Raised in Scarsdale, New York
Began making films in a clinical psychology class in college
Worked professionally as an editor, soundwoman and camerawoman on documentary films often for the Maysles brothers
Was camerawoman on a video about the Young Republicans for Nixon at the Republican convention and soundwoman on film about the Year of the Woman at the Democratic convention
Was one of the 18 anonymous directors of "Winter Solider"
Moved to Harlan County in Kentucky to film union struggle at the Brookside mine
Produced and directed documentary, "Harlan County, USA"; film shown at the New York Film Festival; cost $350,000
Announced fictional feature project under the working title, "Crystal Lee", based on Crystal Lee Jordan's struggle to unionize workers in J P Stevens textile mill in Roanoke Rapids NC and her gradual politicization over a five year period; Kopple was to produce and direct; initial script was by Nancy Dowd and Rip Torn had been signed to portray the union organizer; Kopple had researched working conditions when she began a two-week stint as a towel folder in a Southern mill in March 1978, earning $2.25/hour for a ten-hour day
"Crystal Lee" abandoned when Martin Ritt began production on "Norma Rae", loosely based on the same woman and the same mill workers' strike
Co-directed documentary footage of concert film, "No Nukes", with Haskell Wexler
Directed first fiction film and first TV movie, "Keeping On" for PBS's "American Playhouse", which dealt with unionization of textile mill workers in the south
Produced and directed "Fallen Champ: The Untold Story of Mike Tyson," a rare primetime documentary for NBC-TV for which she was given creative control
Earned widespread praise for "Wild Man Blues", a documentary about the 1996 European tour of Woody Allen's jazz band
Executive produced and directed "Friends for Life: Living With AIDS" (The DIsney Channel)
Signed to make fictional feature directorial debut "In the Boom Boom Room", adapted from David Rabe's play
Helmed the documentary "My Generation"
Directed documentary set in the Hamptons (lensed 2001) for ABC TV; set to air in 2002
Produced an HBO documentary "American Standoff"