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Ellen Frankenstein

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Public bio

Ellen Frankenstein is an independent producer/director, photographer, and educator living in Sitka, Alaska. She has organized and taught in community arts and school-based media projects with teens and adults from South Central Los Angeles to Savoonga, Alaska, and has exhibited her still photography nationally and internationally. Frankenstein is the director of the award-winning documentaries including, Eating Alaska, Tracing Roots, Carved from the Heart, and No Loitering. She distributes these documentaries through the national collective New Day Films. Ellen is in an active member-owner in New Day, a cooperative and democratically-run organization of independent filmakers who make and distribute media that educates and inspires. Before becoming a full-time filmmaker and photographer, Frankenstein worked with the developmentally disabled, migrant farm workers, and the elderly. These experiences inspired her to write and take photographs, to study filmmaking, and to make documentaries--not only to encourage people to tell their stories in front of the camera, but to help them participate in sharing their voices by using the technology themselves. Her work has been supported by numerous grants and awards, including a Fulbright-Hays Fellowship and grants from the Corporation for Public Broadcasting, the Independent Television Service, the Los Angeles Department of Cultural Affairs, the Alaska Humanities Forum, the National Endowment for the Arts and the Humanities, and the Rockefeller Foundation. She has a Masters in Visual Anthropology from the University of Southern California.