Film and TV

Documentary Altina exposes the life of artist, activist and inventor Altina Schinasi

In the years before her death in 1999, Altina Schinasi Miranda was best-known for her sculptures and paintings. But the daughter of a poor Turkish immigrant-turned-tobacco-tycoon was more than just an artist -- she was an Oscar-winning filmmaker, an activist and the inventor of the Harlequin glasses frames, which became a fashion staple in the 1930s. In a new documentary Altina, her filmmaker grandson Peter Sanders delves into who Altina Schinasi -- a woman who married four different men and was adored by many more -- really was.

In advance of the Altina screening that's part of the eighteenth annual Denver Jewish Film Festival kicking off this Wednesday, February 5, Sanders spoke with Westword about his larger-than-life grandmother and how the discovery of hours of archival family footage helped tell the story of Altina's life.

See also: Nathan Englander on the distinction between Jewish writers and Jews who write