Laurie Kahn is interested in telling compelling, visually interesting stories that don’t normally find their way to the screen. She is currently a visiting scholar at Brandeis University’s Women’s Studies Research Center, where she is working out the structure of a new series of films exploring the history of women in America. This series will focus, in particular, on the lives of extraordinary, ordinary women in the past. She is also developing a project on The Mercury 13.
In 2003, Laurie completed the film Tupperware! The film won a Peabody Award and the Banff Festival Rockie prize for best history/biography film of the year.
Before making TUPPERWARE!, Laurie conceived of, wrote, and produced the film A Midwife’s Tale, based on the diary of 18th century midwife, Martha Ballard, and Laurel Thatcher Ulrich’s Pulitzer Prize-winning book (A Midwife’s Tale: The Life of Martha Ballard, Based on Her Diary, 1785-1812). Laurie’s film was the opening show of the 10th season of the PBS series The American Experience in 1998 and won a national Emmy for outstanding non-fiction as part of The American Experience’s 10th season. The film is now used in classrooms internationally in courses on women’s history, medical history, early American history, obstetrics, and midwifery.
Laurie also conceived of and produced an innovative website, DoHistory.org, that immerses its users in the process of piecing together the life of an “ordinary” person in the past.
During the 1980s and early 1990s, Laurie worked on many documentary series, including The American Experience (Senior Associate Producer), Eyes on the Prize: America’s Civil Rights Years 1954-1965 (Senior Researcher), and Frontline Special Report: Crisis in Central America (Assistant Producer).
Before working in film, she worked in radio for NPR’s evening news program All Things Considered. She has also edited books for MIT Press, written film reviews for the Times Literary Supplement and Time Out, and taught philosophy at Harvard and Tufts.