The True/False SWAMI mentorship program was launched in 2007 as a way to help new nonfiction filmmakers navigate the sometimes treacherous terrain of the doc film world. Through meetings with seasoned and knowledgeable industry professionals, first-time filmmakers get unvarnished advice on everything that happens after they finish their final cut. From sales agents to online distribution to European sales, this is a chance for filmmakers to get unbiased answers on some of the thorniest topics in the movie business.


Alison Klayman, director, Ai Weiwei: Never Sorry

David Osit, director, Building Babel

Katherine Fairfax Wright & Malika Zouhali-Worrall, co-directors, Call Me Kuchu

Angad Bhalla & Lisa Valencia-Swensson, co-directors, Harman’s House

Jason Tippet & Elizabeth Mims, co-directors, Only the Young 

Omar Mullick & Bassam Tariq, co-directors,  These Birds Walk

Xun “Fish” Yu, director, The Vanishing Spring Light

2012 SWAMIs

Sean Farnel, independent film consultant specializing in festival, curation, acquisitions, and creative development; prior stints include director of programming at Hot Docs and staff programmer with the Toronto International Film Festival.

Judith Helfand, filmmaker, activist, and educator; co-founder and director of strategic and creative development for Chicken & Egg Pictures; co-founder of Working Films.

Simon Kilmurry, executive director and producer of POV, television’s longest-running showcase for independent nonfiction films.

Ryan Krivoshey, Cinema Guild’s director of distribution; veteran of the New York film scene at such mainstays as Film Forum, Icarus Films, and Kim’s Videos.

Andrea Meditch, award-winning documentary film producer (Buck, Man on Wire) and creative advisor; president of Back Allie Entertainment and advisor to Michigan State University’s College of Communication.

Esther Robinson, award-winning filmmaker/producer (A Walk into the Sea: Danny Williams and the Warhol Factory); former director of film/video for the Creative Capitol Foundation and one of the principal architects of their innovative grant-making system.

Jess Search, co-founder of the independent filmmakers’ network Shooting People and chief executive of Channel 4 British Documentary Film Foundation

Special thanks to Chicken & Egg Pictures and the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences for sponsoring the 2012 SWAMI program.