hope and heartbreak in
three forgotten American cities

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About Us

We are the Documentary Foundation, a 501(c)(3) non-profit dedicated to producing and distributing character-driven social documentaries. We have produced three films for PBS and appeared on NPR, CNN, ABC, CBS, HLN, and FOX News.

What we do

Documentaries that make an impact

Our films

Our Philosophy

We believe in telling stories that explore
the triumphant spirit of the American people

Our mission is to produce documentaries that examine America’s most pressing social issues by fusing together emotional personal stories with commentary from the nation’s top thinkers and scholars.

With our upcoming film America Lost, our goal is to establish a new brand of “character-driven social documentary” and make a series of films over the next decade that leads the debate on civic reform.

We believe in films that inspire a free society

Our films

We’ve made three documentaries for distribution on PBS, Amazon, iTunes, and Netflix.
We’ve covered topics ranging from nomadic life in Mongolia to the amazing competitors of the Senior Olympics.

America Lost

Age of Champions

Diamond in the Dunes

Roughing It

Our Team

We’re Keith Ochwat and Christopher Rufo. We’ve been friends since high school.
In 2006, we had the crazy idea to make a documentary about Mongolian nomads—and we’ve been making films ever since.

We were both born and raised in Sacramento, California to immigrant families.
We’ve made films in Mongolia, China, Nigeria, Lebanon, Cyprus, France, and the United States.

Some of our accomplishments

 

 

We have appeared on Fox News, NPR, ABC, CBS, HLN, and CNN’s Sanjay Gupta MD:

Join Our Newsletter

We’ll keep you posted with monthly updates on our films, screenings, behind-the-scenes, and general musings on cinema.

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newsletter archives

Our Journey to Memphis

Exciting developments for our film America Lost After more than a year of filming in Stockton and Youngstown, we’ve begun shooting in our third and final city: Memphis, Tennessee. We discovered Memphis on a long research trip earlier this year, when we traveled from New Orleans all the way through the Mississippi Delta, then up to Memphis. When we touched down, we knew we’d found our final location for the film. Our next step was to find the right characters. Over…

Film Trooper Podcast

This morning, we did a great interview about new film distribution strategies with Scott McMahon at Film Trooper. For the full podcast and show notes: filmtrooper.com/077-how-a-filmmak…christopher-rufo/.

VIDEO: Fledgling Fund Engagement Lab

I just spoke with the incredible filmmakers in the Fledgling Fund Engagement Lab about how indie film distribution is changing and what they can do to succeed in this new world. We talked economics, distribution, strategy, and even about my time working the graveyard shift as a security guard while editing my first documentary. Watch the session now: Here are the films in the Engagement Lab: Private Violence SEED: The Untold Story 15 to Life The Return The C Word Food Chains…

Video: Doc Distribution Masterclass at SIFF

In case you missed it, here’s the full 60-minute video of our “Filmmaker MBA” masterclass at the 2015 Seattle International Film Festival (SIFF).  We developed this seminar to empower filmmakers to take control of their destiny and build thriving businesses around their work. We share groundbreaking strategies, real-world tactics, and a detailed case study on how we earned more than $1.2 million with our last film. In the presentation, we cover the following topics: Economics for Indies Business Basics for Creatives…

 

Contact Us

We’d love to hear from you. We’re always looking for new partners, collaborators, supporters, and clients.

Keith Ochwat
916-541-1667
[email protected]
Christopher Rufo
916-627-5480
[email protected]

Stay Connected With Us

We’ll keep you posted with monthly updates on our films, screenings, behind-the-scenes, and general musings on cinema.

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