The San Francisco Film Society has lucked out. After a long and sad process–having suffered the too-early losses of both directors Graham Leggat and his replacement, Bingham Ray–the SFSS has hired one of the best and brightest producers in the independent community as its new executive director. Ted Hope starts September 1. (Stay tuned for my interview with Hope.)
But what's good for San Francisco is a loss for the indie film world at large, because while Hope will do many good things to advance film culture via SFSS and its sprawling international film festival, we are losing him as a full-time producer. And the reason he's not pursuing producing: it's gotten too bloody difficult.
He starts fresh in the Bay Area, leaving New York City, where he produced indie films via his companies Good Machine, This is that corporation and Double Hope Films.
Said Pat McBaine, SFFS board president:
"Ted Hope is the perfect choice to build on the San Francisco Film Society's already strong reputation for supporting filmmakers and its established excellence in exhibition and education. His absolute grasp of the current state of film culture, his innovative approach to each of his projects, his dedication to bringing artists' visions to the screen and his bold plans for the Film Society are exciting to us all. We are truly fortunate to have one of the industry's most creative thinkers take the helm going forward."
"The film world — be it in content, creation, business or audience — has changed significantly over the last twenty years and we all must change with it. It's time that the film industry looked not just to Hollywood but instead to the Bay Area and Silicon Valley, and San Francisco Film Society is a major artistic voice positioned right in the heart of this vibrant cultural location. This unique opportunity to work with the Film Society's diverse communities is an extension of producing in the fullest of ways — allowing me to engage with the art form as a whole, at every level of activity. I am deeply honored and humbled to continue the extraordinary legacy of Bingham Ray and Graham Leggat, which is evident in SFFS's dedication to empowering artists to get their work not just made but also truly appreciated, and by their support for the complete cinematic enterprise, process and community."
Hope's output of nearly 70 films include several films by Todd Solondz as well as his latest, "Dark Horse," Sean Durkin's "Martha Marcy May Marlene" and Greg Mottola's "Adventureland." Hope produced more than 20 first features, including those of Alan Ball, Todd Field, Michel Gondry, Hal Hartley, Nicole Holofcener and Ang Lee.