PAY THE ARTISTS!
The Pay the Artists! (PTA) Initiative is part of a larger effort to create a sustainable ecosystem for nonfiction filmmakers, who often lose money bringing their work into the world. Festivals increasingly act as a de facto substitute for movie houses, and crowdfunding and foundation grants are often not enough to support getting one’s film out there. The True/False PTA program exists as a partial remedy to this problem.
Since 2014, PTA donors have enabled T/F to award an honorarium to each visiting filmmaking team, in addition to covering all travel, lodging, and meal expenses. When the program began, we set the lofty goal of eventually providing $1,000 per filmmaking team. After six years, we reached that $1,000 goal for the 34 filmmaking teams that attended T/F 2020. We will continue to sustain and grow this program in the future.
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 are provided through three-year financial gifts of a minimum of $10,000 per year from patrons who care deeply about the future of nonfiction filmmaking. Half of the funds are given directly to filmmakers, and half are used to support the programming activities of the festival.