About The Film

Austrian graphic designer Stefan Sagmeister is doing well. He lives in New York, the city of his dreams, and he has success in his work, designing album covers for the Rolling Stones, Jay-Z and the Talking Heads. But in the back of his mind he suspects there must be something more. He decides to turn himself into a design project. Can he redesign his personality to become a better person? Is it possible to train his mind to get happier? He pursues 3 controlled experiments of meditation, therapy, and drugs, grading himself along the way. But real life creeps in and confounds the process: art, sex, love, and death prove impossible to disentangle. His unique designs and painfully personal experiences mark a journey that travels closer to himself than ever intended.

Spring 2016

Years of Production


Documentary, 95 min

Download the  film poster .

Download the film poster.


This film was generously supported by 661 backers who pledged $55,336 towards the production of this film on Kickstarter. Thank you.


Download the press notes.

Press Stills

Directors' Headshots


The Team

Stefan Sagmeister  Co-Director

Stefan Sagmeister

Stefan Sagmeister formed the New York based Sagmeister Inc. in 1993 and has since designed for clients as diverse as the Rolling Stones and the Guggenheim Museum. Besides two Grammies he also won practically every important international design award. In 2012 young designer Jessica Walsh became a partner and the company was renamed to Sagmeister & Walsh. His Happy Show became the most visited graphic design exhibit in history. www.sagmeisterwalsh.com

Ben Nabors   Co-Director / Producer

Ben Nabors 
Co-Director / Producer

Ben Nabors is a documentary filmmaker and founder of {group theory}, a Brooklyn-based production studio. He produced and directed "WILLIAM AND THE WINDMILL", which took home the Documentary Feature Grand Jury Award at the 2013 South by Southwest Film Festival. In 2013 Filmmaker magazine named Ben among “The 25 New Faces of Independent Film.” www.grouptheory.com


Hillman Curtis

David Hillman Curtis was a filmmaker, designer and author. His film work includes "Ride, Rise, Roar", a feature length documentary on David Byrne which premiered at SXSW in 2009, as well as several national commercials, online commercial work, and a number of highly acclaimed documentaries and short films. His three books on design and film have sold close to 150 thousand copies and his work has been featured in numerous design publications. Hillman lectured extensively on design and film related subjects worldwide and was nominated for the Cooper Hewitt National Design award in 2009. We treasure the time we spent with him. www.hillmancurtis.com

Ben Wolf  Cinematographer

Ben Wolf

Ben Wolf is a cinematographer, director, and occasional editor and teacher. He strives to bridge traditional divides - bringing documentary realism to fiction projects, dramatic storytelling to documentaries, and the latest digital cinema technology to the art of photography. His recent DP credits include the feature film "East Fifth Bliss," the David Byrne documentary "Ride, Rise, Roar" directed by Hillman Curtis, and a series of national commercials for IBM. His directorial work includes a breadth of niche and Fortune 500 clients. He holds a B.A. in philosophy from Yale and an M.F.A. in film from Columbia.  www.topiaryproductions.com

Jonathan Haidt  Advisor

Jonathan Haidt

Jonathan Haidt is a social psychologist and Professor of Ethical Leadership at New York University's Stern School of Business. He received his Ph.D. from the University of Pennsylvania in 1992 and did post-doctoral research at the University of Chicago and in Orissa, India. His research focuses on morality - its emotional foundations, cultural variations, and developmental course. He was the 2001 winner of the Templeton Prize in Positive Psychology is the author of "The Happiness Hypothesis: Finding Modern Truth in Ancient Wisdom." His latest book, published in 2012, is "The Righteous Mind: Why Good People are Divided by Politics and Religion." www.jonathanhaidt.com

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   Colin Huebert (Siskiyou)   Composer

Colin Huebert (Siskiyou)

Colin Huebert (Siskiyou), Composer, is one half of Vancouver-based indie rock band Siskiyou. Formed in the late 2000s, under the impetus of Huebert's hotel room and home recordings, Siskiyou forges an approach to songwriting that is decidedly more stark and emotionally tense, marked by a minimal aesthetic, an economy of effects and arrangements, and an appreciation for the timbral and textural qualities of sparse elements. The band combines a back porch, moonlit looseness with a controlled, self-contained country gothic formalism. This is Huebert’s first film score.  www.siskiyouband.com

