The Department of Motion Pictures produces narrative and documentary features as well as a variety of short-form work, with a focus on ambitious, cinematic, and emotionally resonant storytelling.


Over the years, members of the Department of Motion Pictures have produced BEASTS OF THE SOUTHERN WILD, Laurie Anderson’s film HEART OF A DOG, the Sundance and SXSW award-winning documentary WESTERN, the Vimeo season of HIGH MAINTENANCE, and projects in collaboration with ESPN, Time Magazine, and David Byrne. The company’s latest feature PATTI CAKE$ premiered in U.S. Dramatic Competition at Sundance 2017 and is distributed by Fox Searchlight.


Though the Department of Motion Pictures was officially established in 2015, its founding members have a history that involves digital, media, and grassroots work on the 2008 and 2012 Obama campaigns and running the Court 13 collective, making movies together since 2007.



In 2015, Court 13 evolved into two new, distinct, but related organizations: a non-profit Louisiana community arts wing called Court 13 Arts and a production company wing called the Department of Motion Pictures.

Members of The Department of Motion Pictures include:

Michael Gottwald – Producer/ Founder

Josh Penn – Producer/Founder

Noah Stahl – Producer

Elizabeth Lodge Stepp– Producer

Tara Sheffer – Coordinator

Kerry Leigh Pittenger – Bookkeeper