open and creative space where ideas can flow freely, and mistakes can be made. And best idea wins.

That philosophy she now carries forward and she remains dedicated to making room for art under the constraints of budget and schedule. As a former actor, she prides herself in speaking the language of character and performance. Her time developing new material with writers means she understands the significance of the spoken word, but she is passionate about a precise and resonant visual and asks that the pictures ‘speak’ as much as the text. Leslie remains excited and open to all filmmaking possibilities regardless of budget or genre and her passion is in the subversive, the funny, the unexpected, the beautiful, the strange, the human.

Leslie produced and directed WHAT I SEE WHEN I CLOSE MY EYES, a documentary following the street-living kids of Cambodia. Her film won several awards, was the official selection of over 30 film festivals and sold to Moviola, The Short Film Channel. EYES was invited to screen at “V-Day” and The American Visionary Arts Museum, and she was honored to have The Kent Film Festival name “The Hope Award for Outstanding Work in Documentary Filmmaking” after her and her work.

She wrote and directed the comedy short GAYKEITH which became a viral internet hit and was picked up for distribution by Tricon Films. Leslie directed and exec produced BURIED TREASURE which won The Rome Int’l Film Festival as Best Narrative Short and with Jon Eskenas she served as Executive Producer on THE BLING RING.

Leslie’s entry into episodic television directing was initiated and built on VFX driven shows like SyFy’s VAN HELSING, GHOST WARS and THE ORDER for Netflix. She now comfortably helms bigger budget VFX shows like LOST IN SPACE, multiple episodes of TNT’s SNOW PIERCER and STAR TREK: STRANGE NEW WORLDS.

Leslie produced the feature film LIE EXPOSED which sold to Mongrel Media and Crave, and was picked up by Indican Pictures for US and international distribution. She has recently formed PARALLILA PICTURES with Tina Vacalopoulos and their new company is committed to making films as seen through the eyes of female filmmakers. Their slate of features includes SNOW MAN based on the novel by Carolyn Chute and this will be Leslie’s first feature as a director.