The Animated Mind of Oliver Sacks

: Documentary Feature
GENRE: Documentary
STATUS: Post-Production


The Animated Mind of Oliver Sacks is a journey into the mind and work of world-renowned neurologist and author Dr. Oliver Sacks, one of the most fascinating figures and compassionate medical minds of our time. 


Filmmaker Dempsey Rice’s decade of exclusive interviews and Oliver’s self-made personal recordings combine with animation, archival material (including Oliver’s own never before seen photographs), and cinematic new filming, to take this film beyond conventional biography and into Oliver’s world in a way not seen before, revealing his creative and professional struggles, his complicated internal life, as well as his deeply humane philosophy of patient care and his eventual success and fame as a writer and thinker.


Dempsey Rice, Director/Producer, explores themes of connection, personal story, relationship and identity in her filmmaking.


Dempsey Rice - Director Producer

Dempsey's feature documentary film Daughter of Suicide (1999, HBO) received a Cine Golden Eagle, a National Council on Family Relations Media Award and a National Mental Health Association Media Award. She is the recipient of a NY Emmy as the Series Producer of IMNY. Her hyper-local project, The Listening Project: Brooklyn (2013, 133 short films) aired on Brooklyn Independent Television.   Dempsey is the only American director to have ever received a grant from the British Film Institute. She received this for The Animated Mind of Oliver Sacks, which has also received funding from the “Made in New York” Women’s Film, TV & Theatre Fund, NYSCA, The Jerome Foundation, The Lucius and Eva Eastman Fund and several private family foundations. The Animated Mind of Oliver Sacks was part of the inaugural pitch event CPH:SCIENCE at CPH:DOX and participated in the Meet Market at the Sheffield International Documentary Film Festival. Dempsey incubated The Animated Mind of Oliver Sacks as a “Made in New York” Fellow at the Made in New York Media Center by IFP.

Lori Cheatle - Producer

Lori Cheatle is a producer of over 20 award-winning films and the founder of Hard Working Movies a director-driven production company with an appetite for bold, high-profile narratives. Her feature documentaries include MATANGI/MAYA/M.I.A. (2018) directed by Steve Loveridge, which won a Special Jury award at Sundance and the IDA Award for Best Music Documentary; I Am Another You by Nanfu Wang, which won two jury awards at SXSW and is released by FilmRise and Independent Lens; KIKI (IFC Films) directed by Sara Jordeno. KIKI premiered at Sundance 2016 and won the Berlin Teddy Award, the Kathleen Edwards Bryan Human Rights Award and Independent Spirit Award and GLAAD award nominations; CAPTIVATED: The Trials of Pamela Smart, directed by Jeremiah Zagar for HBO/Sky Atlantic, which premiered at Sundance and has been released in over 80 countries; Amy Hardie’s critically acclaimed The Edge Of Dreaming and her BAFTA nominated Seven Songs For A Long Life; This Land Is Your Land, selected for the Whitney Biennial; and three films by Doug Block, all co-productions with HBO, including the audience favorite 112 Weddings, The Kids Grow Up and 51 Birch Street, which was named one of New York Times 10 Best Films of the Year. She is the Executive Producer of Hail, Satan? (2019) directed by Penny Lane and produced by Gabriel Sedgwick, which premiered at Sundance and is in release through Magnolia Pictures.  She is the recipient of the 2019 Amazon Sundance Producers award.

Kate Edgar - Executive Producer

Kate Edgar began working for Oliver Sacks in 1983. For more than three decades, she collaborated with him as editor, researcher, assistant and friend. Kate became the Executive Director of the Oliver Sacks Foundation following his death in 2015. Her role is Executive Producer indicates institutional support for The Animated Mind of Oliver Sacks.

Jonathan Corbiere - Director of Animation

Jonathan Corbiere is the Creative Director/Co-Founder of Thought Café and is educated in graphic design, film and visual effects. He has taught Masters students in the Digital Media graduate program at UBC/Emily Carr and has over 10 years of managing creatives in a studio environment. Through serving in the Canadian Forces as well as founding various start-ups Jonathon is a natural leader. During his early years of freelance work in the film, television and advertising industry, Jonathon realized that communicators have an inherent responsibility to spread important and relevant knowledge with their mediums. Jonathon is currently directing animation on factual based series and films at Thought Café while also running a future focused technical consulting think tank called Futuretalk.

Joanne Nerenberg - Co-Producer

Joanne works on all aspects of documentary film as a producer, director and editor. She is the co-creator of move it! A dance TV show for kids sold to Sesame Workshop in 2003. Joanne has produced video for Harvard University, The New York Historical Society, The Brooklyn Children’s Museum, and The Lincoln Institute in Cambridge, MA. She is currently producing a new documentary film by Lizzie Gottlieb, featuring writer Robert Caro and his legendary editor Bob Gottlieb. 

Hannah Buck - Editor

Hannah Buck is a New York-based editor with a background in visual arts. Hannah's artistic sensibility informs her approach to editing film. Since moving to New York in 2011 Hannah has edited several award-winning films, with a focus on creative non-fiction cinema. Her recent credits include The Proposal (Tribeca 2018), directed by Jill Magid and produced by Field of Vision, Chef Flynn (Sundance 2018), directed by Cameron Yates, and Black Memorabilia (MoMA Doc Fortnight 2018), directed by Chico Colvard. Hannah has been a fellow at the Sundance Edit and Story Lab and a consultant for the Sundance Art of Non-Fiction Program. Her work has been supported by the Sundance Institute, The Jerome foundation, Women Make Movies and the Tribeca Film Fund.


Connect With The Filmmakers:


The Gotham Film & Media Institute - Fiscal Sponsorship Program 2022
Recipient, Made in NY Women's Film, Theater & TV Fund Grant 2019
Recipient, BFI Film Grant 2018
Participant, CPH:SCIENCE Pitch Forum, Spring 2018
Recipient, NYSCA Grant 2018
Participant, Sheffield Doc Fest Meet Market, Summer 2017
Recipient, Jerome Foundation Grant 2017
IFP Film week, Fall 2016
Participant, IFP Screen Forward Lab, 2016
Recipient, Lucius & Eva Eastman Fund Grant, 2016
Fellow, Made in NY Media Center by IFP, 2015-16


UPDATE - May 19, 2019

The Animated Mind of Oliver Sacks was honered by the Creative Capital Foundation as one of 50 noteworthy projects to keep an eye on in 2019.

UPDATE - July 27, 2018

We wrapped up our Kickstarter campaign on July 19, 2018.  If you contribute to The Animated Mind of Oliver Sacks before August 1, 2018 you can still get a campaign perk!  You must email us and tell us which perk you would like.  Contribute that amount here + the cost of shipping, and you will receive your perk this fall. For contributions below $150, please add $5 for US shipping and $10 for international shipping.  For contriubtions above $150, shipping will be free.

Help promote my fundraising campaign
Put our donation widget on your website

Get Widget Code



The Gotham Logo


© 2022 The Gotham. All Rights Reserved.
   Design by Andrew Martin

The Gotham Film & Media Institute is a not-for-profit organization dedicated to finding, developing and celebrating the people and projects that shape the future of story.

Learn more about us or become a member