Barbara Kopple made her directorial debut filming under extremely harsh conditions, with a miners’ strike in Kentucky. Her persistence paid off, nonetheless, as her documentary «Harlan County USA» received the Academy Award for Best Documentary in 1977. Her success did not end there – 14 years later, Kopple received her second Academy Award for «American Dream» (1990) which explored the cost of recession on human life. One of America’s most prominent documentary makers, Kopple is a guest of the 9th Thessaloniki Documentary Festival. Organized by Dimitris Eipidis, the event runs March 16 to 25. What makes 60-year-old Barbara Kopple stand out from other documentary filmmakers is the way she narrates the stories that she chooses to tell as well as her in-depth and multidimensional approach to characters. According to Kopple, documentaries are all about life and the filmmaker must be clever enough, flexible enough and willing enough to follow the narrative. Kopple will not be the only prominent guest of the film festival, which will also host Julia Reichert with Steven Bognar, as well as John Alpert. Reichert, a guru of American independent cinema, is credited with two Academy Award nominations. Steven Bognar has managed, with his relatively recent activity in the field of independent documentary filmmaking, to be recognized as one of the genre’s most promising representatives. Their first joint project, titled «A Lion in the House,» tells the story of the uneven battle of five children and their families against cancer. American director, producer and reporter John Alpert is well known for his historical and exclusive reports from Cambodia, Nicaragua, China, Russia, Iran and Iraq, but also for his interviews with Fidel Castro and Saddam Hussein.