Bob Dylan's "the times they are a changin'" perfectly describes the multi-faceted life of Penny Cooper whose life as a celebrated criminal defense attorney, art collector, feminist and philanthropist mirrors the transforming decades during which she has lived. Penny shares stories of her life against the stunning backdrop of her world-class collection of art by women and extensive personal archive of photos and press clippings. Archival stills and footage and interviews with her life partner Rena, her former law partners Jim and Cris, BAM/PFA director Lawrence Rinder, and her nephews Colin and Kelly, and others fill out the picture of this trail blazing woman.

Filmmaker Bio(s)

The films of Elizabeth Sher (director/producer) have followed the arc of her life: from a satire on toilet training (The Training, 1979) while trying to train one of her children; through pre- pubescent dating (Too Young to Date, 1981); menopause (Approaching the 14th Moon, 1992); male menopause (When Women Go Through Menopause, Where to Men Go?, 1996); and the baby boomers and the boom in cosmetic surgery (Younger, Thinner, Smoother, 2000). Her interest in art, aging and women first converged in a profile of septuagenarian sculptor Bella Feldman (Bella Bella, 2007). Penny continues the tradition celebrating trailblazing women who survived the challenges of gender bias and sexism to create a successful, full and creative life.

Sher was the Fall 2012 Roy Dean Filmmaking Grant winner. Other grants include the National Endowment for the Arts, The American Film Institute, The Western Regional Media Arts fellowship Fund, The Zellerbach Family Fund, The Anheuser-Busch Foundation, The Pacific Pioneer Fund and the Union of Independent Colleges of Art. Her films have screened at festivals both nationally and internationally including The Independents Film Festival, FL; Cinema of Jazz Festival, Toronto, Canada; St. Louis International Film Festival, MO; International Short Film Festival, Berlin, Germany; Raindance Festival of Independent Film, London, England; 10th Annual Black Film Festival, Dallas, TX; Baltimore Women's Film Festival, MD; London International Film Festival; San Francisco International Film Festival, CA; The National Educations Film and Video Festival, CA (Silver Screen Award) and Worldfest Charleston, SC. Sher's films have been broadcast in the US on PBS stations and Oxygen and the American Public Television Network in the US and internationally in Israel, Portugal, France and the Netherlands.

In addition to her film work, Sher taught artistic uses of graphic computer programs and media arts for two decades at California College of the Arts where she is now Professor Emeritus. Her artwork pushes the visual envelope layering film footage and stills with handwork in traditional drawing and painting materials. Sher's work is in the permanent collections of the Fine Arts Museums of San Francisco, The Oakland Museum of California, the United States Information Agency, Carnegie Mellon University and many private collections nationally. Recent exhibitions include New Media Combinations at the Berkeley Art Center; Evolutionary Processes, a solo show at the Sebastopol Center for the Arts; Codex International Book Fair (with KALA Art Institute); Seager Gray Gallery, Mill Valley; Sandy Gallery, OR; Bookworks San Francisco; Tarrant County College, TX; University of Dallas, TX; Westmont Museum of Art, CA; Hensell Gallery, MN; and Art Without Walls, NY.

More information at Filmography and Full CV upon request.

Film Details
  • Country(ies): USA
  • Language(s): English
  • Year: 2014
  • Running time: 30 minutes
  • Director(s): Elizabeth Sher
  • Producer(s): Elizabeth Sher
  • Writer(s): Elizabeth Sher
  • Cinematographer(s): Maggie Simpson Adams, Elizabeth Sher
  • Editor(s): Jessica Sison, Elizabeth Sher
  • Music: David Railkin
  • With: Penny Cooper, Lawrence Rinder, Rena Rosenwasser, Jacqi Tully, Cris Arguedas, Paul Pinney, Colin Cooper, Kellin Cooper
  • Website:

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