Karen Kramer has been a documentary filmmaker since 1978, when her groundbreaking film about a small snake handling church in Appalachia was released to widespread acclaim. Since then, she has independently produced a dozen other films about rituals, traditions, and communities around the globe, including such award-winning documentaries as The Jolo Serpent Handlers, Legacy of the Spirits, To Serve the Gods, The Last of the New York Cigar Rollers, Rice and Peas, Coney Island Mermaid, Celebration, Days of Awe, Haitian Song, Moko Jumbie, Breaking Leaves, Children of Shadows, and The Ballad of Greenwich Village. Her films have been seen worldwide in over 50 countries on six continents.
Karen Kramer’s films have received wide distribution both domestically and internationally. They have been televised, in whole or in part, on NBC, Fox 5, WNET, The Oprah Show, CNN, WLIW, and dozens of venues overseas. They have been screened at such prestigious showcases as the Museum of Modern Art, the Whitney Museum, the Smithsonian Institution, the Field Museum, and hundreds of others. More than 150 universities (including Harvard, Yale, Cornell, Stanford, Princeton, and Brown) show her films on a continual basis. She has lectured and toured extensively with her work, and has appeared on dozens of radio programs.
Ms. Kramer has four times received grants from the National Endowment for the Arts, as well as awards from the New York State Council on the Arts, the New York Council for the Humanities, the George Soros Foundation, UNICEF, and many others. She holds a B.F.A. in film production from New York University, and teaches in the communications department at the New School for Social Research in Greenwich Village. She has been on the board of directors of many film organizations.
In addition to her film work, Karen Kramer is a free-lance writer who has written numerous articles about film and other subjects for such publications as The Village Voice, New York Newsday, The Daily News, Time Out New York, the Villager, the New York Post, Woman’s Own, The Independent, and many others.