The Janes Documentary

Original Thinkers 2022 Festival

about this event

Original Thinkers is an exquisite four-day festival that looks at ideas and how they intersect with our individual stories. This unforgettable event takes place in the stunning mountains of Telluride Colorado at the peak of the fall foliage. The carefully curated programming is a vibrant mix of speakers, film, art and experience that leaves at indelible impression on its audience.

Come for Original Thinkers and leave inspired, hopeful and with a new set of lifelong friends who believe like you do that we can build a beautiful world that works for everyone.


Big Idea


The Big Idea pass gains you access to all festival shows, OT Spotlights, and the Nerve Center (hospitality), as well as some of our worthy diversion experiences happening throughout the weekend in Telluride.

Student & Educator


The Student & Educator pass is for high school and college students and teachers.  The pass provides access to all the shows and OT Spotlights.  Student ID and educator affiliation required for purchase.

Eureka Patron


The Eureka patron pass is an all-access pass that includes all the benefits of The Big Idea Pass plus priority admission and reserved seating, the OT brunch with festival speakers and a special musical performance, priority sign-up for worthy diversion experiences, and a special OT swag bag. By purchasing this pass you are supporting Original Thinkers’ mission and helping us share impactful thinking year-round.

Lineup | more to be announced


Brit Barron is a pastor and author of the book Worth It: Overcome Your Fears and Embrace the Life You Were Meant For, which is about her journey from being raised in a conservative church setting, becoming a pastor of a mega–church at age 26 and then leaving it all to find her truth when she came out, married her wife and built a new life.

Emma Pildes has a personal connection to the Janes as both her father and brothers figure into the plot of the film.  She is an Emmy-nominated filmmaker, making her directorial debut with The Janes.  She has an extensive background and boundless love for non-fiction storytelling, which shines through in this powerful documentary.

An avid researcher, Florence Williams is wonderfully curious about the world around her. Her renowned book, The Nature Fix looked at the healing power of nature and now she has taken all her skills to focus on grief. Heartbreak: A Personal and Scientific Journey tells her own story about how her husband left her unexpectedly. She decided to process her pain by diving into how heartbreak and grief actually manifest in our lives and bodies. The physicality of loss is real, but there are also ways to heal ourselves through finding awe in this world.

Hannah Sharghi lives in Washington, DC and is working relentlessly to bring her father home from Iran where he is being held captive by the regime.  Her family’s story is depicted in the film, Bring Them Home.

This is technically Raye Zaragoza’s second time at OT, following a virtual festival performance in 2020. She will returns to the festival with a live performance and conversation about her work and what it means to make music as a Japanese-American, Mexican, Indigenous woman living in America. Her latest album Woman in Color explores how complicated this can be. “There is a part of [my family] that wants to be proud of who we are, but there’s a part that’s been pressured to fit in and assimilate.”

Kate Woodsome is an editor at the Washington Post and a producer of Bring Them Home. She also covered the January 6th insurrection, focusing on the dangers of encroaching authoritarianism and the consequential violence – something she saw up close at the Capitol on that horrible historic day.

Sheila White works for the Street Sense newspaper that chronicles what life is like on the streets and has her own compelling journey of working to change her life situation.

Robin Hauser is a filmmaker who works on issue-based films and directed the feature documentary $avvy about how important it is for women to have control over their finances. She has spoken on the TED and TEDx stage, at the White House, on Capital Hill, and worldwide on topics including ethical AI, diversity and inclusion, women empowerment and gender equality.

Tia Lessin is an Academy Award and Emmy Award-nominated filmmaker who finds important stories in America that have historically gone untold.  She joins us this year as co-director of The Janes, sharing an ever-pertinent lens around women’s resistance in the name of physical autonomy.

The Janes – These women were young and bold fifty years ago when they were hard at work providing safe abortions for women in the Chicago area. Now, they are less young but just as bold as they offer lessons from their own lives for the next generation of activists who will work to save lives in an unjust society.

Yanely Espinal is a character in the documentary $avvy and works to create a better financial situation for Latina women. She was born and raised in Brooklyn, NY, and is one of the first in her family to graduate college.  She currently serves as the Director of Education Outreach for Next Gen Personal Finance and spends her spare time offering financial advice on her personal YouTube channel, MissBeHelpful.

Dr. Ashlee Cunsolo is a leading voice internationally on climate change and how it intersects with our mental health and ecological grief. She is a regular contributor to media and policy and is the editor of Mourning Nature: Hope at the Heart of Ecological Grief and Loss.  Cunsolo is a passionate researcher and environmental advocate, working with Indigenous communities and leaders across Canada to further understand and advocate for policy changes that must be implemented to improve how climate change impacts physical and mental health, among countless other initiatives.

Dr. Carl June is a renowned immunologist and oncologist, currently serving as a Professor in Immunotherapy in the Department of Pathology and Laboratory Medicine at the University of Pennsylvania. After losing his first wife to cancer, he has dedicated his career to finding a cure to this scourge, spearheading innovative research and discovering breakthrough treatment via cellular immunotherapies. He is a featured subject in the film, Of Medicine and Miracles.

Vishaka N. Desai is the author of World As Family: A Journey of Multi-Rooted Belongings, a memoir about why living a global life is more important than ever. She ran The Asia Society and is now at Columbia University as a senior adviser to the President on global issues.

Laura Waters Hinson is an award-winning filmmaker who serves as the director of the Community Voice Lab in Washington, DC. Her films focus on personal journeys, exploring themes of reconciliation, human resilience and entrepreneurship. She joins us as director of the short film Street Reporter, in which she steps outside into her own town to capture the power and purpose that community newspapers can offer to those experiencing homelessness.

Leah Podzimek is a freelance arts administrator, creative producer, and performer based in Denver, CO.  She is also a trained operatic soprano, and will be performing with “Interplay”, an idea born out of conversation and a passion to bring the performance arts and fine arts together in connected and meaningful expression.

Rabbi Irwin Kula is a seventh-generation rabbi who accurately self-identifies as a “disruptive spiritual innovator.” He currently serves as president The National Center for Learning and Leadership, a think-tank committed to making Jewish a Public Good. His ongoing work with spiritual leaders, businesses and organizations around the world inspires people to live with greater passion, purpose, creativity and compassion

Ray Whitehouse is a filmmaker who has extensive experience sharing stories at the point where journalism meets documentary film.  He was part of the Washington Post team that was awarded the Pulitzer Prize for reporting about the Capitol insurrection and its aftermath.  This year he comes to OT as co-director of the film Bring Them Home, which follows the family of Emad Sharghi, one of a growing number of Americans being held hostage by foreign governments.

After seeing extensive combat during the Iraq War from 2003-2006, Tom Voss struggled to navigate life back home and was diagnosed with PTSD. Frustrated by the inadequate treatment offered by the VA, he embarked in 2013 on a 2700 mile walk from Milwaukee to Los Angeles in pursuit of his own healing (as seen in the documentary, Almost Sunrise). He is now the founder of the cooperative nonprofit Ojai Earth, focusing on regenerating people and the planet through holistic practices, particularly the power of mindfulness. His compassionate and educated lens offers some real solace to those who have experienced trauma in their military service and extends that to all people who participate in his practice.

As documented in the short film Na Ponta dos Pés, Tuany Nascimento started a dance company for you girls at age 23 in the heart of one of Rio de Janeiro’s most dangerous favelas. She continues to work to give these young women a creative outlet, so that they might have a better future as well as a safe space from the violent world that surrounds them.


Bring Them Home

Bring Them Home – Americans Emad and Bahareh Shargi never expected their family to be torn apart while visiting Iran, their country of birth. But when Iranian officials hold Emad hostage on bogus espionage charges, Bahareh and her daughters are forced into unlikely roles. They must navigate Iran’s authoritarian system and U.S. politics to try to free Emad from being a pawn in nuclear negotiations.

Na Ponta dos Pés (On Pointe)

Na Ponta dos Pés (On Pointe) – The inspiring story of Tuany, a 23-year-old ballet dancer who started a dance company for young girls in the middle of one of Rio De Janeiro’s most dangerous favelas. She gives students hope for a better future and a safe space away from the violent world around them.

Street Reporter

Street Reporter – Sheila White, 58, dreams of becoming a photojournalist and escaping her life of homelessness. Yearning to make this change, she studies at a local university while completing homework late into the night at the women’s shelter. Street Reporter is a deeply intimate, character-based film produced with community collaborators that provides a window into the power of community journalism in one woman’s life, casting a vision of the re-humanizing effects of life’s most basic need: a place to call home.

Of Medicine and Miracles

This powerful film follows two intersecting stories, both connected to curing cancer. The audience finds itself up close with a desperate family, desperately needing some sort of treatment that will save the life of Emily Whitehouse, who was diagnosed with an incredibly aggressive kind of Leukemia at age 6. The other story follows Dr. Carl June and his colleagues as we learn about their own tumultuous and painfully personal journey of experimental research his team has relentlessly executed to find a new solution to this old disease. Tied together by Oscar-winning filmmaker Ross Kaufman (Born into Brothels, Tigerland, E-Team and more), this film is an unexpected emotional and scientific journey that will leave you feeling frustrated, empathetic and above all, hopeful.

Na Ponta dos Pés (On Pointe)

Na Ponta dos Pés (On Pointe) – The inspiring story of Tuany, a 23-year-old ballet dancer who started a dance company for young girls in the middle of one of Rio De Janeiro’s most dangerous favelas. She gives students hope for a better future and a safe space away from the violent world around them.

The Janes

The Janes – These women were young and bold fifty years ago when they were hard at work providing safe abortions for women in the Chicago area. Now, they remain just as bold as they offer lessons from their own lives for the next generation of activists who will work to save lives in an unjust society


This informative and empowering film explores how and why our financial culture sidelines women, and tells a new story about women who are taking matters into their own hands. $AVVY dives into the intersections of money and gender, while offering advice from experts in the field about our shared question: What can I do, right now, to be smarter with my money?