Daring. Provocative. Unforgettable.

Original Thinkers seeks out films that look to explore and understand the big ideas of our time.


The Big Idea Theatre

All of our shows but number 7 will take place in this theater, which is located in the Telluride Conference Center at the core of Mountain Village. Doors will open 30 minutes before each show so grab a seat, come listen to some terrific live music and get ready to dive in …

 
 
Mr-wash-web-ready.png

Mr. Wash

Directed by: Marisa Aveling

Runtime: 18 minutes

In 1997, Mr. Wash was given a mandatory life sentence for a non-violent drug offense, and in 2016 was set free by President Barack Obama. While in prison, Mr. Wash taught himself how to paint, crafting thousands of hyper-realistic artworks that told the stories he saw around him. This short documentary tells the inspiring story of Mr. Wash and his return home to his family in Compton, CA, making the case for creativity as an optimistic force against the backdrop of America's broken criminal justice system.

 

 
OT19-FILM-Secrets Lives of Muslims - Richard McKinney.jpg

Secret Life of Muslims: Richard McKinney

Directed by: Josh Seftel 

Runtime: 5 minutes

After serving in the Middle East for the Marines, Mac McKinney came home to the US, angry with Muslims and planned to bomb a mosque in Muncie, Indiana. After going to an Islamic Center, he was given a Koran, which changed his life, sending him on a new path where he actually converted and became Muslim. 

OT19-FILM-Lost and Found-web-ready.png

Lost and Found

Directed by: Orlando von Einsiedel

Runtime: 21 minutes

Rohingya refugees fleeing ethnic cleansing from the brutal regime in Myanmar, has resulted in an exodus of more than 700,000 Rohingya from their homes into the largest resettlement camps in the world. Lost and Found, directed by Academy Award winner Orlando von Einsiedel (“The White Helmets”, “Virunga"), tells the uplifting story of Kamal Hussein, a Rohingya who has dedicated his life to taking children who get separated and lost from their parents in this sprawling camp and reuniting them.

 

 
OT19-FILM-Lowland Kids.jpg

Lowland Kids

Directed by: Sandra Winther

Runtime: 22 minutes

As climate change erases the Louisiana coast, the last two teenagers on Isle de Jean Charles fight to stay on an island that's been their family home for generations.

 
OT19-FILM-Shoulders Deep.jpg

Shoulders Deep 

Directed by: John Fiege

Runtime: 7 minutes

Shoulders Deep tells the story of Aniya Wingate, a 17 year old dancer from Houston, Texas, who was displaced from her home in 2017 by Hurricane Harvey. This short doc works to understand her extremely challenging experience through dance, poetry, and performance. Collaborating with her mentor Walter Hull, Aniya choreographs several dance pieces that convey the fear and despair she had to deal with during Harvey - and afterwards as well - as she found comfort and shelter post-storm. With the global climate crisis creating more refugees regularly, Aniya’s story of upheaval is going to become more universal and this film will serve as both caution and comfort to those on the front line of natural disasters across the world.

 

 
OT19-FILM-Turning Tables.jpg

Turning Tables

Directed by: Chrisann Hessing

Runtime: 15 minutes

Music is ever-changing and evolving with genres we have never imagined coming into existence including PowWow Techno. It’s the brainchild of Joshua DePerry, also known as Classic Roots who is a Native Canadian mixing the latest beats with indigenous influences.

 

 
OT19-FILM-Stanley Stellar Here for this Reason.jpg

Stanley Stellar: Here for this Reason

Directed by: Eric Leven

Runtime: 15 minutes

The short documentary, Stanley Stellar: Here for This Reason delves into the story of Stanley Stellar, a singular character in the gay rights movement who chronicled its history over forty years with his camera. The film both explains how the world of gay men changed in New York but also what Stellar saw and captured along the way.

 

 
OT19-FILM-St Louis Superman.jpg

St. Louis Superman

Directed by: Smriti Mundhra and Sami Khan

Runtime: 28 minutes

Bruce Franks Jr. is unlike any other politician you have ever met. A 33-year-old battle rapper, he is also a state representative from St. Louis, Missouri who is known as Superman to his constituents. Inspired by the events of Ferguson activist, he has overcome unspeakable loss to become one of the most exciting and unapologetic young leaders in the country. This short documentary explores the mental trauma he’s had to deal with since his 9-year-old brother was shot and killed in front of him telling his story as he works to become a leader for his community.

