Noah J Nelson on Tuesday, Mar. 19th
I had the honor of working with the San Francisco Film Society for the 50th edition of the SF Film Festival. That year the Society’s mission began to gel around the idea of enabling young filmmakers. This was thanks to the vision of the late Graham Leggat. After Graham passed the next Executive Director was Bingham Ray, who tragically died before he could really get going.
The work that the Society has done over these years has begun to pay off in a huge way. The current Executive Director, famed indie producer Ted Hope, lays out the evidence for what he calls a Bay Area cinema renaissance:
Last week yet another film supported by the San Francisco Film Society won a major film festival. SHORT TERM 12 won SXSW, both the Grand Jury Prize and the Audience Award. Okay, you already know that, but did you recognize what it meant?
When BEASTS OF THE SOUTHERN WILD got three Oscar nominations, including a best picture one despite being the lowest budgeted film ever to receive such an honor, it was another chapter in a tale begun long ago, one where part of that inciting incident that launched it’s trajectory was funding it received from our Bay Area institution. When FRUITVALE followed BEASTS’ trail, and it too won Sundance this year, it drove in fueled by funding (25%) that again eminated for the San Francisco Film Society and the incredible generosity of the Kenneth Ranin Foundation. The trifecta was completed by SHORT TERM 12 — another film that any film exec would have said had no market potential, no place in our market-driven entertainment ecosystem. Another film that would not be available for you to appreciate if it was not for nonprofit support for the arts.