BIO


Ellen Spiro is an American documentary filmmaker. She is a Guggenheim Fellow, a Fulbright Fellow, a two-time Rockefeller Fellow, and an Emmy Award winner. She won the National Board of Review's Best Documentary award. She was short-listed for an Academy Award in the category of Best Long Form Documentary and nominated for Producer's Guild award for Best Documentary. Spiro is known for making humorous social issue films for national and international television broadcasts (HBO, PBS, Sundance, BBC) and theatrical release.

Ellen Spiro

Ellen Spiro

In 2010 Spiro directed a nationally broadcast NOW on PBS special Fixing the Future with on-camera host David Brancaccio who visits communities across America using innovative approaches to confront economic crisis with new and sustainable models. Spiro directed a series of short animated films on "How the New Economy Works". In 2014 Spiro co-directed a feature adaptation of Fixing the Future which was theatrically released in over 50 cities.

In 2007 she released Body of War (co-directed and co-produced with Phil Donahue), which was short-listed for an Academy Award for Best Documentary and won Best Documentary of 2007 by the National Board of Review. Spiro directed a music video, "No More", an original song by Eddie Vedder that he wrote for Body of War. "No More" was released by Warner Brothers Music, broadcast on MTV and VH1 and viewed over a million times online. Spiro also co-produced the companion album called Body of War: Songs that Inspired an Iraq War Veteran featuring songs by Eddie Vedder, Ben Harper, John Lennon, Bruce Springsteen, Bright Eyes, Neil Young, Lupe Fiasco, Serj Tankian and Kimya Dawson. The album artwork was created by Shepard Fairey and profits from the album were donated to the Iraq Veterans Against the War.

Body of War premiered at the Toronto International Film Festival where it won an audience award and garnered a standing ovation. Eddie Vedder joined Ellen Spiro, Phil Donahue, Tomas Young and Cathy Smith onstage and performed a set of acoustic solo songs to a wildly cheering audience.

Spiro and Donahue were featured on a one-hour Bill Moyers Journal special discussing the film. Additionally, Ellen Spiro and Phil Donahue received a 2007 nomination for Best Documentary from the Producers Guild of America.

Spiro's other award-winning films have been shown broadcast on television worldwide on PBS, HBO, BBC, CBC and NHK and in the art world, including multiple screenings at the Museum of Modern Art and the Whitney Museum Biennial exhibition.

Spiro was awarded The Foundation of American Women in Radio and Television’s Gracie Award for Outstanding Director and Outstanding Documentary for Troop 1500, and is a recipient of a Guggenheim Fellowship, a National Endowment for the Arts Fellowship, a Jerome Foundation Fellowship, a commendation from the Texas State Legislature (Senate Resolution 545) and is a two-time Rockefeller Fellowship recipient. Her works are housed in the permanent collections of the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences in Los Angeles, the UCLA Film and Television Archive, Museum of Modern Art in New York, Peabody Collection of The Paley Center for Media and the New York Public Library.

Spiro is currently a tenured full Professor at the University of Texas Department of Radio-TV-Film where she teaches courses in documentary, experimental and music video production.