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Thread: San Francisco International Film Festival 2011 (year 54)

  1. #46
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    That's a lot of reviews!

    It actually seems to be exactly the same number of reviews I listed in my 2010 SFIFF review index.

    I looked up those two films on IMDb, the Spanish-language one and the French one. They aren't listed there as having any US theatrical release, though the Costa Rican one has been in a lot of US film festivals. The French one, not. I guess officially, neither has been released in the US. Where were they shown, in Miami?

  2. #47
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    He doth set the world on fire! I'm overwhelmed with a plethora of pulchritude.
    Colige suspectos semper habitos

  3. #48
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    Cinemabon can surely be cryptically erudite...

    Yes, these films and many others seemingly without national distributions are having commercial runs here because there are a lot of independent "art" theaters in Miami and they don't want the programming to overlap too much. It's mostly European, Latin American, and Amerindie films.

  4. #49
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    That seems very unusual in the country. Who are the distributors?

  5. #50
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    This is an excerpt from a report on the 2010 MIFF I wrote for Film International Journal

    During the Miami International Film Festival (MIFF), one would logically conclude that the city is a major market for foreign-language, independent and "art" films. However, once the buzz dies down, box-office receipts at theaters showing festival fare are disappointing. Several non-mainstream theaters are attempting to buck that trend by riding the coattails of another successful edition of the MIFF, the 27th. At a time when the number of alternative theaters around the country is dwindling, a brand new cinematheque is set to open in tony Coral Gables, the one in South Beach is moving to larger quarters, and the theaters run by Miami Dade College and the University of Miami have expanded their programming. The MIFF serves as a catalyst for this cultural expansion.

    I reported this trend in my city about 15 months ago. Both new cinematheques I mentioned have had great success as they are perfectly located in South Beach and downtown Coral Gables. There is yet another new art cinema, "The O", located in a part of town that has failed to show that it can support a local alternative theater, given the many options around. I have yet to go. Wish them luck, although I work for the competition.

    The programmers of these theaters are often dealing directly with foreign distributors like in the case of Of Love and other Demons. The French film Bancs Publics was purchased by IFC Films in 2009 and not released (for no good reason I can think of).

  6. #51
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    IFC's non-release of Bancs publics would be worth looking into if I can find someone who'd know. IFC has a bit of a rep for buying things and just sitting on them sometimes.

    Let's hope this pattern you describe spreads to other urban centers of the country. In the Bay Area Landmark has a semi-monopoly on art houses, along with Rialto and the Roxie. Perhaps because of the IFC Center, Film Forum, Anthology Film Archives, Quad Cinema, Cinema Village, Angelika, and the activities (now growing) at Lincoln Center and MoMA and more, that may explain why there is only a single Landmark cineplex in Manhattan while the Bay Area has multiiple Landmarks. Some of their programming is not very adventurous. The biggest one in Berkeley is showing HANGOVER II and BRIDESMAIDS.

    The Roxie Cinema in San Francisco is the only place around here I really know of that is like the independent cinemas you describe working directly with foreign distributers for their own local unique releases. http://www.roxie.com/. Right now they are running the Frameline (gay) Festival. You can see these events coming at the Roxie:

    THE BIG UNEASY
    Starting July 10

    Harry Shearer IN PERSON

    and more importantly

    ROAD TO NOWHERE / Monte Hellman in Person / Hellman Retrospective
    Starting July 22

    Monte Hellman IN PERSON after the 7pm & before the 9:30 shows, Friday, July 22In a career spanning over five decades, Monte Hellman’s relatively compact body of work has proven him to be one of the Great American Directors.
    Last edited by Chris Knipp; 06-22-2011 at 01:55 AM.

  7. #52
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    The Roxie looks great. And I'm happy about the Hellman retrospective. Great opportunity if you haven't seen stuff like Cockfighter. It's Warren Oates in the lead. Enough said.

    Without a doubt NYC is the best city for cinephilia. Can't beat that.

