In 1985, Willem de Kooning’s “Woman-Ochre,” one of the most valuable paintings of the 20th century, vanished into the Arizona desert after being cut from its frame at the University of Arizona Museum of Art. 32 years later, the $160 million painting was found hanging in the home of Jerry and Rita Alter in rural New Mexico. THE THIEF COLLECTOR takes a deep look at how, and why, this mild-mannered couple pulled off one of the greatest art heists of a generation, exploring the complicated dynamics of family, the contours of criminality, and just how far people will go to weave their own grandiose narratives.

“Beguiling” – The Los Angeles Times

“An art-heist documentary with an ‘Oh. My. God.’ factor” – Variety

“A fascinating glimpse into the mystery of other people” – The Guardian

Movie of the Week – AWFJ


Directed by: Allison Otto
Produced by: Caryn Capotosto, Jill Latiano Howerton, Joshua Kunau
Executive Producers: Bryn Mooser, Kathryn Everett, Tony Hsieh, Andy Hsieh, Justin Lacob, John Boccardo, Derek Esplin
Co-Executive Producers: Shizuka Asakawa, Kathleen L’Esperance
Co-Producers: Mary Kay Cook, Heath Cullens
Written by: Mark Monroe, Nick Andert
Director of Photography: Rod Hassler
Director of Photography for Re-enactments: Matt Ryan
Original Music by: Daniel Wohl


About the Filmmakers

ALLISON OTTO (Director) is an Emmy winning documentary filmmaker, cinematographer, and visual journalist. Her documentary short, The Love Bugs(2019), was awarded Best Short Documentary in the 42nd Annual News & Documentary Emmy Awards after screening on POV Shorts Season 3 (2020). The film was also shortlisted for a 2019 International Documentary Association Award and is touring globally with the American Film Showcase. Allison is a 2019 recipient of the SFFILM Catapult Film Fellowship, a 2018 and 2011 Telluride Mountainfilm Commitment grant recipient, and a 2018 Roy W. Dean grant winner. Her journalism clients have included National Geographic, BBC America, NBC, the Sierra Club, Travel Channel, Atlas Obscura, and Lonely Planet. Her first feature-length documentary, THE THIEF COLLECTOR, premiered in the Feature Documentary competition at SXSW 2022.

CARYN CAPOTOSTO (Producer) is an Emmy award-winning producer known for WON’T YOU BE MY NEIGHBOR?, a feature documentary about Mister Rogers that won a 2019 Independent Spirit Award for Best Documentary, a Producers Guild Award, and a 2018 Critics’ Choice Award for Best Documentary. She received a 2016 News and Documentary Emmy Award for her role associate producer on BEST OF ENEMIES as well as a 2021 News and Documentary Emmy for her role as Executive Producer on the 2021 short doc, The Love Bugs. She contributed to the Academy Award and Grammy Award-winning documentary, 20 FEET FROM STARDOM (Associate Producer, 2013). Recent projects include the Emmy-nominated Netflix series Ugly Delicious and Breakfast, Lunch and Dinner. (Executive Producer, 2019-2020) and the Emmy Award-winning documentary FEELS GOOD MAN (Producer, 2021).

JILL HOWERTON (Producer) started her producing career in documentaries and has since grown to include both scripted and non-scripted content in a variety of genres. In 2013, she executive produced the highly anticipated documentary, GMO OMG, which premiered at the Berlin International Film Festival, had a nationwide theatrical release and won Best Documentary at the 2014 Environmental Media Awards. Jill’s most recent film, THE DEVIL WE KNOW, premiered at the Sundance Film Festival in 2018 and was the winner of the Sundance Creative Distribution Fellowship. She co-founded Roots Productions with her business partner, Josh Kunau, which focuses on creating entertaining content that illuminates important issues of our time.

JOSH KUNAU (Producer) After working as an attorney for many years, Josh produced his first film, DIVE!: LIVING OFF AMERICA’S WASTE, which won awards at 22 film festivals around the world. Following DIVE!, Josh produced GMO OMG, which premiered at the Berlinale Film Festival and was released in theaters across the country by Submarine Deluxe. Most recently, Josh helped produce THE BIGGEST LITTLE FARM that premiered at Telluride and Toronto (2018), Sundance and Berlin (2019) and was shortlisted for the 2020 Academy Awards. Prior to that, he produced THE DEVIL WE KNOW (Sundance Film Festival premiere 2018, winner of the Sundance Creative Distribution Fellowship), and UNDER THE GUN (Sundance Film Festival premiere, 2016, distributed by EPIX/Lionsgate).

May 19, 2023 6:00am
Add Calendar Reminder?
In Select Theaters in May, On Demand Beginning on May 19th