Ben Levin was born in Joliet, Illinois. After attending the Eastman School of Music in Rochester, New York, he served in the United States Marine Band in Washington, D.C.
He then entered Temple University to pursue a Master of Fine Arts (MFA) with an emphasis in documentary production, the start of a 17-year relationship with that institution, culminating in his directing the MFA program there for seven years. Beginning in 1987, he taught for three years at Emerson College in Boston, before moving to the University of North Texas in 1990, where he served in various capacities including Director of Graduate Studies, Director of the MFA Program in Documentary Production and Studies, and founding Director of the Department of Media Art's London program.
Levin is a past-president of the University Film and Video Association (UFVA) and has served on the National Film Preservation Board by appointment of the Librarian of Congress since 1989. He has been involved in numerous documentary productions as producer, director, and/or editor. The work has received many honors including several CINE Golden Eagles, awards from the Broadcast Education Association (BEA), the UFVA, and the Corporation for Public Broadcasting (CPB); in addition his work has been screened on public television and in other venues including the London International Film Festival, Chicago International Film Festival, Margaret Mead Film Festival, and two screenings at the Museum of Modern Art in New York City.