The Revolutionary Optimists (educational)

  • Directed By: Nicole Newnham and Maren Grainger-Monsen
  • Produced By: Nicole Newnham and Maren Grainger-Monsen
Educational Release: 2014

Running Time: 83 minutes
NTSC / English
Subjects: Children, Youth & Family, Human Rights

THE REVOLUTIONARY OPTIMISTS follows 4 children from Kolkata's poorest slums on an intimate journey through their adolescence, drawing us into the world of two 11-year olds with no access to clean drinking water, a girl forced to labor inside a brick kiln, and a teenage dancer on the precipice of choosing childhood marriage to escape from her abusive family. From these fragile lives, lawyer turned change-agent Amlan Ganguly mines the strength and vision to build a most unlikely revolution. Together they fight seemingly insurmountable odds to build a better future for themselves and their community, challenging the notion that marginalization is written into their destiny.

The Revolutionary Optimists (Trailer) from Collective Eye Films on Vimeo.


  •  Sustainability Award - Sundance Hilton Lightstay 2013


"...children in the slums of Calcutta become community activists." - Mother Jones

Critic's Pick! "...people could learn a lot from these little activists." - The Washington Post

"...The film ends in earned triumph. Obviously idealism drives The Revolutionary Optimists, a warmly observational documentary by the Bay Area-based team of Nicole Newnham and Maren Grainger-Monsen, but that's not to say it lacks pragmatism. "If you want to start any kind of change, start it with the children," says Alman Ganguly, a former lawyer, community leader, and life-altering mentor to many of the children of India's slums. These are kids who lack access to clean drinking water, or work grueling days in brickfields..." - SF Weekly

"Compelling" - Yahoo! News, Stephen Saito

"Tastefully observational" "High drama" - Slant Magazine, Drew Hunt

"Inspiring" - The Hollywood Reporter, John DeFore

"...Refreshing...Thoughtful..." - Indiewire, Anthony Kaufman

"Blazes with a will to change India's slums" - Michelle Orange, The Village Voice