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 teach an online course called Filmmaker.MBA.

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.

newsletter archives

Announcing the Filmmaker MBA

We’ve got exciting news. This week, we launched the Filmmaker MBA, an online course and community teaching independent filmmakers how to find an audience, distribute their work, and build long-term careers. We had a massive response to our beta launch. We added 25 members in 15 minutes, then expanded to 100 in the first 24 hours. If you’d like to join the Filmmaker MBA, we’re offering a 50% discount to new members. Sign up here and use the discount code LAUNCH. We’re really excited to share the Filmmaker MBA…

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…


Contact Us

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

Keith Ochwat
[email protected]
Christopher Rufo
[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.