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David Holbrooke is a filmmaker and cultural entrepreneur, as well as the host and founder of Original Thinkers, a new Ideas festival located in Telluride, CO. In this new venture, he seeks to illuminate the role that storytelling plays in a changing society through filmmaking and convening people for the new festival.

In his previous role as the festival director of Telluride Mountainfilm he inspired and entertained thousands of people every year with his innovative programming and watched nearly three thousand documentaries over the course of a decade. 

Holbrooke has made many films, including The Diplomat, which he directed about his father, Ambassador Richard Holbrooke. The film aired on HBO and Holbrooke promoted it on The Daily Show, Morning Joe and All Things Considered, amongst other outlets. The National Board of Review considered it one of the five best documentaries of 2015. Holbrooke has also produced several films, including We Are Not Done Yet (2018) for HBO about a group of veterans who process their PTSD through a spoken word performance as well as No Man's Land about the Bundy brother takeover of the Malheur wildlife refuge. He is currently working on several films in various stages of production. 


He also directed a feature length documentary for HBO called Hard As Nails. The film is about an unusually charismatic yet controversial Catholic youth Minister named Justin Fatica. The film premiered at the Tribeca Film Festival in May 2007 and aired on HBO in 2008. Holbrooke has made several other films about faith including the short documentary, Freaks Like Me, which took conversations from the 2004 Parliament of the World’s Religions and weaved them into a tapestry that explored faith and fanaticism in these unsettled times. Before that, Holbrooke directed the short documentary, Time for a New God. Filmed at Coney Island and featuring Rabbi Irwin Kula, this walking monologue re-imagines and rethinks the role of God in our society today.

A Redwood Grows in Brooklyn features acclaimed nature photographer Jim Balog who illustrates how this relationship became so deeply damaged and how we can fix it. All of these films have played at festivals around the world and are part of an ongoing series he created called Original Thinkers. (www.originalthinkers.com)

The first Original Thinkers film was Live from Shiva’s Dance Floor, which premiered at Sundance and won awards at the Tribeca and Santa Cruz Film Festivals. Produced by Holbrooke and directed by Richard Linklater, the film features underground tour guide Speed Levitch’s thoroughly original vision of what to do with Ground Zero.

Before he became a filmmaker, he spent a year in the dotcom world developing content for the Internet. Previously he worked extensively in television news, producing long-form pieces for the Today Show, CBS News and CNN and working with Katie Couric, Bryant Gumbel and Deepak Chopra. He also produced a show about the outdoors for PBS, U.S. Open coverage for USA Network, two Summer Olympics for NBC and was also involved in the start up of CNBC. 

Holbrooke lives in Telluride, Colorado with his wife Sarah and his three kids, three dogs and several chickens, one less since an unfortunate encounter with a bear. 



Sarah Holbrooke is a filmmaker and television producer, who specializes in particularly complicated and daunting field production, as well as casting and booking. She also runs the Pinhead Institute, a STEM nonprofit that brings science education to the southwest corner of Colorado.

She has worked on various reality shows, from ABC’s “Extreme Makeover” and “Wife Swap” to Discovery’s “Surprise by Design” and "Fashion Police". She also worked at CBS and ABC News. Her previous jobs have included red carpet interviewer, taxi driver, and auto mechanic.



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