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.

Special thanks to Chicken and Egg Pictures for sponsoring the 2013 SWAMI program.


Emma Davie, co-director, I Am Breathing
Tinatin Gurchiani, director, The Machine Which Makes Everything Disappear
Eliane Raheb & Nizar Hassan, director and producer, Sleepless Nights
Nick Bentgen & Lisa Kjerulff, director & producer, Northern Light
Jason Osder, director, Let the Fire Burn
Catalina Vergara, co-director, The Last Station
Martha Shane & Lana Wilson, co-directors, After Tiller


Noah Cowan, artistic director of TIFF Bell Lightbox, a visual culture center including cinemas, galleries, and learning studios in downtown Toronto. He’s the former co-director of the Toronto International Film Festival and of the distribution company Cowboy Films.

Sandi Dubowski, director, Trembling Before G-d and the work-in-progress The Amichai Film Project; producer, A Jihad for Love; co-producer, Budrus; Good Pitch U.S. outreach director and grassroots distribution maven. DuBowski speaks about strategic international distribution campaigns, creative audience outreach, engagement, and funding.

Heidi Ewing, co-founder of New York-based Loki Films along with Rachel Grady. Their films include Detropia, Jesus Camp, The Boys of Baraka, and 12th & Delaware.

Judith Helfand, director, The Uprising of ’34, Blue Vinyl, Everything’s Cool and the Peabody Award winning A Healthy Baby Girl; co-founder of Working Films and Chicken and Egg Pictures.

Tom Quinn, co-president of Radius, the new boutique distribution label within the Weinstein Company, and former senior vice president at Magnolia Pictures.

Esther Robinson, award-winning filmmaker/producer (A Walk into the Sea: Danny Williams and The Warhol Factory); former director of film/video and performing arts for the Creative Capital 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.