    What seems unique about Miami is that, with one exception, our art cinemas are either run by academic institutions (Cosford, Tower) or by a non-profit board (both Gables and SoBeach cinematheques). This is significant because they don't have the pressure to turn a profit, so they don't have to condescend to what's popular. I was disappointed to find out that the excellent Cinema Studies department at San Francisco State U., better than my own program at UM, doesn't have a screening room or theater open to the public.

  8. #53
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    Definitely non-profit or academic sponsorship of art houses would be a strong feature. I didn't know the SF State Cinema Studies Dept. was better than yours in Miami, or that it has no showings for the public. I'll try to get to some of the Roxie showings for Hellman. It is near a BART station. NYC is very lively, but you do know that people miss the many big old art and rep houses of the past that have shut down over the past three decades. Film Forum often lists some of them when they ask for contributions or subscriptions. Another site I forgot to mention is the Museum of the Moving Image, which is great, though in Astoria, Queens. I've only been there once, should go more often.

    I watched Barbara Loden's WANDA, which you recommended. Strange little piece of Americana. Some of the sequences could be motion picture outgrowths of Robert Frank's seminal photography treatise, The Americans. A film that feels authentic and haunting, and at yet at the same time is in some ways ludicrous and amateurish. It also seems an outgrowth of Loden's own life. I didn't know she was a protege of Elia Kazan and his wife, and died "still angry" at the age of 48.

  9. #54
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    Have you seen Hellman's BACK DOOR TO HELL? That is not in the Roxie series but is one of only two, with TWO LANE BLACKTOP, available on DVD from Netflix. COCKFIGHTER and ROAD TO NOWHERE they list as coming eventually, maybe.
    Last edited by Chris Knipp; 06-22-2011 at 06:00 PM.

  10. #55
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    No, I haven't seen Back Door to Hell and I want to. I've seen: Ride in the Whirlwind, The Shooting, Two-lane Blacktop, Cockfighter and Iguana. Cockfighter has been released on DVD in the US by 3 different companies. The one with the best picture quality and Hellman commentary was released by Anchor Bay in 2001. It is now a collector's item. I have the inferior but acceptable Catcom release.
    Good point about Wanda and Robert Frank's photography.

  11. #56
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    Good to know.

    I forgot the Film Society of Lincoln Center had a Monte Hellman event in connection with the Open Roads festival a couple weeks ago.



    TO HELLMAN AND BACK: AN EVENING WITH MONTE HELLMAN - June 8

    The Film Society of Lincoln Center presented an evening of cinema, literature and music celebrating the return of iconoclastic director Monte Hellman and the release of a new edition of Charles Willeford's long out-of-print novel Cockfighter. FSLC, Picture Box Books and Monterey Media presented a movie double bill of Hellman's new film ROAD TO NOWHERE and his 70s cult-favorite COCKFIGHTER followed by a book party in the Furman Gallery fueled by a live musical performance by Matt Sweeney.


    You shouldn't be intimidated in the least to ask this guy a question. (Photo by Justina Walford)
    Last edited by Chris Knipp; 06-24-2011 at 12:55 AM.

  12. #57
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    Graham Leggat leaves the San Francisco Film Society

    Graham Leggat has announced that he is leaving his job as director of the San Francisco Film Society (and the SFIFF) after six years, for health reasons.

    Graham Leggat has stepped down as executive director of the San Francisco Film Society, effectively immediately.

    In a letter circled to colleagues Monday, Leggat cited health issues for his departure, saying, “As you know, I have relished my leadership role in this dynamic, beloved organization. Unfortunately, health issues make it impossible for me to continue to serve effectively.”

    Leggat said that leadership will transfer to the SFFS staff lead by Deputy Director Steven Jenkins and the organization’s Board of Directors.

    Graham Leggat was appointed executive director of the organization, which hosts year-round programming including the annual San Francisco International Film Festival, the oldest in North America [IN 2005]. Prior to his appointment, he served as director of communications at the Film Society of Lincoln Center in New York.

