Leslie Hope

Leslie Hope
Leslie Hope
(Photo by Alexandra Hedison)

Leslie Hope, producer and director, has worked in the film industry for over 25 years. She wrote and directed her first short film "The Luncheon" in 1985 and then began her foray into producing with the play "Taking Off" at The Odyssey Theater in Los Angeles.

In 1989 she founded The Wilton Project with Charlie Stratton. As Artistic Directors of The Wilton Project, they garnered major critical recognition for their production and development of new plays and re-examination of the classics, including Neal Bell's "Therese Raquin", Jose Rivera's "Each Day Dies With Sleep" and a new adaptation of "The Dybbuk".

During her time at The Wilton Project, Leslie produced and directed several shows, wrote her play "Loudmouth", and directed her second short film, "Siren Moon". In 2008, she will direct her first television movie, "Daughter of the Bride".

As an actress, she has starred in over 35 features and several television series.

Leslie is married to Adam Kane, cinematographer and producer of "What I See When I Close My Eyes".

Director's Statement

"I traveled to Phnom Penh, Cambodia for the first time in 2003. I have traveled all over the world but my visit to Cambodia was unlike any other trip I'd experienced.

"I have always been interested in seeing for myself places that had been framed in the media with what I thought may be a political bias. This interest has taken me to the Amazon jungle to live with the Hourani tribe, Iceland, Peru, the Faroe Islands, Turkey, China, Laos and Cambodia.

Scene from What I See
A draws his life-sized self-portrait

"While I thought I was going there to see for myself the terrible effects the not so secret war had on both Laos and Cambodia, I left with not only a greater understanding and dread of the terrible impact of war, but a horrible realization that the true price of any catastrophe is literally paid for with the lives of children.

"It has been thirty years since the Khmer Rouge seized control of Cambodia. Once the richest country in Southeast Asia, it is now the poorest, with an average yearly income that falls below $300. Today, over 20,000 children live and work on the streets of Phnom Penh, many of them abandoned by their families through poverty, death, and despair.

"The sex trade is a burgeoning industry and many children are bought and sold. HIV/AIDS is a growing problem, as is drug addiction.

"Mith Samlanh/FRIENDS was established in 1994 to meet the needs of Cambodia's street children. Now an international organization, FRIENDS offers street living and working kids shelter, food, remedial education, vocational training, job placement, counseling, outreach, and perhaps for the first time in their lives a place to call home.

"While visiting one of the FRIENDS Training Centers, I was approached by a young boy who seemed no older than my ten-year-old son. He made clear to me that he was sexually available. Obviously operating out of a former instinct for survival, while finally in a place where he no longer needed to do that, he continued a habit that had been learned at an enormous cost.

"His gesture to me was so very disturbing and moving that I felt compelled to do something. I wanted to help make a world where children needn't sacrifice themselves for the price of a meal.

"With the cooperation of Sebastien Marot, the founder of FRIENDS, and with the support and help of the staff and children, I returned to Cambodia the following year to make this short documentary. Originally conceived as a fund-raising tool for FRIENDS, the project bloomed into something much bigger.

"The film was structured around the kids making of over 100 life-sized self-portrait banners, inspired by the simple question of "What do you see when you close your eyes?"

"By asking the children of Mith Samlanh/FRIENDS the simplest of questions, I was able to hear and film the most extraordinary of answers.

Adam Kane

Adam Kane, cinematographer/director of photography, producer, began his film career at NYU's Tisch School of the Arts in 1986. While attending graduate school at AFI, he earned his first credit as a director of photography on "The Double-O-Kid". Numerous feature credits include "Bitter Harvest", "Romeo Must Die", "Love and Six", "The Boondock Saints", "The Man", and "Resurrecting the Champ".

Adam shot the television pilots "Reunion", "Level 9", "Sam's Cirus", "Line of Fire" and "Heros", for which he was nominated for an ASC award.

Adam has also directed several episodes of television including "Heroes" and ABC's "Pushing Daisies", on which he now also serves as a producer.

His short film "The Fix", which he produced and directed, has won several film festival awards.

Adam is married to Leslie Hope, Director and Producer of "What I See When I Close My Eyes".