Ondi Timoner

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Ondi Timoner
Andrea Doane Timoner

(1972-12-06) December 6, 1972 (age 46)
Alma materYale University
OccupationFilm Director, Editor, Producer
Years active1994–present

Ondi Timoner (born December 6, 1972) is an American film director, producer, editor and entrepreneur. She is the founder and CEO of Interloper Films, a full-service production company located in Pasadena, California.

Beginning her film in the 1990s, Timoner has built a reputation in the documentary world, becoming the only two-time recipient of Sundance’s Grand Jury Prize for documentaries (DiG! and We Live In Public). These two works are in the permanent collection of New York's Museum of Modern Art.

In addition to releasing films in a conventional manner, Timoner releases content through her online video portal, A Total Disruption. Her episode with artist Shepard Fairey world-premiered at the South by Southwest Film Festival in 2014 as part of the Chief Executive Artist series.[1] An episode on the musician Amanda Palmer world premiered on April 19, 2014 at the TriBeCa Film Festival.[2] Subjects include Russell Brand, Moby, Jack Dorsey, Kevin Systrom and Tony Hsieh.[3] In 2015, Timoner's film BRAND: A Second Coming was chosen to be the opening night film at the 2015 SXSW Film Festival in Austin, Texas.[4]

In August, she completed production on Mapplethorpe, a scripted feature film she wrote, produced & directed. It stars Matt Smith, who plays controversial visionary photographer Robert Mapplethorpe. The film premiered at TriBeCa Film Festival where it won an Audience Award[5] and was picked up by Samuel Goldwyn for theatrical distribution.[6] It was released March 1st 2019 in theatres across America.

Current projects include WeTalk, her traveling talk show celebrating the women shaping our culture across arts, entrepreneurship, government and technology[7], and a feature-length documentary (CHRYSALIS) about the Opioid epidemic through the eyes of an artist.[8]

Ondi Timoner is a member of the Academy of Motion Picture Arts & Sciences, the DGA, the PGA, the International Documentary Association, Film Fatales and Women in Film [9]


Born in Miami, Florida,[10] Timoner is a graduate of Yale University who majored in Theater Studies and American Studies, concentrating in the latter on Film and Literature.[11]

Timoner is the sole two-time recipient of the Grand Jury Prize at the Sundance Film Festival, first in 2004 for her documentary DiG!, about the "collision of art and commerce" via the personal and relational dynamics of leaders of two contemporary indie bands (The Brian Jonestown Massacre and The Dandy Warhols), and then in the same category in 2009 for We Live In Public about the work of Josh Harris, an internet visionary who, by very personal example, demonstrated the willing sacrifice of privacy and personal peace that occur in the digital age.[12][13] Both films were acquired by the Museum of Modern Art (MoMA) in New York City for their permanent collection.[14]

Timoner also directed the socio-political feature documentaries, Join Us (2007), about the religious cult epidemic in America, using the example of the Mountain Rock Church in South Carolina,[15] and The Nature of the Beast (1994), a look at the U.S. prison system, and co-directed the short film Recycle, which premiered at Sundance in 2005, and screened at Cannes and in schools worldwide. In 2010, Timoner premiered her fifth feature-length documentary on climate change, Cool It at the Toronto International Film Festival in September 2010, and released it theatrically on November 12 that year through Roadside Attractions.[16][17][18] In addition to documentaries, Timoner has made music videos for The Dandy Warhols, The Vines, Paul Westerberg, Lucinda Williams, Vanessa Carlton, The Jonas Brothers, and Run DMC, among others. She hosts a weekly talk show, BYOD, on Thelip.tv, featuring interviews with top film makers from the documentary world.

Timoner's narrative film debut—a biopic on photographer Robert Mapplethorpe entitled Mapplethorpe—received a grant through the Tribeca Film Institute’s 9th annual All Access Program.[19] In 2013, Timoner initiated what has been termed a "constantly releasing documentary" via the web-channel called A Total Disruption, a platform presenting cyber-series about cutting-edge innovators who use technology to "disrupt outdated industries, empower people, and change the world".[12][20]



Culled from over 2,500 hours of footage, Timoner directed DiG! and co-produced and edited along with her brother David Timoner, which chronicles seven years in the lives of two neo-psychedelic bands, The Dandy Warhols and The Brian Jonestown Massacre. The film explores the love-hate relationship of the band's frontmen, Courtney Taylor and Anton Newcombe.

