Written by: The Exchange

From filmmaker Ric Burns comes this extraordinary documentary revealing the story of legendary neurologist Oliver Sacks, a fearless explorer of unknown cognitive worlds who helped redefine our understanding of the brain and mind despite his own personal battles with drug addiction, homophobia, and a recalcitrant medical establishment that would only come to accept his work decades after the fact. Included are exclusive interviews with Sacks conducted just weeks after he received a terminal diagnosis and nearly two dozen deeply revealing and personal interviews with family members, colleagues, patients and close friends.


  • Ric Burns, Filmmaker
  • Kate Edgar, Executive Director, The Oliver Sacks Foundation
  • Christof Koch, Neuroscientist, Allen Institute for Brain Science
  • Moderated by Neal Baer, Executive Producer/Showrunner
We’ve got a great group assembled for this talk-back and want to make the most of them! We’ve decided, therefore, to forgo a general Q&A during the main event. But we will offer a VIP Q&A session immediately following the talk-back. This is open to anyone who donates $20 or more for this event or for current Exchange Supporters who have already donated $100 or more over the course of the past 12 months.
  • If you are a current Exchange Supporter, you’ll be sent a VIP Q&A link next week. If you’d like to register for the talk-back event, please RSVP here.
  • If you are not an Exchange Supporter and would like to register for the VIP Q&A by donating $20 or more, please do so here.
 Please register by January 27 at 12PM PST/3PM EST to ensure you receive the VIP Q&A link.


Ric Burns has been writing, directing, and producing historical documentaries for over 30 years, since his collaboration on the PBS series The Civil War with his brother Ken. Since founding Steeplechase Films in 1989, he has directed numerous films of note for PBS, including the eight-part, 17-hour series New York: A Documentary Film, which premiered nationally on PBS to critical acclaim. His work has won numerous film and television awards including six Emmy awards, three Alfred I. DuPont-Columbia Journalism awards, two George Foster Peabody Awards.

Kate Edgar, Executive Director of the Oliver Sacks Foundation, began working with Oliver Sacks as his editor and researcher in 1983. She contributed to all sixteen of his books, including the recently published Everything in its Place. Over three decades, she traveled the world with Dr. Sacks and knew many of his patients and subjects.

Christof Koch is the Chief Scientist of the MindScope Program at the Allen Institute for Brain Science. Christof’s interests integrate theoretical, computational, and experimental neuroscience with philosophy and contemporary trends, in particular artificial intelligence. His latest book, The Feeling of Life Itself – Why Consciousness is Everywhere But Can’t be Computed, was published by MIT Press in Autumn of 2019.


Neal Baer is an award-winning showrunner, television writer/producer, physician, author and a public health advocate and expert. He served as Executive Producer and Showrunner of the third season of Designated Survivor, and was previously the Executive Producer of the hit NBC television series Law & Order: Special Victims Unit and ER.


The statements and opinions expressed in this piece are those of the event participants and do not necessarily reflect the views of any organization or agency that provided support for this event or of the National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine.