Barbara Kopple is a two-time Academy Award winning filmmaker. A director and producer of narrative films, documentaries and commercial spots, she most recently completed the documentary, A Murder In Mansfield. The film examines the after affects of a murder trial in the 1990’s where a son testified against his father for the murder of his mother, and will premiere at the 2017 DOC NYC Film Festival. Kopple produced and directed This Is Everything: Gigi Gorgeous, which chronicles the life and family of Internet sensation Gigi Gorgeous, and had its premiere at the 2017 Sundance Film Festival. Miss Sharon Jones!, premiered at the 2015 Toronto International Film Festival and was the opening night film at DOC NYC. It follows the talented and gregarious soul singer of the Grammy-nominated R&B band Sharon Jones & the Dap-Kings during the most challenging year of her life and received a 2017 Emmy Nomination for Outstanding Arts & Culture Documentary.
Other recent projects include: Shelter, about homeless vets; Hot Type: 150 Years of The Nation, examines America’s oldest continuously published weekly magazine; Running from Crazy, premiered at Sundance in 2013 and received a 2014 Primetime Emmy nomination for Outstanding Documentary or Nonfiction Special; Fight To Live, exposes the roadblocks imposed by the current FDA approvals process; A Force of Nature, celebrates the life and work of journalist and philanthropist Ellen Ratner; Gun Fight, explores the place of guns in US culture; The House of Steinbrenner, part of ESPN’s Emmy nominated “30 for 30” series, received a 2010 Peabody Award as well as the International Documentary Association Award for Best Continuing Series; The Emmy-nominated, Woodstock: Now and Then, looks back at the legacy of the historic music festival, 40 years later. Well known for her work on US labor issues, Barbara directed Steamfitters Local Union 638 in 2007 for HBO’s acclaimed Addiction Series. The New York Times likened this short documentary to “crisp tonic with lime.” This program was awarded the Television Academy of Arts and Sciences Governor’s Award.
Barbara produced and directed Harlan County USA and American Dream, both winners of the Academy Award for Best Documentary Feature. In 1991, Harlan County USA was named to the National Film Registry by the Librarian of Congress and designated an American Film Classic. Harlan County USA was restored and preserved by the Women’s Preservation Fund and the Academy Film Archive, and featured as part of the Sundance Collection at the Sundance Film Festival in 2005. The Criterion Collection released a DVD of Harlan County USA in 2006.
Barbara produced and directed: Shut Up and Sing, following the Dixie Chicks and the fallout they faced after publically criticizing President Bush; A Conversation with Gregory Peck, a film portrait of the legendary actor; The Hamptons, a four-hour mini-series for ABC; My Generation examining the Woodstock legacy and Generation X; and Fallen Champ: The Untold Story of Mike Tyson, for which she was nominated for an Emmy for Outstanding Individual Achievement in Directing. She directed the feature nonfiction film Wild Man Blues, about the European tour of Woody Allen and his jazz band, for which she won the National Board of Review Award for Best Documentary. Barbara also produced the HBO documentary American Standoff, which chronicled an 18-month strike of the Teamsters Union against Overnite Transportation, and the A&E documentary Bearing Witness about female war correspondents working in Iraq. Barbara was a member of the Winter Soldier Collective, which created the film Winter Soldier.
Other nonfiction films include The DC Sniper’s Wife, a documentary that takes a look at the life of Mildred Muhammad, ex-wife of infamous DC sniper, John Allen Muhammad; High School Musical: The Music in You, following students performing a stage adaptation of “High School Musical.”; No Nukes, a “rockumentary” shot during five days of concerts at Madison Square Garden and distributed by Warner Brothers; Defending Our Daughters, an investigation into women’s human rights issues in Bosnia, Pakistan and Egypt and winner of a Voices of Courage Award; With Liberty and Justice For All?, a short documentary made for the Alliance for Justice, which explores the issue of immigration law. Barbara also directed a series of specials for the Disney Channel, including Friends for Life: Living with AIDS, the first show about AIDS to air on that network. She also co-created, produced and directed I Married…, a series for VH1 about the spouses and families of rock stars.
Barbara directed the narrative feature Havoc, starring Anne Hathaway, Bijou Phillips and Freddy Rodriguez and written by Stephen Gaghan. The film follows a group of wealthy teenagers coming of age and searching for an identity in Los Angeles. She also directs episodic television and commercial spots. Her television work includes episodes of OZ on HBO and Homicide, for which she won a DGA Award for Outstanding Direction. Barbara has directed commercial spots for companies such as American Greetings, Sprint, Applebee’s, Dove, Intel, Target, The Tiger Woods Foundation, Pearl Vision and the Children’s Defense Fund.
Barbara has been awarded the Human Rights Watch Film Festival Irene Diamond Award, Los Angeles Film Critics Award, National Society of Film Critics Award, the SilverDocs/Charles Guggenheim Award, New York Women in Film & Television Muse Award, the Maya Deren Independent Film and Video Award, the Woodstock Film Festival Maverick Award, Women in Film & Video of Washington, DC Women of Vision Award, the White House Project’s EPIC Award, the International Documentary Association Career Achievement Award, the San Francisco Film Society’s Persistence of Vision Award, the Sundance Film Festival Grand Jury Prize, Filmmakers Trophy & Audience Award, the Sarasota Film Festival Director’s Award, and the Nantucket Film Festival’s Special Achievement in Documentary Filmmaking Award. The Paley Center for Media has named Barbara a 2007 “She Made It Honoree.” She recently served her tenth year on the board of trustees for the American Film Institute and continues as an advisory board member for the American University Center for Social Media and Independent Feature Project’s Filmmaker Labs. In 2010, Barbara received an honorary Doctor of Humane Letters from American University. She is a member of the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences, the Academy of Television Arts and Sciences, the Director’s Guild of America, New York Women in Film and Television’s Honorary Board, the British Academy of Film and Television Arts, and actively participates in organizations that address social issues and support independent filmmaking.