Greens Farms Academy is a PreK-12, coed school in Westport, CT

Filmmaker Alumnus Returns to GFA

Chris Temple

Chris Temple ’07 returned to the Greens Farms campus Friday to discuss his two new movies, The Undocumented Lawyer and 5 Years North, and his career in filmmaking with the Upper School. 

Temple is the founder of Optimist, a non-profit studio in Los Angeles. He's best known for directing feature documentaries released globally by Netflix, HBO, Hulu, and PBS, and seen over 35 million times. His work at Optimist has helped to raise over $91 million for non-profits working on financial empowerment and refugee education efforts. Temple was also recognized alongside Bill Gates and Angelina Jolie as one of the Top 100 Visionary Leaders by Real Leaders Magazine.  

The PBS release of Five Years North is Tuesday, October 5 at 8 pm ET. The film can be streamed on the PBS app or at this link after the premiere. On October 6 at 7 pm ET, there will be a live panel discussion on immigrant mental health with Temple's co-director, the editor and co-producer of the film, and mental health expert Elena Zarandona. Register here for the panel discussion.

Throughout his morning on campus, Temple met with students in various classes, discussing their work and creative processes before his Friday Speaker address to the Upper School.

Chris Temple and student

"Has anyone ever told you to follow your passion?" he began, asking as students to raise their hands. "I want you to remove that advice from your brain. For me, it created this fear that I didn't know what my passion was yet [while in Upper School]."

While this piece of advice is meant to be an 'entry point' to finding what interests students, Temple explained that rather than searching for passions, students should begin searching for a 'Wait, what?' moment. "It's this moment of curiosity. [The 'Wait, what?' moment] is what started me on the journey you'll see today."

Watch Temple's full address below.