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October 27, 1936 |
New York City
|Occupation||Film Director, Producer|
|Spouse(s)||Tom Cole (deceased)|
Joyce Chopra (born October 27, 1936) is an American director and writer of feature films and television. Chopra graduated from Brandeis University in Waltham, Massachusetts. Chopra was married to American stage and screenwriter Tom Cole until he died on February 23, 2009, of multiple myeloma, a cancer of the blood.
Life and career
Chopra was born in New York City, to Judge Abraham and Tillie Kalina. A few months after her graduation from Brandeis, she and a partner opened The Cafe Mozart, a European-style coffee house near Harvard Square at 47 Mt Auburn Street, quickly turning it into a music club (Club 47) where everyone from Joan Baez to Bob Dylan performed. The Club was the subject of 2012 film, "For the Love of the Music," shown at the Boston International Film Festival. Chopra's own film career began with documentary film making in 1972 and gained much recognition by feminist film scholars with her autobiographical documentary Joyce at 34 (1974). The film stars Chopra and examines the affect her pregnancy had on her film making career. The documentary received the American Film Festival Blue Ribbon award. The film is considered an important film for feminist film scholars as the film explores the issues surrounding women when pursuing the creation of a family while also creating a professional career.
Chopra transitioned into fiction film making around the mid-1980s after meeting and working with Tom Cole (writer). One of their first collaborations was a PBS American Playhouse production, Medal of Honor Rag in 1982.
Her first narrative feature-length film Smooth Talk (1985) won the Independent Spirit Award for Best Director and Grand Jury Prize at the 1985 Sundance Film Festival. The film is an adaptation of Joyce Carol Oates' 1966 short story Where Are You Going, Where Have You Been?, and was adapted by Tom Cole.
Her second feature-length film The Lemon Sisters was made in conjunction with the producer and star, Diane Keaton. The film explores the long-term female friendships between Eloise (Diane Keaton), Franki (Carol Kane) and Nola (Kathryn Grody).
Since The Lemon Sisters, Chopra has turned to directing television, ranging from television dramas to made-for-TV movies.
Her most recent work is Gramercy Stories. A 52-minute documentary about a residence in Manhattan that is providing a safe home for gay and transgender youth who have experienced violence at home and on the streets. Gramercy Trailer
In addition to directing her own films, Chopra is part of BYKids, a non-profit organization pairing master filmmakers with youth (ages 8–21) from around the world to create short documentaries that educate Americans about globally relevant issues. Her most recent mentee, 16-year-old Jayshree Janu Kharpade of India has created the film Fire in Our Hearts (2012) which has just been selected for the 2012 India International Film Festival of Tampa Bay.
- Smooth Talk - Grand Jury Prize for Best Dramatic Feature (1985)
- That Our Children Will Not Die - Documentary - American Film Festival Blue Ribbon Award
- Smooth Talk - Independent Spirit Award for Best Director (1985), Independent Spirit Award for Best Picture (1985)
- Molly: An American Girl on the Home Front - DGA nomination for Best Director
Much of Chopra's work treats the themes of sexuality and sensuality of women. These films often focus on the transitional periods in women's lives. Smooth Talk is concerned with puberty; Joyce at 34 focuses on pregnancy and The Lemon Sisters centers around new loves, lifestyles, and new career choices. Her other works - mostly documentary - like to focus on youth, "I have always been drawn to stories about vulnerable young people".
- A Happy Mother's Day (1963) co-directed with Richard Leacock
- Joyce at 34 (1974)
- Girls at 12 (1975)
- "Clorae & Albie" (1976)
- "That Our Children Will Not Die" (1978)
- Martha Clarke, Light and Dark (1981)
- Gramercy stories (2008)
- "Fire in Our Hearts" (2012)
Made for TV Movies:
- Murder in New Hampshire: The Pamela Wojas Smart Story (1991)
- Baby Snatcher (1992)
- The Danger of Love: The Carolyn Warmus Story (1992)
- The Disappearance of Nora (1993)
- Angel Falls (1993) TV Series
- The Corpse Had a Familiar Face (1994)
- Deadline for Murder: From the Files of Edna Buchanan (1995)
- My Very Best Friend (1996)
- L.A. Johns (1997)
- Convictions (1997)
- Murder in a Small Town (1999)
- Replacing Dad (1999)
- The Lady in Question (1999)
- Rip Girls (2000)
- Hollywood Wives: The New Generation (2003)
- The Last Cowboy (2003)
- Molly: An American Girl on the Home Front (2006)
- PBS American Playhouse Medal of Honor, Rag (1982)
- Crossing Jordan
- Law & Order: Criminal Intent
- Law & Order: Special Victims Unit
- Blonde mini-series (2001)