Film website SF360, a five-year-old online publication devoted to covering the San Francisco Bay Area’s film community, will cease operations next month. Launched in March 2006, the site was one of the first initiatives of the late Graham Leggat following his appointment of the San Francisco Film Society. The site initially launched as a cooperative venture with indieWIRE and later spearheaded entirely by SFFS.
The demise of SF360 comes at a critical juncture for the San Francisco Film Society following Leggat’s death in August. SFFS is expected to name a permanent replacement as its executive director soon.
At its launch in January 2006, SF360 was billed as “dedicated to daily coverage and social network support of the vibrant SF film and media scene,” mirroring iW’s publishing model at the time, but with its own “distinctive look and feel.” Journalist and Bay Area local Susan Gerhard was named as editor and has continued in the role to the present.
The San Francisco Chronicle first reported the news earlier today, saying SF360 had become a “victim of financial realities and organizational changes in the wake of Leggat’s recent death.”
SFFS’s acting executive director Steven Jenkins told indieWIRE that the organization, which annually produces the San Francisco International Film Festival in addition to other year-round programs and initiatives, is trying to cut costs.
“We’ve been immensely proud of the publication for five years,” Jenkins said. “We’re committed to the content and crucial parts of the site. But we’re looking to consolidate as we streamline ourselves as a nonprofit. We’d like to drive more traffic to the organization’s primary site, sffs.org. Obviously there’s a difference between the two, but we’re looking to see how we can retain key areas of the site as we continue to uplift Bay Area film.”
At the time of its fifth birthday, SF360 had been promoting itself in the mold of nonprofit/philanthropically funded journalism akin to fellow Bay Area publications such as Bay Citizen and Pro Publica.
The second annual SF360.org Presents Essential SF Awards will go on as planned November 6 at SF Film Society | New People Cinema, as part of SFFS’s Cinema by the Bay program.
“I feel so honored to have been part of Graham Leggat’s ‘lift all boats’ publishing project for these past five-and-a-half years, to work with such great writers, thinkers and filmmakers,” Gerhard told indieWIRE Wednesday. “And I’m of course incredibly disappointed that the project’s ending in such a sudden and unexpected way and saddened by the loss of one more venue for film writers.”