I’d like to wish the great Barbara Kopple a very happy birthday today. What do you get the filmmaker who has given us two classic, Oscar-winning documentaries about strikes (Harlan County U.S.A. and American Dream) as well as some other terrific films on Woody Allen, the Dixie Chicks and Mike Tyson? All I can offer is a blog post, one that shares her appearance on Documentary Channel's DocTalk to discuss the making of Harlan County U.S.A.
Another thing I can give is the recommendation to others to seek out some of her other works, including American Dream, which in spite of equal Academy recognition gets less credit than Harlan, and Shut Up and Sing, which is much, much better than it looks if you’ve been dismissing it as a generic music doc about a group of country singers you don’t care about.
Here’s a clip of Kopple winning her first Academy Award 35 years ago. She’s hardly looks like she’s aged since then.