Helene Bertha Amalie "Leni" Riefenstahl (German 22 August 1902 – 8 September 2003) was a German film director, producer, screenwriter, editor, photographer, actress, and dancer.
Born in 1902, Leni Riefenstahl grew up in Germany with her brother Heinz (1905–1944), who was killed on the Eastern Front in World War II. A talented swimmer and artist, she also became interested in dancing during her childhood, taking dancing lessons and performing across Europe.
After seeing a promotional poster for the 1924 film Der Berg des Schicksals ("The Mountain of Destiny"), Riefenstahl was inspired to move into acting. Between 1925 and 1929, she starred in five successful motion pictures. In 1932, Riefenstahl decided to try directing with her own film called Das Blaue Licht ("The Blue Light").
In the 1930s, she directed Triumph des Willens ("Triumph of the Will") and Olympia, resulting in worldwide attention and acclaim. The movies are widely considered two of the most effective, and technically innovative, propaganda films ever made.