Pay the Artist

The PTA initiative is part of a larger effort to create a sustainable ecosystem for nonfiction filmmakers, whose work rarely gets a wide theatrical run. Festivals, more and more, are acting as a de facto substitute for movie houses. Crowdfunding and foundation grants are often not enough to bring a film into the world.

The True/False PTA program exists as a partial remedy to this problem. In 2014, True/False began offering $450 to each feature filmmaker (or filmmaking team) attending the fest in addition to paying for all travel, lodging and food expenses. In 2015, 37 feature filmmakers received $500 for screening their film at the festival. We hope to grow this fund each year and, eventually, to be able to offer stipends of $1,000 per filmmaker.

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.

We see ourselves 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. 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.

Funds for the PTA program are provided through generous three-year financial commitments from patrons who care deeply about the future of nonfiction filmmaking.

2016 PTA Members:


Amanda & Matthew VanderTuig

Holly Roberson and John Goldstein

Pete Kingma & Thom Lambert

Jonathan Murray

Chad Troutwine

J.A. & H.G Woodruff Jr. Charitable Trust


For more information about joining the PTA, please contact Holly Smith-Berry, Development Director, at