Who Is Chris Temple?

Next month, on February 11th, Collegiate will host our third annual Global Issues Forum. The forum is designed for students all around the Richmond area who are interested in learning about global issues. Last year, the forum hosted 75 students. The forum centers around one keynote speaker and a variety of different breakout sessions. In its first year, Emmanuel Jal, a former Sudanese child soldier, served as the keynote speaker. Last year, Chris Temple, who will serve as the speaker again this year, spoke about his documentary Living on One Dollar, which addresses global poverty issues in Guatemala. This year, he will speak about his new film Salam Neighbor, both as a part of the forum and in an Upper School assembly.


Photo Credit: Collegiate School.

Chris Temple has always had a passion for adventuring. After his senior year in high school, he took a gap year to explore Bolivia, Argentina, Peru, and Guatemala. While there, he worked for Grameen Trust and launched new microfinance organizations in those countries. He also worked for Global Health Strategies, an advocacy and communications consulting firm. Currently, Temple functions as the executive director and co-founder of Living on One, along with Zach Ingrasci. Living on One is a film studio that uses storytelling to produce documentaries that raise awareness and educate the public on global issues. The studio got its start when Temple and his team of three fellow college students ventured to Guatemala and started filming YouTube videos that quickly gained popularity and provoked Temple to compile his short videos into the feature-length film Living on One Dollar.

Living on One Dollar follows Temple and his team as they embark to Guatemala with the goal of experiencing the extreme poverty of many third world countries by living on just a single dollar a day. They lived amongst Guatemalan people in a typical village for 56 days. The film not only follows Temple and his team’s struggles with their new living conditions, but it also follows the hardships of natives surrounding them. Whole Planet Foundation, the company that funded the project, describes it as, “…a powerful film that highlights the strength and resilience of people living in poverty, the impact of microcredit, and the how individuals can have an impact in the fight against poverty.” The film reached the number one spot on iTunes’ documentary charts and eventually won multiple international film festival awards.

Chris Temple’s most recent film, Salam Neighbor, premiered on January 20th. The film chronicles Temple and Ingrasci’s experience living in a Syrian refugee camp. Temple and Ingrasci are the first filmmakers to ever be registered and given a tent in a refugee camp. They registered to live in Za’atari, the second largest refugee camp in the world, with over 81,000 inhabitants. Temple and Ingrasci named the film “Hello neighbor” to symbolize the bridging of the gap between distant onlookers and actual Syrian refugees. In a video describing the film, Temple says that they wanted to tackle this project to, “…tell the stories of our refugee neighbors with the dignity they deserve and the depth the world needs.” The film gives human faces and stories to people who are most often seen as statistics. In an NPR article, Ingrasci says that upon his arrival back home he came to the realization that “We [Ingrasci and Temple] get to go home, but our neighbors don’t.”

Due to the success of their films, Temple and Ingrasci have given speeches at the United Nations, TEDx Buenos Aires, and over 50 universities, high schools, and conferences. They have appeared on CBS This Morning and Huffpost Live, and their work has been featured in major international publications, including the, The Huffington Post, The Atlantic and Variety. Additionally, Temple was recently recognized as one of the top 100 Visionary Leaders of 2015 by YPO/WPO’s Real Leaders Magazine.

Elizabeth Murphy (‘17) says, “He does a great job of helping Americans understand a culture by living among the people, creating connections, and like the photojournalist from a previous assembly [Janet Jarman] clearly did his best not to exploit their lives.” Chris Temple is truly an innovator. He takes on complicated social issues and produces films that his audience can relate to. He reveals humans from statistics. He forges understanding out of deleterious generalizations. Collegiate is extremely fortunate to be hosting such an amazing person on February 11th at the Global Issues Forum.

About the author

Kate Kinder is a junior at Collegiate