America Lost is a feature-length documentary that asks the question: what are the consequences when public institutions fail?
The film explores this theme through the stories of the nation’s municipal bankruptcy crisis, the Rust Belt’s devastated economy, and the Mississippi Delta’s broken education system.
The film shows the human toll of these failures by weaving the personal narratives of a single mother struggling to keep her family together, a block watch captain fighting to restore a neighborhood in decline, and a pair of seventh-graders who dream of escaping their impoverished rural town.
With commentary from Charles Murray, David Brooks, Tyler Cowen, and Walter Russell Mead, America Lost examines how our dysfunctional institutions erode individual opportunity and create a dangerous divide between success and failure in America.
Ultimately, despite these grave challenges, the film outlines a positive agenda for reforming civil society and restoring our faith in the pursuit of happiness.
America Lost began production in January 2014 and will be released over the course of 18 months preceding the 2016 presidential election.
We have extensive ground-level experience in film marketing, distribution, and public relations. Our mission with America Lost is to have the same level of impact on the issue of institutional reform as Waiting for Superman had on school choice.
Our goal is to reach 3 million viewers through the following distribution campaigns:
- Launch a 20-city theatrical tour to build a core audience, generate national media coverage, and saturate markets including DC, NYC, SF, LA, Houston, and Chicago
Community Screening Campaign
- Spearhead 3,000 community screenings in partnership with local organizations
- Host special events with think tanks, advocacy organizations, and elected officials to advance the debate on institutional reform
- Inspire audiences to take action at the local, state, and federal level
- Promote national television broadcast with an expected 2.5 million viewers
- Support broadcast with media appearances by the filmmakers, commentators, and characters in the film
- Release the film commercially through iTunes, Amazon, Netflix, and Google Play
- Drive traffic through institutional partnerships, earned media, and web advertising
We are the Documentary Foundation, a 501(c)(3) non-profit organization dedicated to creating and distributing character-driven political documentaries. We have produced three films for PBS—Age of Champions, Roughing It, and Diamond in the Dunes—and been hailed by the New York Times for our “good eye for the unusual” and ability to capture “fascinating material.”
Our latest documentary, Age of Champions, reached more than 3 million viewers on PBS, iTunes, Netflix, and Amazon. We also conducted a grassroots campaign of more than 3,000 community events and 100 speaking engagements with organizations including AARP, Alzheimer’s Association, and the National Council on Aging.
We have appeared on Fox News, NPR, ABC, CBS, HLN, and CNN’s Sanjay Gupta MD:
Filmmakers Christopher Rufo and Keith Ochwat have been friends since they were 13-years-old and share a longstanding passion for filmmaking, public policy, and world travel.
Christopher is the Creative Director of the Documentary Foundation and has directed three films for PBS. He graduated from Georgetown University’s School of Foreign Service and speaks Italian, Spanish, and Chinese.
Keith is the Managing Director of the Documentary Foundation and previously served as a Capitol Director in the California State Assembly. He graduated from Cal Poly San Luis Obispo and attended the Summer Seminars at the Institute for Humane Studies.
The Moving Picture Institute produces and promotes films that make an impact on people’s understanding of individual rights, limited government, and free markets, and supports freedom-oriented filmmakers at every phase of their careers. MPI is a charitable and educational tax-exempt foundation within the meaning of Section 501(c)(3) of the Internal Revenue Code. MPI is supported entirely by the generous contributions of individuals, foundations, and corporations.