DISCOVERIES: Olympia Stone, “The Collector” (1/6)

Olympia Stone-01Olympia Stone grew up in a house where the artworks outnumbered the family-members several hundred to one. Her father was Allan Stone, the Upper East Side gallerist whose talent for discovering talent changed the contemporary artworld as he had serial success knighting new art stars from 60s through 2006 (the year of his tragically premature death). When Olympia got older, she became more and more curious about who made these larger-than-life (some were 15-feet tall!) former roommates, and so she founded Floating Stone, a production company dedicated to making films that permit the public the kind of intimate access to art that she grew up cherishing. Her first three documentaries have been racking up audience awards and critical acclaim on the festival circuit in addition to airing on PBS, proving that she too has inherited her father’s talent for discovery, albeit in her own medium. Having known Olympia since we both played kiddie tennis together, I couldn’t be happier for her—all these years later, I still can’t wait to see what she’ll serve up next!
~Victoria C. Rowan, Ideasmyth Creatrix-in-Chief


I started this film right after 9/11—a horrific event that really made me question what I was doing with my life: I had been toiling in television production for many years, and it was becoming less and less creatively satisfying. I also knew the life of a television producer was not an easy one if I ever wanted to have a family.

I grew up in a house with a madly obsessed art collector and art dealer, who also happened to be my father. His name was Allan Stone. When I decided to make this first film, the idea of doing something on my father had been in my mind for a very long time and pursuing it seemed natural: I had access to my subject, and it was something I had been curious about my entire life—my father and his obsessions. The film took me five years to make.

I look back on making “The Collector” as a great learning experience. I made lots of mistakes, of course, but am so grateful I had the chance to do it. It also allowed me to connect with my father in a way I never had before, and gave me the chance to ask him questions I had been wanting to ask him my whole life. He died the weekend after I premiered the film at the Santa Fe Film Festival, and I considered it an amazing blessing that he was able to see the film before he died.

See more of Olympia Stone’s Featured Creative posts on our Ideablog

OSheadshot2~~~Olympia Stone is an award-winning independent producer, director and editor of documentary films. Her intimate portrait of the artist James Grashow, The Cardboard Bernini, details his exhilarating quest to create an intricately detailed cardboard version of the Trevi fountain, which he intends to abandon to the elements. Broadcast nationwide on PBS in 2013-14, the film also won Best Documentary at the Art of Brooklyn Film Festival 2013, and was an official selection at Sebastopol, Santa Fe and 18 other festivals. Her first independent film, The Collector: Allan Stone’s Life in Art (2007), chronicles the obsessive collecting of her father, a New York art world gallerist whose habits and prescient scouting shaped his life and the lives of many in his artfully cluttered orbit.

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