Director & Co-Founder
Chris is a film director and the founder of Optimist, a non-profit studio in Los Angeles. He’s best known for directing the feature documentaries Living On One Dollar, Salam Neighbor, and Five Years North. His films have been released globally by Netflix, HBO, Hulu, and PBS, and have premiered at Tribeca, DOCNYC, Full Frame, AFI Docs, & MountainFilm. His work has been featured in The New York Times, Variety, and The Atlantic, and has helped raise over $91 million dollars for poverty alleviation and refugee support efforts.
He’s been honored with the 2016 Muslim Public Affairs Council Annual Media Award; recognized alongside Bill Gates and Angelina Jolie as one of the top 100 visionary leaders of 2015 by YPO’s Real Leaders Magazine; and accepted by the U.S. State Department into the American Film Showcase. His work at Optimist has won 1 Gold Telly Award, 4 Shorty Awards, 2 ADDY Awards, 1 Webby Award, and 2 AVA Digital Awards. He was also recognized as one of the 40 under 40 top documentary filmmakers of 2023 by DOC NYC and HBO. Chris recently directed the feature film This Is Not Financial Advice with XTR and Cinetic exploring the psychology of investing in the modern digital era. And is currently making an untitled feature film about Ethereum and its founder Vitalik Buterin. You can find his full filmography on IMDB.
He loves the outdoors and is a founding individual member of 1% for the Planet.