Original Thinkers: “Rebel Hearts,” a featured discovery+ documentary!

Original Thinkers: “Rebel Hearts,” a featured discovery+ documentary!

Telluride-based Original Thinkers (OT) is a thoughtful ideas festival regularly scheduled for September 30 – October 3, 2021, in Telluride – and this year, virtually 10/1 – 10/31.

The weekend generally features 10 programs, each built around a particular idea explored through a compelling mix of speakers, films, performance, and art. The program typically delves into the human condition by focusing on the intersection of ideas and individual stories.

Full program is here.

Explore in-person program additions here.

One of the featured documentaries is “Rebel Hearts,” a discovery+ documentary. Please scroll down for further details and to listen to a podcast featuring the director and two of the activist nuns.

More from Original Thinkers here.

A still from Rebel Hearts by Pedro Kos, an official selection of the U.S. Documentary Competition at the 2021 Sundance Film Festival. Courtesy of Sundance Institute.

“Pedro Kos’s “’Rebel Hearts,’ about a group of nuns in the 1960s who defied the archbishop of Los Angeles and the Vatican hierarchy in their determination to link religious commitment to the challenges of the times. Before this film, I had never heard of the Sisters of the Immaculate Heart of Mary, and now I can’t stop thinking about them…” A.O. Scott, The New York Times.

“Rebel Hearts,” the backstory:


“Lysistrata” is a bawdy, anti-war comedy by the Greek playwright Aristophanes, first staged in the 5th century BCE. This comic account tells of one woman’s extraordinary mission to end the Peloponnesian War. In short, Lysistrata convinces the women of Greece to withhold sexual privileges from their husbands as a means of forcing the men to negotiate peace.

History teaches the legacy of ancient Greeks includes numerous innovations in the fields of science, literatures and math, but also the seeds of social, economic, philosophical and cultural movements – including feminism, with echoes through the ages.

And those ends – stopping wars, gender equality and empowerment – justify whatever means.

“Lost.” “Suffering from penis envy.” “Man-hating.” They are just a few of the slurs lobbed at women interested in education and career, not marriage, back in the so-called halcyon days that followed WWII. The archetype (through the early 1960s) was stay-at-home moms who cooked, cleaned and took care of their brood, while earnest dads left the nest early for work, then spent weekends tending to BBQs and unkempt lawns. The dramatic contrast in gender imagery was the stuff Saturday Night Live is made of, namely smashing sacred cows into hamburger meat.

Fast forward to 1960s Los Angeles and a trailblazing, highly educated group of nuns, The Sisters of the Immaculate Heart of Mary, (IHM), who stood in solidarity against the patriarchy of the Catholic Church.

The black hat in their story was hardliner and entrepreneur Cardinal James Francis McIntyre, who fought to keep the women in their traditional place of obedience. In the end, the nun’s bold acts of faith, defiance and activism turned the Church upside-down, helping other feminists reshape our society in ways that resonate today. From marching in Selma in 1965 to the Women’s March (against other misogynists) in 2018, they challenged the notion of what a num and a woman were (and are) supposed to be.

That compelling history unfolds in “Rebel Hearts,” a high-spirited, sassy documentary by writer/director Pedro Kos, and one of the featured films at David Holbrooke’s upcoming Original Thinkers. The narrative about these controversial trailblazers cleverly weaves together archival footage with simply elegant, well-drawn animation and sharply focused interviews gathered over 20 years by two writer/producers, all underscored with a pop soundtrack.

“With a spiritual sense of reform in mind, the sisters reimagined religious engagement with the community: questioning church traditions, marching for civil rights, demonstrating for farmworkers, organizing against the Vietnam War…,” wrote the LA Times.

“Buoyant and infectious,” raved Variety.

“Invigorating,” wrote the Daily Beast.

To learn more listen to our podcast with Pedro Kos, Lenore Navarro Dowling, IHM, PhD and Rosa Manriquez, IHM.

Rebel Hearts, bios:


Pedro Kos most recently wrote and produced Jehane Noujaim and Karim Amer’s Netflix Original Documentary THE GREAT HACK, which premiered at the 2019 Sundance Film Festival and was nominated for a BAFTA award and shortlisted for an Academy Award.

His feature directorial debut, BENDING THE ARC (co-directed with Kief Davidson), premiered at the 2017 Sundance Film Festival. Previously, Kos edited Jehane Noujaim’s Academy Award nominee THE SQUARE, which earned him an Emmy Award for Best Editing for a Non-Fiction program, Lucy Walker’s Academy Award nominee WASTE LAND and THE CRASH REEL (2013 SXSW Film Festival Audience Award winner), Jon Shenk’s THE ISLAND PRESIDENT (2011 TIFF Documentary People’s Choice Award winner) among others.

Kos is from Rio de Janeiro, Brazil and received his B.A. in Theater Directing from Yale University.


Lenore Navarro Dowling, IHM PhD is a native Angelino, who taught at Immaculate Heart College and Rio Hondo College.

Dr. Dowling received her MFA in Cinema from Columbia University, NYC and joined Corita Kent in the Immaculate Heart College Art Department, teaching film classes.

She later earned her PhD in Communications/Cinema from USC. After Immaculate Heart College closed in 1980, she taught classes in English and in film studies at Rio Hondo Community College in Whittier.


Rosa Manriquez is a third generation Latinx mother and grandmother from East Los Angeles. A lifelong Catholic, she was educated by the IHM’s from first grade through college (St. Vibiana Elementary School, Our Lady Queen of Angels High School, Immaculate Heart College). Manriquez also holds a Master of Arts in Theology.

In the Immaculate Heart Community,Manriquez has been part of the Assembly Planning Committee, the Invitation Committee and the Program Committee. Currently she is part of the Commission on Justice for Immigrants and Refugees and the Antiracism Task Force.

Manrqiuez s an ordained Roman Catholic priest and a member of Roman Catholic Womenpriest. She is a celebrant for Holy Wisdom Catholic Community, but her main focus is a ministry outside the walls of the institutional church for all who are unwelcome or have been made to feel unwelcome. She is also part of the Good Troublemakers, an antiracism committee.

Manriquez’s focus today is service to the LGBTQ community and people of color. Her passion is her family that inspires and delights her constantly.

No Comments

Sorry, the comment form is closed at this time.