Deb Ellis

Time Period

1940 to Today

Subject Categories

Activist, Arts, Education

Notable Facts

Independent filmmaker best known for the documentary "You Can't be Neutral on a Moving Train", which covers the life and work of activist and historian Howard Zinn. President of the Vermont International Film Festival and faculty member at several Vermont colleges.

Personal Information

Primary Residence

Burlington

Historical Significance

Deb Ellis is a teacher, filmmaker, and social activist. Born in Vermont, Deb spent 14 years in Chicago working in the independent film community before returning to her home state and bringing her knowledge of documentary filmmaking and social awareness to local colleges all over the state. Deb has taught in a number of colleges and universities around Vermont, including UVM, Burlington College, Middlebury, and Champlain.

In 2004, Deb Ellis and fellow filmmaker Denis Mueller co-produced and directed the documentary "You Can't be Neutral on a Moving Train," which covers the life and work of activist and historian Howard Zinn. The documentary premiered at the Vermont International Film Festival in 2003 with Howard Zinn attending for a panel discussion after the screening. The film went on to win "Best Documentary" at the Provincetown International Film Festival.

Currently Deb Ellis is acting board president of the Vermont International Film Festival, and is a member of the University of Vermont film department. Her current endeavor is the documentary "Peace has no Borders", a film which studies Iraq War veterans and resistors who chose to flee across the Canadian border in lieu of deployment.

Organizations or Movements

  • President of the Vermont International Film Festival
  • Vermont Arts Council

Occupations

  • Filmmaker
  • College professor
  • Social Activist

Education

  • BA, Lawrence University
  • MFA, Northwestern University

Additional Information (Bibliography)

  • Middlebury College Profile Link

  • Erik Esckilson interview of Deb Ellis and Denis Mueller Link

  • Seven Days article on VTIFF 2003 documentary premiere Link

  • First Run Features- Interview with Deb Ellis and Denis Mueller Link

  • Vermont International Film Festival Webpage Link

  • "Voices of Vermonters" Film clip (Co-directed by Deb Ellis and Nora Jacobson) Link

  • The Vermont Arts Council Link

  • University of Vermont Faculty Profile Link

Additional Images

Deb Ellis. Courtesy of The Vermont Arts Council
Deb Ellis. Courtesy of The Vermont Arts Council
Deb Ellis and Denis Mueller
Deb Ellis and Denis Mueller