Leon Chase grew up in the industrial suburbs south of Detroit. He now lives in Brooklyn, New York.
Leon is the author of the play The Last Carburetor, which enjoyed two Off-Off-Broadway runs in New York City, and was subsequently published in Plays and Playwrights 2003.
He is an occasional contributor to the cinema web ‘zine Cashiers du Cinemart, which featured him in its anthology Impossibly Funky: A Cashiers du Cinemart Collection. He has also appeared as a guest commentator on the film-nerd podcast The Projection Booth, as well as Australia’s See/Hear Music Film Podcast.
For nearly a decade, Leon fronted the cowpunk band Uncle Leon and the Alibis. He directed the music video (his first) for their song “Wild Ways” and orchestrated the guerrilla video project “Beer Train”—performed live on the New York City subway—for the online 2013 Couch by Couchwest Festival, where it won Most Creative Location and was runner-up for People’s Choice.
In 2013, Leon created The Pill Girls, a short parody of ’70s sexploitation films. His comedic Film Noir Upper West Side Story was completed in the fall of 2015, and screened as part of the 2016 New York Short Film Festival.
Leon’s latest project is an ongoing series of feature documentaries showcasing truly unique people and places in New York City. The first installment, Fancy Feast: The Fat Burlesque Performer, debuted online in early 2017. It has since screened at Anthology Film Archives in Manhattan, the Center for Sex and Culture in San Francisco, and the 2017 Coney Island Film Festival.
The second, Suzy Hotrod: Roller Derby Star, appeared at the 2019 Too Drunk to Watch film festival in Berlin, and at the 2019 Art of Brooklyn Film Festival, where it won the Audience Choice Award.
Leon is at work on his third documentary, about the now-defunct Brooklyn dive bar Hank’s Saloon. He also worked as an editor on the upcoming Lola RocknRolla film The Big Johnson.
Most recently, he created the 2-minute cell-phone horror short Distant—starring his wife, Ashlie Atkinson. This movie originally screened online as part of Roger Corman’s Quarantine Film Festival, and has just been selected to appear at the 2020 Coney Island Film Festival as well.
He also made the experimental art video Fever Dreams, comprised entirely of public-domain footage and samples.
Inspired by the Black Lives Matter movement, Leon has begun doing pro bono video work for various political organizations, including the historic Highlander Center for Education and Culture.