Lexi Leban is a documentary filmmaker, educator and the Executive Director of the San Francisco Jewish Film Festival.
As a Producer/Director, Leban has made award-winning films that focus on women's rights, criminal justice and LGBT issues. Her films have screened widely at festivals in the U.S. and abroad. Leban's feature documentary, Girl Trouble, was funded by ITVS and KQED, and aired nationally on the acclaimed PBS series Independent Lens. Girl Trouble won a Golden Gate Award at the San Francisco International Film Festival and an interactive game based on the film debuted at Sundance. The national outreach and engagement campaign for the film gained the support of the National Juvenile Justice Network and garnered the Prevention for a Safer Society Award from the National Council on Crime and Delinquency.
Her non-profit media arts organization, Critical Images Inc.. co-founded with Lidia Szajko. produces educational media and promotional videos for non-profit organizations in the Bay Area. She has a BA degree from Barnard College of Columbia University and an MFA in Cinema from San Francisco State University.
Films by Lexi Leban
Stephanie is pregnant and has a warrant for running away from a group home. Shangra is torn between taking care of her mother, who is homeless and struggling with drug addiction, and taking care of herself. Sheila, whose father and siblings have been in and out of jail, risks arrest and jail time by selling and using drugs. Girl Trouble is an intimate look at the compelling personal stories of three teenagers entangled in San Francisco's juvenile justice system. These girls, and many like them, aren't just at-risk - they are in deep trouble. Trying to change their lives, the girls work part-time at the innovative Center for Young Women's Development, an organization run by young women who have faced similar challenges. As the girls confront seemingly impossible problems and pivotal decisions, the Center's 22-year-old executive director, Lateefah Simon, is often their only support and mentor. Bay Area filmmakers Lexi Leban and Lidia Szajko document the girls' remarkable successes and heartbreaking setbacks over a four-year period - their daily struggles with poverty, violence, public defenders and homelessness - and expose a system that fails to end the cycle of incarceration. The film is available in both a 74 minute and a 57 minute version.