Film phase:Completed


Today, nearly 2 million Americans are being held for ransom by pharmaceutical companies—without insulin, they’ll be dead in days. PAY OR DIE follows families on the receiving end of these ransom notes, revealing the harrowing reality of living with a chronic illness in the richest country in the world. The film tells the stories of a mother and daughter who struggle to rebuild their lives after losing their home due to choosing between paying rent and buying insulin, a young woman who was diagnosed with Type 1 diabetes during the height of the COVID-19 pandemic, and a Minnesota family whose 26-year-old son died from rationing his insulin and was thrust into the national spotlight. These stories lay bare the human cost of America’s insulin affordability crisis.

PAY OR DIE is a participant of Project: Hatched 2023.




Rachael Dyer headshot in black and whiteRachael Dyer (she/her), an Australian native and Canadian citizen based in New York, is an award-winning producer and journalist whose work has appeared on Netflix, Apple TV+, Paramount+, MTV Documentary Films, HBO,, BBC Studios, Hulu, Peacock, Oxygen, Discovery+, and OWN: The Oprah Winfrey Network. PAY OR DIE is Dyer’s directorial debut. Her previous credits include Hillary and Chelsea Clinton’s documentary series Gutsy (2022); Keep This Between Us (2022), and Un(well) (2020). Dyer previously worked as a journalist for BBC, Channel News Asia and other major international channels. She was awarded the Southern California’s journalist award for best international feature as well as the Clio Entertainment Grand winning entry for her work on The Greatest Showman Live, the world’s first live commercial for a theatrical release.


Scott Ruderman headshot in black and white

Scott Alexander Ruderman (he/him) is an accomplished cinematographer and award-winning film director based in New York. His diverse portfolio has earned global recognition at esteemed film festivals and has been featured on platforms such as Netflix, Paramount+, MTV, HBO, PBS, BBC, A&E, Hulu, and Discovery+. Additionally, he directed the documentary short Piano Craftman about a quirky, sometimes cranky New York City piano tuner. The film was screened at multiple festivals and won the Best Director award at the 2021 Madrid Art Film Festival. He holds an MFA degree from the School of Visual Arts. Currently, he is collaborating with esteemed filmmakers Jenifer McShane, Anthony Wonke, Cindy Meehl, and Sheila Nevins.




Producer Yael Melamede looking directly at camera and smiling. Black and white photo.Yael Melamede (she/her) is the co-founder of SALTY Features, a film production company based in New York. Yael served as an Executive Producer on the Jigsaw Productions/Amblin Entertainment six-part series, Why We Hate, which premiered on Discovery in November 2019. Her directorial debut, the critically acclaimed (Dis)Honesty – The Truth About Lies (2015), combined the work of behavioral scientist Dan Ariely with personal stories to illuminate how and why we lie.

Melamede has produced several documentaries, including Straight/Curve (2017), Inocente, Academy Award® for Best Documentary (Short Subject) (2013), Desert Runners (2015), When I Walk, Outstanding Informational Programming – Long Form News & Documentary Emmy® Award Winner (2015), and My Architect, Academy Award® Nominee (2004). Prior to her career in filmmaking, Yael was an architect. She is currently a member of the Academy of Motion Picture Arts & Sciences.