Ted  Hope, Executive Director, San Francisco Film Society, San Francisco, CA
The Influence

Ted Hope doesn't read scripts anymore. That's his new vow as the leader of the San Francisco Film Society -- not because the veteran producer of films like "Happiness" and "American Splendor" no longer wants to produce, but because he's currently devoted to creating an infrastructure that will allow all filmmakers a better chance at getting their movies seen.

"Everything is a different model," he said. "It's a herculean effort that will require many to make it work."

Among his initial efforts was the inaugural A2E (Artist to Entrepreneur) program, a series of workshops designed to help all elements of the film industry reconsider all issues related to building a business around their art. Said Hope, "It was aimed at helping filmmakers understand how to build a budget around the second half of their film."

Given his location, part of his goal is to boost the Bay Area and make it a disruptive center for filmmaking practices. "I'm the leader of organization vs a producer (with) my own mission," he said. "The challenge is getting the movie seen, not getting it funded. And getting these programs launched requires raising $600,000 right away. It's such a different way of working."

Hope recognizes that the problems he's tackling are massive and that a traditionally genteel organization like the SFFS might not always be comfortable in the role of battering ram. "Change isn't something an individual can do or communities are comfortable with. I have a supportive board and great sponsors, but the difference between strategizing and getting stuff done, it comes down to -- can I get more people involved and can I get the money that's needed to do it? 'How do I build community and raise money' is first and foremost on my mind.


Biggest Success

"Moving to San Francisco and taking the job at the San Francisco Film Society... taking a break from producing and focusing on structure building."


Biggest Disappointment

"The recognition that indie film is not a sustainable culture, business or career path at this time, for anyone. Even the most successful. And I'm an optimist. My last name is Hope. I also think it's the best time ever to be an independent filmmaker."


Biggest Challenge

"The cost of marketing and distribution. Tools improve, there's access to information and content, barriers to entry are lower, and the opportunities for collaboration increase. But the dominant status quo business model is in question."

What's Next

"Making sure that the creators are the direct financial beneficiaries of the work they create. Helping filmmakers navigate this huge paradigm shift that's before us. That's really the call to action. There have been a lot of inquiries to launch a new iteration of the A2Elab in other locales and I hope to lock the funding to bring it to filmmakers in different regions."


The Survey
My Biggest Career Break...
Taking a job as a PA on "Sid & Nancy" (which was the first film "of quality" I worked on).
Best Filmmaker Working Today...
The community of support, i.e. the thing I love about film is that it is subjective and temporal and entirely in flux.
A Guilty Pleasure Movie...
I disagree with the term, which is entirely opposed to what I love about film. To have an art form that demonstrates the falsity of hierarchy and class by the fact that we can take great pleasure by what both aims for art and aims for broad appeal and then to classify a high and low form defeats the form. My guilty pleasure would thus be somewhere between Chris Marker and Alain Resnais and cute animals on the internet, rube goldbergian devises (the way things work), early footage of bands I will never see (Velvet Underground, Lee Hazlewood, Serge Gainsborough), and abandoned buildings (aka ruinporn).
My First Job...
Working in an apple orchard, trimming trees, planting seeds, sorting the good from the bad, making cider ‐‐‐ all an apt metaphor for producing and arts management.
15 YEARS OLD
The age that Ted got his first job
5 Festivals
Attended this year by Ted
6 WEEKS
The average amount that Ted travels for work each year
25 TIMES
Ted has been to the Sundance Film Festival