Margaret Hixon was born in Georgia, grew up in the Midwest; she graduated in English, University of Wisconsin, and later took a graduate degree at Reed College. In Portland, Oregon, she taught college English and studied film and film production at the American Film Institute in Beverly Hills, in London, and at the Anthropology Film Center in Santa Fe. Filming the community of Russian Old Believers in Marion County at last became possible with a focus on folk expressions of a wedding ceremony. The documentary Old Believers, was a finalist at the American Film Festival in 1982 and received a Golden Eagle from the State Department. It was shown widely in Russia during an anthropologist friend's lecture tour. Later a parallel film followed of a wedding in a traditional Hispanic community in New Mexico, Celebratión del Matrimonio in 1986. The next year she moved to New Zealand and from there visited the Tongan Islands, which led to research for a biography of Salote Tupou III, published as Salote, Queen of Paradise (Dunedin, New Zealand: University of Otago Press, 2000). An earlier short film, Muttonbird, is held at the New Zealand Film Archive.