Leah Yananton is a filmmaker, writer, actor, and performance artist based in Los Angeles. She earned her B.F.A. from Columbia University. Yananton’s professional film experience began in the camera department on Spike Lee’s Bamboozled and Marc Levin’s & Mark Benjamin's Brooklyn Babylon. She went on to travel the globe working on documentaries for HBO, National Geographic, and the Discovery Channel.
Yananton was commissioned to direct the documentary Manhattanville: A Neighborhood Under Siege (32 min) which chronicled Columbia University’s controversial expansion into her West Harlem neighborhood and received grants from New York Foundation for the Arts & The LMCC Fund for Creative Communities. Manhattanville screened at the Harlem Film Festival, Girl Fest Hawaii, and L.A. Shorts Fest, and continues to be screened by the Columbia community and West Harlem neighborhood to facilitate dialogue.
She appeared regularly at The Groundlings Theatre in the Catmilk Show under the direction of founder Gary Austin. She is a member of Rob Watzke’s SHPLOTZ! improvisational theater company, with weekly performances featuring special guests such as Helen Slater, Helen Hunt, and Jason Alexander.
Yananton performed LANDESCAPES, a performance art video installation commissioned by the cWOW Gallery in Newark. Leah is also developing an environmental justice documentary In Our Backyard, about the municipal polluting of an African American community in Athens, GA. Her next narrative feature deals with the problem of commercial exploitation of sexuality, and is currently in development.