2001 and 2002 saw the release of Edward Burns' romantic comedy Sidewalks of New York and some of Paramount Classics’ most high-profile truly independent films which included the 2002 Sundance and Berlin Film Festivals award-winner Bloody Sunday, written and directed by Paul Greengrass and nominated for an Independent Spirit Award; and Sandra Nettelbeck's Mostly Martha, which became one of the highest grossing foreign-language films of the year.
In 2003 the esoteric Northfork from the Polish Brothers starring James Woods, Nick Nolte, and Daryl Hannah and the controversial The Singing Detective written by Dennis Potter and starring Robert Downey Jr., Mel Gibson, and Robin Wright reinforced Paramount Classics' reputation as a daring, provocative, and filmmaker-centric distribution company. Under Vitale, Paramount Classics also released Claude Lelouch's Cannes’ Closing Night film And Now Ladies & Gentlemen starring Jeremy Irons and Mike Hodges' re-teaming with Clive Owen in the noir thriller I'll Sleep When I'm Dead.
In 2004, Paramount Classics championed screenwriter Jacob Estes' feature directorial debut from his Nicholl Award-winning original screenplay and Sundance and Cannes Film Festivals favorite Mean Creek, which also went on to win two Independent Spirit Awards; and Brad Anderson's highly-praised psychological thriller The Machinist, starring Christian Bale and Jennifer Jason Leigh.
In 2005, Paramount Classics released one of the most talked about independent films in recent memory and Sundance favorite, Hustle & Flow, starring Terrence Howard, Taryn Manning, Taraji Henson, Anthony Anderson, and DJ Qualls, produced by John Singleton and Stephanie Allain, and written and directed by Craig Brewer.
Before joining Paramount Classics, Ruth Vitale was President of Fine Line Features from January 1995 to January 1998. Under her aegis, Fine Line released such highlights of independent film as the Academy Award-winning Shine, The Sweet Hereafter, Love! Valour! Compassion!, Twelfth Night, Gummo, and The Winter Guest. Prior to her appointment as President of Fine Line, Vitale served as Executive Vice President of Acquisitions for three years, overseeing such New Line and Fine Line productions as Don Juan DeMarco; Mortal Kombat; Corrina, Corrina; Monkey Trouble; Widow's Peak; and Mi Familia.
Vitale formerly served as President of UBU Productions' feature film division from 1988 to 1991. Among other positions, she was Senior Vice President of Production for United Artists, where she oversaw production on Child's Play, I'm Gonna Get You Sucka, and Roadhouse. As President of Production for Vestron Pictures, she broke independent ground with the highest-grossing independent film of the time, Dirty Dancing. She was also Director of Acquisitions for The Movie Channel.