HBO & NYWIFT Present: NYWIFT Talks with ‘Crazy, Not Insane’ Producer Ophelia Harutyunyan

Welcome to NYWIFT Talks, a new weekly series to bring updated news and vital information about the impact of COVID-19 on the media and entertainment industry. Industry professionals will be in conversation discussing what you need to know about theatrical releases, digital advances, virtual tools, festival opportunities, production updates and more. 

NYWIFT Talks are free for all  to attend.

In this week’s NYWIFT Talks, join Producer Ophelia Harutyunyan and Dr. Dorothy Otnow Lewis for a Zoom conversation. We’ll focus on her new HBO Documentary Crazy, Not Insane, which airs on HBO Max on November 18, 2020. 

Date: Wednesday, November 11

Time: 6 PM EST



Crazy, Not Insane, ​directed and produced by Academy Award-winner Alex Gibney (HBO’s Agents of Chaos and The Inventor: Out For Blood in Silicon Valley) debuts Wednesday, November 18,  exclusively on HBO. Psychiatrist Dr. Dorothy Otnow Lewis has dedicated her career to the study of murderers, seeking answers to the question of why we kill. This provocative documentary explores, like a scientific detective story, Dr. Lewis’s lifelong attempts to look beyond the grisly details of homicides into the hearts and minds of the killers themselves.

An official selection of the 2020 Venice International Film Festival, the documentary profiles Dr.  Lewis and her research, including videotaped death row interviews, examining the formative experiences and neurological dysfunction of such infamous murderers as Arthur Shawcross and Ted Bundy, challenging the very notion of evil and proposing that murderers are made not born. 

This conversation will be moderated by NYWIFT Board Member Alex Cirillo.



Producer Ophelia Harutyunyan is a Brooklyn-based documentary and fiction filmmaker from Armenia. Most recently, she, alongside Alex Gibney and Suzanne Hillinger, directed and produced the documentary “Totally Under Control”, about the American government’s failed response to the covid-19 pandemic. She was the associate producer on the Emmy-nominated The Inventor: Out for Blood in Silicon Valley (HBO) and Citizen K (Amazon). Her films have played at notable film festivals like Venice FF, Sundance, TIFF, SXSW, IDFA and Clermont-Ferrand FF.


Dr. Dorothy Otnow Lewis is an American psychiatrist and author who has been an expert witness at a number of high-profile cases. She specializes in the study of violent individuals and people with dissociative identity disorder (DID), formerly known as multiple personality disorder. Lewis has worked with death row inmates as well as other prison inmates convicted for crimes of passion and violence, and was the director of the DID clinic at Bellevue Hospital, associated with New York University in New York City. She is a professor of Psychiatry at Yale and New York University and is the author of Guilty by Reason of Insanity, a book she wrote based on research done with the help of neurologist Jonathan Pincus.
Dr. Lewis’s research has been cited in several Supreme Court decisions overturning the previous practice of sentencing juveniles to death (e.g. Thompson v. Oklahoma Wilkins v. Missouri, and, Simmons v. Roper). 


Alex Cirillo (moderator) is a Director, Producer, and Co-Founder of Big Vision Empty Wallet, an inclusion-focused production company with an incubator model that has nurtured and incubated dozens of films and series from diverse creators and filmmakers all over the world. She serves as the VP of Special Events on the Board of Directors for New York Women in Film & Television and the Advisory Board for the Made in NY Writers Room Fellowship with WGAE and MOME. Past projects include the series Big Vision Creatives, which sheproduced and directed for ABC News, SXSW Audience Award Winner The Light of the Moon, Sundance premiere How to Tell You’re a Douchebag, Tribeca premiere Red, White & Wasted, and One Cambodian Family Please for My Pleasure produced for TNT with Refinery29 as part of their Shatterbox series.
Most recently, she directed a short film celebrating the 100th anniversary of women’s right to vote, which premiered at the NYWIFT and Ford Foundation’s Creative Workforce Summit in October 2020. Her recent commercial clients include Major League Baseball, Procter & Gamble (Always, Charmin, Oral-B, Dawn & Aussie), L’Oreal (Armani & YSL), Heineken, Wal-Mart, American Airlines, Bose, and Citibank. Find out more at and follow Alex @alex_of_antandalex (IG) and @MissCirillo (Twitter).


Thanks to our partner:


November 11 @ 6:00pm
6:00 pm — 7:00 pm (1h)

This program will take place virtually as a webinar via Zoom. Please register in advance, and all registrants will receive a link to attend the webinar the day of the event.

We encourage you to download Zoom in advance.

Free event.


Join the conversation on social media:
#nywift | @nywift

NYWIFT programs, screenings and events are supported, in part, by grants from New York City Department of Cultural Affairs in partnership with the City Council, and New York State Council on the Arts with the support of Governor Kathy Hochul and the New York State Legislature.