Born: 30 July 1946
Birthplace: New York City,
Best known as: The documentary maker who did Harlan County, USA
Filmmaker Barbara Kopple is best known for her documentaries, two of which are Oscar winners: 1976's Harlan County, USA
and 1990's American Dream
. Her first important gig was as part of the Winter Soldier Collective, a group of filmmakers who recorded the testimony of returning Vietnam War veterans (1972). She then spent nearly four years with coal miners in Harlan County, Kentucky, recording the effects of a bitter 13-month strike. The sympathetic record of workers fighting big business earned an Oscar in 1977 for best documentary, and has since been chosen for the U.S. National Film Registry by the Library of Congress. Known for the "direct cinema" style of documentaries -- edited footage without commentary -- Kopple has also directed episodic television, commercial spots and a feature film (2005's Havoc
, starring Anne Hathaway
and Channing Tatum
). Kopple's other documentaries include Wild Man Blues
's European jazz tour, 1998), A Conversation with Gregory Peck
(1999), Shut Up and Sing
(The Dixie Chicks
and politics, 2006) and Woodstock: Now & Then
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