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Forward 50 2018

Julie Cohen

For The Love Of RBG

With all of the love out there for Supreme Court justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg, it was only a matter of time before a documentary came along. 2018’s “RBG” gave us a long-awaited cinematic look at RBG’s career that was met with near-universal acclaim — and even gave publicity to RBG’s personal trainer and his workout regiment for the 85-year-old jurist. One of the women behind the film is Julie Cohen, who co-directed and produced it with fellow Columbia School of Journalism professor Betsy West.

Cohen began her professional life as a producer for the courtroom television network Court TV in the 1990s. She left the world of TV to get a masters degree from Yale Law School, but returned to television in 1998 as a staff producer for “Dateline NBC.” For her work on that show, she eventually won an Individual Achievement Award for Best News Producer from American Women in Radio and Television.

In 2007 Cohen started her own production company, Better Than Fiction Productions. She has directed seven documentaries, including “American Veteran,” about a wounded army sergeant adapting to life on the home front, and “The Sturgeon Queens” about the multi-generational family behind the Lower East Side’s famous Russ and Daughters. (Ginsburg had a cameo appearance in the latter film.)

Cohen already has three New York regional Emmys, and she and West walked away from 2018’s Critics’ Choice Documentary Awards with a win for Best Political Documentary for “RBG.” With the big awards season on the way, we’re confident Cohen will nab more nominations and even some wins. If not, we’ll channel our inner RBG and dissent.

— PJ Grisar

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