Independent film veteran Ted Hope has been named executive director of the San Francisco Film Society, moving into a position left vacant in January by the sudden death of Bingham Ray.
Ray himself was only in the job for a short time; he succeeded longtime director Graham Leggat, who died of cancer in August 2011.
The 55-year-old San Francisco Film Society produces the annual San Francisco Film Festival, but has also grown into a year-round organization programming and promoting film through exhibitions, educational programs and the Filmmaker360 grant program, which distributes close to $1 million annual to independent films.
Hope, one of the most active and outspoken members of the New York independent-film community, has produced more than 70 films, including "Martha Marcy May Marlene," "The Savages" and "American Splendor." He founded the companies This Is That, Good Machine and Double Hope Films.
The job will reportedly require Hope to leave his longtime home of New York City and move to San Francisco. He begins the position on Sept. 1.
For years, Hope has been speaking out about the changes in the world of independent film, and the ways in which filmmakers must change and adapt. In his second list of 38 ways in which the film industry was failing, which ran on TheWrap in 2010, Hope wrote, "The exciting part … is that these lists demonstrate a tremendous opportunity for those willing to break from the status quo and take action. Things may be wrong, but they could always be worse. From here, we just have to work together to make it better."
In the press release announcing his appointment, Hope continued that theme. “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,” he said. “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.”
Pat McBaine, president of the SFFS board, added, “[Ted Hope's] 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.”