Sam Citron   Editor

Sam Citron

Sam Citron, Editor, has worked as an editor on a long list of acclaimed projects, including Academy Award nominated writer-director John Milius’s Emmy winning mini-series, "Rough Riders", and Academy Award winning director Davis Guggenheim’s feature documentaries, "The First Year", a winner of the Peabody Award, and "Waiting for Superman", named Critic’s Choice and National Board of Review best documentary. Most recently, Sam edited and executive produced "Tough Bond", which premiered in competition at the Berlin International Film Festival and then went on to compete at Hot Docs and the Chicago International Film Festival.

Akiko Iwakawa-Grieve   Editor

Akiko Iwakawa-Grieve

Akiko Iwakawa-Grieve, Editor, combines unconventional storytelling with a joyous appreciation for visual art. She is known for her contributions to commercials for Jaguar, AT&T, Reebok, HBO, and Gillette as well as original music videos for The Johnny Cash Project, Depeche Mode, Yeah Yeah Yeahs, Kanye West & Lou Reed, to name a few. Akiko has collaborated with groundbreaking directors Chris Milk, Marco Brambilla, Jeffrey Plansker, Patric Daughters and the late Nagi Noda on inventive, thought-provoking projects. She also edited feature films, including "Date and Switch" (Lionsgate) and the Oscar-nominated "Cutie and the Boxer”. 



Pak Merta Ada  Meditation

Pak Merta Ada

Since 1993, Pak Merta Ada has taught meditation to over 80,000 students. His courses observe noble silence and involve etheric exercises and sessions of meditative sitting. Pak Merta’s knowledge of healing represents a combination of ancient Balinese healing, Chinese medicinal philosophy, and Indian beliefs regarding the chakra body. In 2001, he was awarded the “K. Nadha Nugraha Award” by BaliPost for his achievements in teaching and helping thousands with his health meditation technique. This prestigious award is given out to individuals who use their various fields of expertise for outstanding contributions to Balinese society. www.baliusada.com

Dr. Sheenah Hankin  Psychotherapist

Dr. Sheenah Hankin

Sheenah Hankin was named by New York Times Magazine as one of New York's most popular psychotherapists. She practices Cognitive Appraisal Therapy, an approach she developed with her husband, Dr. Richard Wessler. She is the author of the final chapter in Howard Stern's best-selling “Private Parts”, in which she profiles his controversial personality. Sheenah has been featured on Good Morning America, NBC's Today Show,ABC's 20/20, Entertainment Tonight, Maury, The O'Reilly Factor , NBC Today , and on Court TV, CNN, MSNBC, and Fox News Network, plus British, French and Russian television. She is the author of “Complete Confidence”. www.sheenahhankin.com

Dr. Tony Ocampo  Psychopharma-cologist

Dr. Tony Ocampo

Tony Campo is the medical director at Caron, a world-class treatment and behavioral healthcare provider.  Dr. Campo is certified by the American Board of Psychiatry & Neurology and is a member of the American Psychiatric Association and the American Academy of Addiction Psychiatrists. Dr. Campo is a strong advocate of early diagnosis and treatment of co-occurring disorders believing they play an essential role in achieving and maintaining a sober and healthful lifestyle. Dr. Campo has appeared on Fox’s "Good Day New York" and lectures throughout New York on psychiatric issues.

Jessica Walsh  Designer and Partner at Sagmeister & Walsh

Jessica Walsh
Designer and Partner at Sagmeister & Walsh

Jessica Walsh is a graphic designer and art director living and working in NYC. She is a partner at the design studio Sagmeister & Walsh, she teaches at the School of Visual Arts, and speaks internationally about design. She has been profiled in numerous publications, and her work has won numerous awards from the Type Director’s Club, Art Director’s Club, SPD, Print, and Graphics. She has been named Computer Art’s “Top Rising Star in Design,” an Art Director’s Club “Young Gun,” and Print Magazine’s “New Visual Artist”. www.sagmeisterwalsh.com