Professor Deb Ellis is a documentary filmmaker who makes films that focus on social justice and activism. Her film, Howard Zinn: You Can’t Be Neutral on a Moving Train (2004) is an overview of social movements of the 20th century seen through the eyes of activist and historian Howard Zinn. The film was short listed for an Academy Award in the feature documentary category in 2005.

Earlier films include The FBI’s War on Black America, a rigorous examination of the FBI’s infamous COINTELPRO program. An underground classic, the film remains a relevant cautionary tale about the dangers of government surveillance. And,  , an experimental documentary employing competing words, images, and text that address women’s roles in traditional culture, the value of women’s work, the exploitation of immigrant women and the experience of immigration.

Her most recent film, Peace Has No Borders (2017) is yet another chapter, reflecting on the impact of social activism and resistance to war.

Ellis is currently working on End of Love about the epidemic of adolescent boys and men who are being convicted of downloading child pornography. Law enforcement officials say that these charges constitute the fastest growing prosecuted crimes in the US. What is going on?

Research and/or Creative Works

Current Work in Progress:

End of Love, Co-Director, Editor


Completed Works:

cover of Peace Has No Borders by Deb Ellis

Peace Has No Borders, Co-Producer, Co-Director, Editor, 2017, 64 min.


Furies, Producer/Director/Editor, 2010, 9:53 min.

Short experimental film that probes the possibility of extending a protective sheild to individuals afflicted with 'dumb luck.'

Furies YouTube

Howard Zinn: You Can't Be Neutral on a Moving Train, Co-Producer, Co-Director and Co-Editor with Denis Mueller, 2004, 78 min.

Distributor's Site
imdb site

"It's a far more effective leftist argument than the bombastic Fahrenheit 9/11.", Lou Lumenick, New York Post
cover of The FBI's War on Black America co-produced, co-directed, and co-edited by Deb Ellis and Denis Mueller

The FBI's War on Black America, Co-Producer, Co-Director and Co-Editor with Denis Mueller, 1990, 49 min.

Amazon Site (available on Prime)

cover of Unbidden Voices by Deb Ellis with Prajna Paramita Parasher

Unbidden Voices, with Prajna Paramita Paracher, 1999, 32 min.

Employing competing words, images, and text, the value of women's labor, the exploitation of immigrant women, and the experience of immigration.

On Vimeo


Areas of Expertise and/or Research

Film & video production, documentary film history and production,film festivals


  • MFA. Northwestern University


Office Location:

321 Old Mill

  1. Deb Ellis Projects

Courses Taught

  • Integrated Fine Arts: Film Begets Film,
  • Special Topics: Vermont International Film Festival
  • Film & Video Production I
  • Film & Video Production II
  • Internship
  • Independent Study
  • Documentary & Avant-garde Cinema
  • Improvisation & Collaboration
  • Seminar in Film & Television: Documentary Theory & Practice
  • Introduction Special Topics: Documentary Films Representation.