 

 

Show 8: The Past Never Lets Go

Recorder: The Marion Stokes Project

Directed by: Matt Wolf

Runtime: 87 Minutes

Marion Stokes knew that information was critical and as an African-American intellectual activist, she wanted to make sure that we kept as much of it as we could. Taking matters into her own hands, or her own VCRs, Stokes recorded more than 70,000 individual VHS tapes that captured the early days of cable news and so much other television that captured wars and other catastrophes. This unmatched archive tells us so much about who we are as a country but also delves into an astonishingly fascinating documentary character whose story is brilliantly told by director Matt Wolf.

 

 
OT19-FILM-Gloria.jpg

Gloria

Directed by: Stewart Thorndike

Runtime: 5 minutes

Movements are often defined by images and the photo of a young and defiant Gloria Richardson pushing away a National Guardsman’s rifle during a 60’s civil rights protest is iconic. This sharp doc, playing as part of the show Character of Our Country, gives us the context around the photo and spends time with Gloria today.

Crisis of Confidence

(a work in progress)

Directed by: Gabriel Lifton-Zoline

Runtime:  minutes

In the summer of 1979, Jimmy Carter gave a major speech from the Oval Office that was ostensibly about the energy crisis but, in fact, was about something much more important. He believed that after the concurrent nightmares of Vietnam, Watergate and the energy shortages, America was in a “crisis that strikes at the very heart and soul and spirit of our national will.” Crisis of Confidence, directed by OT co-founder Gabriel Lifton-Zoline with a special screening in Show 9, Character of Our Country, dissects Carter's prescient speech of forty years ago, and reveals just how relevant and resonant his words still are today.


 

 

Show 10: The Big Idea

OT19-FILM-My Father_s House.jpg

My Father’s House

(a work in progress)

Directed by: Rob Shearer

Runtime: 17 Minutes

Church attendance is declining across the nation so one church in Aurora, CO decided to deal with this challenge by taking the cross off the wall and opening their doors to immigrants from across the world, giving them a sacred space to celebrate their holy traditions.


Synapse Theatre

We are playing an assortment of films at the Nugget located on Main St Telluride starting Wednesday October 2 through October 6. OT pass holders get priority access but tickets are available at the door for $10.

 
 

THURSDAY 8PM

OT19-FILM-Learning to Skateboard in a Warzone (if you_re a girl).jpg

Learning to Skateboard in a Warzone
(if you're a girl)

Directed by: Carol Dysinger

Runtime: 40 minutes

Afghanistan, constantly roiled by sectarian violence, is a tough place to make a movie but Carol Dysinger’s documentary about young Afghan girls learning to read, write - and skateboard - in Kabul, offers some peace and real hope amidst the mayhem. Executive Produced by Orlando Von Einsiedel (who directed Lost and Found in Show 9, Humanity Endures), this short documentary explores a place called Skateistan, which recruits kids from poor neighborhoods to come and shred there while also teaching them to read, write and think.

OT19-FILM-Into The Fire.jpg

Into the Fire

Directed by: Orlando von Einsendel

Runtime: 23 minutes

One of the biggest scourges of war are undetonated land mines and as ISIS began retreating last year, it left behind a deadly crop of improvised explosives in fields, homes and even under children’s toys. Hana Mori leads a very tough all-female team of Yazidi mine clearers working to rid the land of these deadly devices and heal themselves in the process.

OT19-FILM-Lost and Found-web-ready.png

Lost and Found

Directed by: Orlando von Einsendel

Runtime: 21 minutes

Rohingya refugees fleeing ethnic cleansing from the brutal regime in Myanmar, has resulted in an exodus of more than 700,000 Rohingya from their homes into the largest resettlement camps in the world. Lost and Found, directed by Academy Award winner Orlando von Einsiedel (“The White Helmets”, “Virunga"), tells the uplifting story of Kamal Hussein, a Rohingya who has dedicated his life to taking children who get separated and lost from their parents in this sprawling camp and reuniting them.

FRIDAY 8PM

OT19-FILM-American Factory.jpg

American Factory

Directed by: Julia Reichert, Steven Bognar 

Runtime: 115 minutes

Acclaimed filmmakers Julia Reichert and Steven Bognar saw a story where few would have. diving into the wild and unpredictable narrative of a new factory being opened by a Chinese billionaire in an old GM plant in Dayton, Ohio. Produced by Netflix and Higher Ground Productions (the Obama’s new production company), the resulting documentary, American Factory, captures the culture clash that comes when the Chinese working culture collides with its American counterpart. This creates a fascinating dichotomy that looks at the state of the global economy along with the deep and ingrained cultural issues that abound in a situation like this.

SUNDAY 8PM

Ideas for All

A night of exciting films and speakers showcasing the best of OT 2019.


MORE FILM ANNOUNCEMENTS
COMING SOON…