A few days before December 12, 2008, my sister Ruth Litoff decorated her Manhattan loft like a beautiful stage set with fifteen suicide notes surrounding her and specially selected gifts for her closest friends. Multiple bowls of cat food were left in case it took us awhile to find her and every one of her hundreds of markers was in rainbow order. The police officer whispered, “I’ve never seen anything like this.”
The film begins on that day I found Ruth dead and traces over her fascinating life and work—punctuated by incredible highs and lows and secrets and lies. It follows my journey as I examine her rich body of artwork, interview friends and family, and read her journals for the very first time. She excelled at everything she did. She was my hero. Why would she want to die?
Like a detective, I’m trying to piece it all together. But making the film has forced me to face difficult truths and caused me to drink again after 16 years of sobriety. The film raises so many questions. Must I admit that my sister and I are not so different? Will the process set me free or destroy me?
- Hope Litoff
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Hope Litoff Director
HOPE LITOFF is a 20-year veteran film editor. 32 PILLS marks her directorial debut. She began her career assisting filmmakers such as Ken Burns and Stephen Ives on THE WEST, as well as MISS AMERICA, dir. Lisa Ades (PBS) and BLUE VINYL, dir. Judith Helfand and Dan Gold (HBO). She went on to edit such verite projects as: KEEPER OF THE COHEN, dir. David Gaynes, COLLEGE BOYS LIVE, dir. George O’Donnell, and SEEING SALLY, dir. Peter Goodman, all of which played in multiple film festivals. Her television credits include CHASING THE CROWN (WE), THE WELL SEASONED TRAVELER dir. George Billard (A&E), and INDIE SEX, dir. Lisa Ades (IFP). She lives and works in New York City.
Beth Levison Producer
BETH LEVISON is an independent producer/director and the recipient of two national Emmy Awards and three Peabody Awards. Prior to 32 PILLS, she produced THE TRIALS OF SPRING (2015), a cross-media project including a feature-length documentary (dir. Gini Reticker) and six shorts about women human rights activists in Egypt, Tunisia, Libya, Syria, Bahrain and Yemen. Her independent documentary directorial debut LEMON (2011) about Brooklyn-born poet and performer Lemon Andersen was executive produced by Impact Partners and Russell Simmons, shown at some 40 festivals around the world, selected for U.S. State Department’s 2014 American Film Showcase, and broadcast on PBS stations nationwide. Levison got her start in television working for HBO, PBS, Sundance Channel, and others. She is on the producing faculty with the MFA program in Social Documentary Film at the School of Visual Arts (SVA), consults on a range of documentary films, and is based in New York City.