Chris Temple and Zach Ingrasci
Co-Founders of Optimist | Award-Winning Documentary Filmmakers
From living in a tent in a Syrian refugee camp to working as radish farmers and surviving on $1 a day in Guatemala, Chris Temple and Zach Ingrasci are award-winning humanitarians, activists, and filmmakers. On-stage, they demystify some of the world’s most complex situations, leaving audiences feeling more connected and empowered to make a difference.
As co-founders of Optimist, Chris and Zach have received widespread acclaim as bold storytellers and compassionate leaders of social justice — honored with the 2016 Muslim Public Affairs Council Annual Media Award, and recognized alongside Bill Gates and Angelina Jolie as two of the top 100 visionary leaders of 2015 by YPO’s Real Leaders Magazine. They have been called upon to share their expertise at TEDx, the United Nations, and the World Humanitarian Summit, and have been featured on CBS This Morning, as well as in major publications including The New York Times, Wall Street Journal, The Atlantic and Variety.
Chris and Zach began their journey in college, when they produced, directed, and starred in their first film, Living on One Dollar. The film was #1 on iTunes for documentaries, featured on the homepage banner of Netflix, and called “A Must Watch” by Nobel Laureate Muhammad Yunus. Their second feature documentary, Salam Neighbor, provides an intimate look into the lives of Syrian refugees, through their lens as the first filmmakers ever given a tent and registered inside of a refugee camp. Most recently, Chris and Zach collaborated with the UN Refugee Agency and Google to create Searching for Syria, an immersive online hub that answers the world’s top searched questions about Syria. The project was featured on the homepage of Google, received over 25 million views, and won a 2017 Webby Award for the internet’s “Best Use of Photography.”
Equal parts filmmaker and humanitarian, Chris and Zach have been on the front lines fighting for human rights and have raised over 1.6 million dollars to directly empower disenfranchised communities through microfinance, education, and refugee resettlement.