Maxi Cohen

Maxi Cohen has produced and directed an eclectic range of work for film, video and television. She has also been instrumental in initiating production and distribution systems for independent film and videomakers, and developing cable television as a means of local community expression.

In her works, Cohen examines American culture and finds the humor and pathos in everyday life. Her portraits of ordinary people have an immediacy and simplicity that is at times comic or disturbing; her unmediated documentary style allows her subjects to reveal themselves through direct interaction with the camera. From community-based and personal projects, she has turned to narratives and documentaries that, in her words, "explore the line between fiction and reality and expand the language of TV and film."

In the early 1970s, Cohen was director of New York's Video Access Center, the first public access facility in the country, and a founder of the community television Cape May Project. She was also a co-founder of the independent film distributor First Run Features and a founding member of the Independent Feature Project. In 1980, Cohen produced and directed Joe and Maxi, an award-winning feature-length documentary about her relationship with her father.

Cohen was born in 1949. She received both a B.F.A. and an M.A. from New York University. Cohen is the recipient of awards from the National Endowment for the Arts, the Jerome Foundation, the New York State Council on the Arts, and Art Matters, among other organizations. She has taught at the Pratt Institute, the New York University Graduate School of Education and The New School. Her videotapes have been exhibited at festivals and institutions including the Everson Museum, Syracuse, New York; The Museum of Modern Art, New York; World Wide Video Festival, The Hague; Atlanta Film & Video Festival; Venice Biennale; Athens International Film/Video Festival, Ohio; Whitney Museum of American Art, New York; Berlin Film Festival; Tokyo Film Festival; and the Festival du Nouveau Cinema et de la Video in Montreal. Cohen lives in Los Angeles.