Jamie Russell of the BBC gave the film a five-star (highest) rating, calling it "[e]rratic, tragic, and absolutely hilarious…" saying "Dig! is fantastic filmmaking" and that as "a riotous portrait of the music business," it "works as both a savagely funny rockumentary and a sardonic comment on the politics of selling out."[21] An Empire review described its subject as the "microcosm of ‘indie’ music on the cusp of corporate take-over" and the film as "the perfect parable of the 1990s music industry" portraying a "riveting... mêlée of spiraling egos," also giving it a five-star rating.[22]

The film won the Grand Jury Prize at the Sundance Film Festiva in 2004,[23] is now part of the permanent collection of the Museum of Modern Art in New York City,[14] and was screened as finale of the Film Society of Lincoln Center and MoMA's 38th annual New Directors/New Films Festival, at MoMA in 2009.[24]

We Live in Public[edit]

Timoner debuted We Live in Public at the Sundance Film Festival in 2009. The film considers some of the darker effects of modern media and technology on personal identity through an examination of "the greatest internet pioneer you've never heard of", Josh Harris.[25] The dot-com millionaire was referred to by reviewer Laurie Heuston as "a '90s dot-com millionaire who created fascist-themed, social experiments," endeavors that led eventually led to Harris' mental breakdown and financial downfall.[25][26]

Film critic Roger Ebert gave We Live in Public a four-star (highest) rating, writing that it "is a remarkable film about a strange and prophetic man."[27] It won the Grand Jury Prize award in the Documentary category at the Sundance Film Festival,[28] making Timoner the first director in the history of the Festival to win this award twice.[citation needed]

A Total Disruption[edit]

Timoner founded and is currently directing and producing what has been described as "a portal of cyber-series that take the users on the ride alongside the visionary risk-takers of today– those crazy enough to defy all limits to turn their big ideas into reality,"[12] the web channel called A Total Disruption. An interactive video network for innovators and entrepreneurs, she describes it as a "constantly releasing documentary". The channel documents the thought leaders and innovators from companies like Twitter, Reddit, and BitTorrent who are using technology to empower and educate; as of April 2013, Timoner edited 50 episodes for seven different web series, based on interviews with approximately 100 subjects (having shot 300 hours of film footage).[20] The seed funds for the project were recently raised on Kickstarter,[20] and yielded about 150% of their $96,000 goal.[citation needed]

Other work[edit]

  • In 2000, Timoner created, produced and directed the original VH-1 series Sound Affects,[29] about music's effect at critical moments in people's lives.
  • Timoner completed the opening film for Bill Clinton's birthday celebration at the Hollywood Bowl in October 2011, which raised money for the William J. Clinton Foundation. Her film starred Steven Spielberg, Barbra Streisand, the President, and many other notables.
  • She has directed commercials and web series for McDonald's, State Farm, Ford, the United States Army and others, as well as two short films for Honda's "Dream the Impossible" series, which premiered at the Sundance Film Festival in 2011.
  • Timoner has completed several other documentaries: Recycle (short), winner at the ICG Awards, and presented at Sundance, Cannes, and Silverdocs; Join Us, a documentary about mind control in the United States, and Library of Dust (short), a documentary about thousands of canisters of cremated remains found at the Oregon State Hospital.
  • She produces and hosts BYOD (Bring Your Own Doc) for thelip.tv. BYOD is the only talk show in the world focused solely on documentaries with an archive of over 100 episodes in which Timoner interviews top documentary filmmakers about their work.
  • In 2016, Timoner visited Panama to direct Jungletown, [1]. Jungletown is a 10 part docu-series on Millennials creating a sustainable village (Kalu Yala) Kalu Yala in the Panamanian jungle.

Personal life[edit]

In 2003, Timoner had a son, Joaquim, with cinematographer Vasco Lucas Nunes.[30] Vasco Lucas Nunes died in a motorcycle accident in March 2016.[31][32]

Career Achievments[edit]

Ondi has won numerous awards for her each of her films and TV shows. In 1999, Ondi was Grammy-nominated for Best Long Form Music Video.[33] In 2012, Ondi won the Rogue Award at the Ashland Film Festival.[34] In 2017, she won the Kodak Auteur Award and the Maverick Award at the Audience Awards.[35]

Further reading[edit]

  • Interview: Alexandra Alter, 2009, "'The Truman Show' for Everyone: A documentary film maker and her now-reluctant subject on living in public ['We Live in Public']," at The Wall Street Journal (online): Arts & Entertainment, "Just Asking," April 4, 2009[24]
  • Interview: Dina Gachman, 2013, "Are Entrepreneurs the Rock Stars of Today?", at ForbesWoman, January 10, 2013.[12]
  • Interview: Kevin Ritchie, 2013, "Hot Docs ’13: Ondi Timoner talks art and entrepreneurship [and the "A Total Disruption" endeavor]," at RealScreen.[20]


  • The Nature of the Beast (TV, 1994)
  • Sound Affects (TV, 2000)
  • Switched! (TV series, 2003)
  • DiG! (2004)
  • Recycle (2004)
  • Join Us (2007)
  • We Live in Public (2009)
  • Cool It (2010)
  • Library of Dust (2011)
  • Amanda F***ing Palmer on the Rocks (2014)
  • Russell Brand's The Bird (2014)
  • Obey The Artist (2014)
  • The Last Mile (2015)
  • Brand: A Second Coming (2015)
  • BYOD: Bring Your Own Doc (2016)
  • Jungletown (TV, 2017)
  • Mapplethorpe (2018)


