Keith Ochwat
© Documentary Foundation


America Lost is a feature-length documentary that explores the dramatic decline of family, economic, and civic life in three of America’s “forgotten cities”—Stockton, California, Youngstown, Ohio, and Alligator, Mississippi.

The film shows the devastating human toll of this cultural upheaval through the stories of a single mother struggling to keep her family together, an inner-city pastor fighting to restore a chaotic neighborhood, and a pair of seventh-graders who dream of escaping their impoverished rural town.

With commentary from Charles Murray, Tyler Cowen, David Brooks, and Walter Russell Mead, America Lost sheds light on how our eroding social institutions limit individual opportunity and create a dangerous divide between success and failure.

Ultimately, despite these grave challenges, the film issues a passionate call for a cultural Great Awakening to empower individuals to rebuild their families and communities from the bottom up.

The film’s title is a play on Milton’s Paradise Lost—how we’ve strayed from the promise of America’s founding ideals and hope to restore them.


Our mission with America Lost is to be a catalyst for families, schools, churches, and civic organizations to lead the conversation about opportunity and upward mobility in their communities.

We have extensive ground-level experience in film marketing, distribution, and public relations. For America Lost, we will build on the the same strategies and relationships as our last film, Age of Champions, which grossed $1.2 million and reached more than 3 million viewers across all major platforms.

Our objective is to actively engage audiences through 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


  • 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


  • Spearhead 3,000 public screenings in partnership with local community 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


  • Release the film commercially through iTunes, Amazon, Netflix, and Google Play
  • Drive traffic through institutional partnerships, earned media, and web advertising


About Us

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, grossed $1.2 million and 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.

Our long-term vision with America Lost is to establish a new brand of “character-driven social documentary” and create a series of films over the next decade that lead the national debate on civic reform.

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 Rufo, Director
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 Ochwat, Producer
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.


Keith Ochwat