Frankenstein has six documentaries in the New Day collection, Tracing Roots, Eating Alaska, No Loitering, A Matter of Respect, Miles from the Border, Carved from the Heart. She directs a non-profit called Artchange Inc. dedicated to using art and storytelling for social change and has coordinated and participated in community arts and school-based media projects from South Central Los Angeles and Lexington Kentucky to Kake and Savoonga, Alaska. Frankenstein has exhibited her still photography nationally and internationally and has helped her spouse sail a 30-foot wooden gaff-rigged ketch sail boat from Mexico to New Zealand. She has a Masters in Visual Anthropology from the University of Southern California. Grants and awards include a Fulbright - Hays Fellowship and grants from the Los Angeles Department of Cultural Affairs and the National Endowment for the Arts and the Humanities. To learn more about Ellen's current projects, visit. Artchange Inc's website at

Frankenstein’s latest addtion to New Day is Tracing Roots a portrait of Delores Churchill, a Haida elder and master weaver, on a search to understand an ancient spruce root hat found in a retreating glacier. It is a story about intellectual property and cultural heritage, healthy aging, beauty and legacy. 

After completing Tracing Roots, Frankenstein launched an episodic short film series based in her home town, Sitka, Alaska. 14 Miles is an experiment in short-form storytelling. Serious, wry, curious: it’s about digging and uncovering what might get passed by, even in a remote town with only 14 miles of road from one end to the other. The short films address both what brings people together and what divides and challenges the community. The stories ask the following questions: What are the places and people that make up a community? What are the stories that are unique to a particular place and time, what is going on in this moment that has never happened before? How do we share our perspectives with each other in a contemporary time? Learn more at

Frankenstein is currently working on a documentary called Cruise Boom exploring the impact of rapid growth in cruise tourism on a small town. Currently in production the film asks questions including how do you go from an extra low passenger-count in pandemic times to more visitors than ever before? How will the quest for economic development affect the character of the town?


Films by Ellen Frankenstein

Tracing Roots

A heartfelt glimpse into the world of Haida elder and weaver, Delores Churchill and a discussion generating documentary about the multilayered meaning of an object.

A Matter of Respect

In this stereotype-breaking documentary about the meaning of tradition and change people speak frankly about the challenges they face balancing their lives in two cultures.

Carved from the Heart

One man loses his son to a cocaine overdose. Grieving, Stan Marsden, a Tsimpsean wood carver decides to create a totem pole in his son's memory and invites the town of Craig, Alaska to help. Before he is done, the pole becomes a communal project, bringing people of diverse backgrounds and ages together.

Eating Alaska

A humorous and serious exploration into what we put into our mouths, set on the Alaskan Frontier.


Miles from the Border

Manuela and Ben Aparicio, sister and brother, brought by their parents in search of a better future, arrived in the United States from a rural village in Mexico to an ethnically divided community in California.

No Loitering

No Loitering is an intimate portrait of teenagers trying to understand their world and their possibilities.