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by Peter Knegt
February 4, 2014 1:53 PM
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Hey Documentary Filmmakers: True/False Announces New 'Pay The Artists' Initiative

The True/False Film Festival -- which goes down this year from February 27-March 2 in Columbia, Missouri -- has announced a new initiative that should please documentary filmmakers: The Pay The Artists Program.

The festival said that the program "is part of a larger effort to create a sustainable ecosystem for nonfiction filmmakers, whose work rarely gets a wide theatrical run."  Basically, festivals -- more and more --  are acting as a de facto substitute for movie houses. And sometimes crowdfunding and foundation grants are simply not enough to bring a film into the world.

So as a partial remedy to this problem come "Pay The Artists." For this festival, True/False will begin offering $450 to each feature filmmaker (or filmmaking team) with a film at the fest in addition to all travel, lodging and food expenses. 

"We hope to grow this fund each year and, eventually, to be able to offer stipends of $1,000 per filmmaker," the festival said. "The PTA is a tangible way to invest in filmmakers doing great films over the long haul. With it, T/F is seeding a movement of supportive institutions who invest in nonfiction filmmaking futures. We hope that, for more new filmmakers, nonfiction is not merely a launching pad to commercial or fiction work but a viable career path. T/F is committed to this egalitarian approach of spreading the wealth rather than focusing on isolated awards."

The funds for the PTA program were provided through three-year financial commitments from patrons who clearly care deeply future of nonfiction filmmaking. True/False is calling them "the founding members of the PTA initiative" and they deserve a shout out: Holly Roberson and John Goldstein, Aggregate, J.A. & H.G Woodruff Jr. Charitable Trust, Pete Kingma & Thom Lambert, and Jonathan Murray.

True/False said that they see themselves "as a petri dish for trying out ideas, including how to best serve filmmakers." 

"The PTA is an experiment, but also a crucial corrective to the lack of resources for independent filmmakers," they continued. "While the amounts may seem token at first, we see the PTA a growing, important commitment to do more care and feeding of the filmmakers we believe in. If we are not all engaged in making independent filmmaking a sustainable enterprise, we will lose the very voices we exist to champion."

Check out True/False's website here.
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1 Comment

  • Rick Minnich | February 5, 2014 4:14 AMReply

    That's great news from the coolest documentary festival on this planet. True/False has always put filmmakers first. As a documentary filmmaker lucky enough to be invited there twice, I can't say enough good things about the True/False team and the fabulous locals who come out in force to support their hometown festival. I sure hope other festivals follow T/F's lead.