  1. ^ "Obey The Artist". schedule.sxsw.com.
  2. ^ "Amanda F**ing Palmer on the Rocks". Film Guide Archive. Tribeca Film Festival.
  3. ^ "A Total Disruption: Who We Are". atotaldisruption.com.
  4. ^ "SXSW Film Reveals BRAND: A Second Coming as Opening Night Film, Plus Six More Titles". sxsw.com. Retrieved 2015-01-08.
  5. ^ "2018 Audience Award Winners". tribecafilm.com.
  6. ^ Galuppo, Mia. "Matt Smith Starrer 'Mapplethorpe' Picked Up by Samuel Goldwyn Films". hollywoodreporter.com.
  7. ^ "WeTalk".
  8. ^ "Chrysalis, Documentary". IMDb.
  9. ^ Corcorran, Nick. "Ondi Timoner: Biography". IMDb.
  10. ^ Balfour, Brad. "Q & A: Award-Winning Documentarian Ondi Timoner Rocks with We Live in Public". Huffington Post. Retrieved 2015-10-21.
  11. ^ Mitchell, Wendy. "Discovery: Ondi Timoner and "DiG!"". Indiewire. Retrieved 2015-10-21.
  12. ^ a b c d Dina Gachman (January 10, 2013). "Are Entrepreneurs the Rock Stars of Today?". Forbes. Retrieved 2015-02-16.
  13. ^ AJ Schnack. "Sundance Film Festival". All These Wonderful Things. Retrieved 2011-01-31.
  14. ^ a b "DiG!". MoMA. Retrieved 2015-01-30.
  15. ^ "Featured Doc Maker: Ondi Timoner". Joinusthemovie.com. May 20, 2008. Retrieved 2015-01-16.
  16. ^ Sean O’Connell (September 1, 2010). "Controversial TIFF doc 'Cool It' finds home at Roadside Attractions". Hollywood News.com. Archived from the original on February 21, 2014. Retrieved 2019-04-13.
  17. ^ "Cool It (2010)". Box Office Mojo. December 30, 2010. Retrieved 2011-01-31.
  18. ^ Jeannette Catsoulis (November 11, 2010). "Global Warming and Common Sense". The New York Times.
  19. ^ Gregg Kilday. "James Franco to Play Photographer Robert Mapplethorpe in Tribeca-Backed Project". The Hollywood Reporter. Retrieved 2015-02-16.
  20. ^ a b c d Kevin Ritchie (April 29, 2013). "Hot Docs '13: Ondi Timoner talks art and entrepreneurship". Realscreen.com. Retrieved 2015-02-16.
  21. ^ Jamie Russell (June 28, 2005). "DIG!". BBC - Movies. Retrieved 2015-02-16.
  22. ^ "Empire's DiG! Movie Review". empireonline.com. Retrieved 2015-02-16.
  23. ^ "2004 Sundance Film Festival". history.sundance.org. Retrieved 2015-01-30.
  24. ^ a b Alexandra Alter (April 4, 2009). "'The Truman Show' for Everyone". The Wall Street Journal. Archived from the original on 2015-04-27. Retrieved 2019-04-13.
  25. ^ a b "The greatest Web pioneer you've never heard of". CNN.com. Retrieved 2015-02-16.
  26. ^ "Center stage at Ashland's film festival". Mailtribune.com. Retrieved 2015-02-16.
  27. ^ Roger Ebert (October 14, 2009). "We Live in Public". Roger Ebert.com. Archived from the original on 2014-08-10. Retrieved 2019-04-13.
  28. ^ "2009 Sundance Film Festival". festival.sundance.org. Archived from the original on 2009-01-21. Retrieved 2011-01-31.
  29. ^ Brad Balfour (May 5, 2010) [Updated Dec 06, 2017]. "Q&A: Award-Winning Documentarian Ondi Timoner Rocks With We Live In Public". HuffPost. Archived from the original on 2015-02-16. Retrieved 2019-04-13.
  30. ^ Mitchell, Wendy (October 5, 2004). "Discovery: Ondi Timoner and "Dig!"". Indie Wire.
  31. ^ Nicholson, Rebecca (June 19, 2017). "From Dig! to Jungletown – how Ondi Timoner is 'kicking the door down' for female filmmakers". The Guardian. Retrieved 2017-06-27.
  32. ^ "Vasco Lucas Nunes". www.facebook.com. Retrieved 2017-06-27.
  34. ^ "Getting to know Ondi Timoner, Rogue Award recipient and director of WE LIVE IN PUBLIC". Ashland Independent Film Festival.
  35. ^ "OUR FIRST YEAR BLEW EVERYONE AWAY". www.audienceawardsfilmfestival.com.

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