An Open Door: Life and influence of Temple Grandin to be featured in upcoming documentary

Temple Grandin is a champion of the humane treatment of livestock, autism rights and inclusive neurodiversity by employing her gifted insights from her personal experience with autism and visual thinking.

A forthcoming documentary reflecting on the influential life and work speaks with Grandin, her colleagues, industry professionals and those she has influenced to celebrate her groundbreaking life, lessons learned and her lasting legacy.

The film, titled An Open Door is directed by award-winning filmmaker John Barnhardt and presented by Colorado State University. A trailer for the film was released this week.

“A lot of people don’t see doors to opportunity,” Grandin said while sitting for an interview for the film. “I want to open doors for other people now – I figure that is what I should be doing.”

Barnhardt and his crew traveled with Grandin as spoke at conferences and made appearances, often taking time to visit with people on the autism spectrum.

“I’ve learned more from Temple just having the honor of being around her while she works than I had reading any book on the subject, and I’ve tried to convey that with this film,” said Barnhardt, also a Colorado State graduate. “This project has the benefit of hindsight and is revealing from a unique intimate perspective – her own, in her own words as she reflects on the road she’s travelled and paved for others.”

Open Door PosterGrandin is a world-renowned academic, making TIME magazine’s list of the 100 most influential people in the world in 2010. As an educator at Colorado State, she was named as one of the top 10 college professors in the United States in 2020. She is one of the most well-known and respected experts in both autism and animal behavior. Her latest book, Visual Thinking (2022), made the New York Times Best Seller list.

Colorado State honored Grandin this year with its Founders Day medal, the university’s highest award presented to an individual who has had profound impact on the institution.

Her life’s work has been to understand the gifted, unique way her mind works in relation to the world around her, using it to her advantage with working with animals and to share that knowledge, aiding in the understanding, treatment and inclusion of individuals with diverse ways of thinking.

“At the young age of 75, Dr. Temple Grandin, continues to live life full of purpose and meaning that continues to inspire millions around the globe,” said John Festervand, executive producer of the film. “In this documentary, Temple shows us that it’s not only important, but necessary that we have different minds solving our global problems.”

Throughout the film, Grandin shares the wisdom she has gleaned from her 75 years of life experience.

“When I was younger, I used to look for like great, mysterious meanings of life,” Grandin said in the film. “When I’ve gotten older, I thought the most important things are the things that I do help do something real to make something better.”

About the film

An Open Door features Temple Grandin retracing her path in life and the lessons she learned and in turn shared with others who were affected by her experiences and insights.

  • The feature-length documentary includes interviews with:
  • Emily Gerson Saines (Film Producer, TEMPLE GRANDIN HBO Biographical Film).
  • Betsy Lerner (Author/Editor).
  • Rebecca Saletan (VP/Editorial Director, Penguin Publishing Group).
  • Jim “Mattress Mack” McIngvale (Owner Gallery Furniture).
  • J. Miller (Olympian – Swimming).
  • Caiti Peters, Ph.D., OTR/L; CSU Assistant Professor Animal Science; Director of Temple Grandin Equine Center (TGEC) Research.
  • Teresa Corey (VP/Conference Administrator at Future Horizons).
  • Lily Edwards-Callaway (Ph.D.; Assoc. Professor Animal Sciences).