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Kopple at the May 2015 Montclair Film Festival
July 30, 1946|
New York City, New York
Life and career
She has won two Academy Awards, the first in 1976 for Harlan County, USA, about a Kentucky miners' strike, and the second in 1991 for American Dream, the story of the Hormel Foods strike in Austin, Minnesota in 1985-86. She has directed episodes of the television drama series Homicide: Life on the Street and Oz, winning a Directors Guild of America award for the former. Kopple also directed A Conversation With Gregory Peck and Bearing Witness, as well as documentaries on Mike Tyson and Woody Allen. The latter film, Wild Man Blues, focuses on his Dixieland jazz tour and on Allen's relationship with Soon-Yi Previn.
Her first non-documentary feature film, Havoc, starred Anne Hathaway and Bijou Phillips as wealthy suburbanites who venture into East Los Angeles Latino gang territory, and was released straight to DVD in 2005. Kopple has recently ventured into advertising work that includes documentary-style commercials for Target Stores.
She was also among the 19 filmmakers who worked together anonymously (under the rubric Winterfilm Collective) to produce the film Winter Soldier, an anti-war documentary about the Winter Soldier Investigation. She has also done films for The Working Group, directing the 30-minute short documentary Locked Out in America: Voices From Ravenswood for the We Do the Work series. (We Do the Work aired in the mid-1990s on the PBS television series "P.O.V.", and Kopple's segment was based on the book Ravenswood: The Steelworkers' Victory and the Revival of American Labor.)
In 2012 Kopple released two films. One is about Mariel Hemingway, the granddaughter of Ernest Hemingway, and the other is concerning the 150th Anniversary of The Nation magazine. The film on Hemingway, Running from Crazy, was shown at the 2013 Sundance Film Festival and on the Oprah Winfrey Network.
When beginning to make the film Harlan County, USA Kopple was promised a $9,000 grant then was later denied. This happened countless times before she eventually secured the necessary funds. The moving image collection of Barbara Kopple is held at the Academy Film Archive, which preserved Harlan County, USA.
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- 1972: Winter Soldier
- 1976: Harlan County, USA
- 1981: Keeping On
- 1990: American Dream
- 1992: Beyond JFK: The Question of Conspiracy
- 1993: Fallen Champ: The Untold Story of Mike Tyson
- 1994: Century of Women: Sexuality and Social Justice
- 1994: Century of Women: Work and Family
- 1997: Homicide: Life on the Street - The Documentary
- 1997: Wild Man Blues
- 1998: Homicide: Life on the Street - Pit Bull Sessions
- 1999: A Conversation with Gregory Peck
- 1999: Homicide: Life on the Street - Self Defense
- 2000: My Generation
- 2002: American Standoff
- 2002: The Hamptons
- 2004: Bearing Witness
- 2004: Dance Cuba: Dreams of Flight
- 2004: WMD: Weapons of Mass Deception
- 2005: Havoc
- 2006: Shut Up & Sing
- 2010: 30 for 30: The House of Steinbrenner
- 2011: Gunfight
- 2013: Running From Crazy
- 2015: Miss Sharon Jones!
- 2016: Gigi Gorgeous: This is Everything
- 2017: A Murder in Mansfield
- "Harlan County USA". The Criterion Collection. Retrieved 2018-03-23.
- Rachleff, Peter (1992). "Review of American Dream [Film]". The Oral History Review. 20 (1/2): 94–96. JSTOR 3674859.
- Inkoo Kang (2014-08-04). "Sight and Sound Publishes Top 50 Documentaries List | IndieWire". Blogs.indiewire.com. Retrieved 2017-07-18.
- "The Best Documentaries of All Time | Sight & Sound". BFI.org.uk. 2017-01-05. Retrieved 2017-07-18.
- "Barbara Kopple Collection". Academy Film Archive.