    While serving as the venerable institution’s executive director., he has spearheaded a number of new initiatives, including the most recent announcement that it would operate a theater in San Francisco’s Japantown neighborhood, giving the 54-year-old organization a beachhead in which it could offer its exhibition, education and filmmaker services programs year-round.
    Leggat was Director of Communications at the FSLC the first year I covered the NYFF in Filmleaf. He was a dynamic and powerful press and industry liaison and far more than that, not surprising that he would go on to become a film society and film festival director. The Scottish-born Leggett had spent time in Northern California before and liked it. He has been a magnanimous,outgoing and tireless leader and revitalized the SFFS, always championing great films and great directors bringing the Society to new heights as an organization. It will be hard to find a true replacement. To give a sense of what a difference Leggat has made suffice it to say that his predecessor's regime was described by a blogger as "inept tyranny." Leggat has been an enormous asset to San Francisco and one can only keep one's fingers crossed that someone of similar merit can be found. As that blog points out, Leggat defended his predecessor on the basis of the SFIFF's fine festival programs. But Leggat greatly expanded the SF Film Society's other functions, its funding, and its physical capability, notably in the recent announcement of a new state-of-the-art venue for film presentations near the Sundance Kabuki, headquarters of the festival.


    GRAHAM LEGGAT AT CANNES 2005
    Last edited by Chris Knipp; 08-26-2011 at 04:34 AM.

  13. #58
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    A San Francisco Chronicle article about Graham Leggat's resignation reveals that he has cancer and his prospects are, alas, not good for survival. He is 51.

    "I was diagnosed last March with cancer and have had various treatments," he said in a telephone interview on Friday. "And it looked like it was going away. But that's always a dodgy proposition, and it returned with kind of a vengeance in March of this year." His cancer has metastasized to several organs and is now classified Stage 4. "It is largely deemed incurable," he said. . .

    "I could not be more excited about what the future holds for the society," Leggat said on Friday. "I'm a little less excited about what the future holds for me, which seems to be not much. . . .

    Leggat, born in Scotland, came to the United States in 1979, worked in New York at such nonprofits as the American Museum of the Moving Image, the Museum of Modern Art, and the Film Society of Lincoln Center, and at one time was a New York Daily News columnist and publisher of Film Comment magazine; his novel, "Song of a Dangerous Paradise," came out in 2007.

    He plans to remain in the Bay Area, where "I could not be better supported," and will travel with his girlfriend to New York this week "to say hello and goodbye to family and friends." He's looking forward to his son visiting for four weeks this summer. "It's just a question of making yourself comfortable and divesting yourself of small and large things. I have the extraordinary fortune of being able to do that."
    Last edited by Chris Knipp; 08-26-2011 at 04:35 AM.

  14. #59
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    press release from the San Francisco Film Society

    >>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>

    GRAHAM LEGGAT (1960 - 2011)

    San Francisco, CA -- Graham Leggat (b. March 12, 1960), executive director of the San Francisco Film Society, a national leader in exhibition, education and filmmaker services and presenter of the San Francisco International Film Festival, died at his San Francisco home on August 25, 2011, after an 18-month battle with cancer. He was 51.


    Graham Leggat - Photo by
    Pamela Gentile


    "For nearly six exciting and transformative years, Graham Leggat led the San Francisco Film Society with irrepressible determination, dash and design," said Pat McBaine, president of the Film Society's board of directors. "His vision, leadership, passion, work ethic, tenacity, imagination and daring along with his colorful language and wicked Scottish sense of humor have indelibly marked our organization with a valuable legacy and left it in the best shape -- artistically, organizationally and financially -- in its 54-year history. Graham was fiercely proud and appreciative of his years at the Film Society and frequently referred to them as the best years of his life. It's no accident or coincidence that those years have also been the best years in the life of the Film Society. Our board and staff are deeply saddened by the loss of our leader, colleague and friend but inspired by his example and memory to carry on his work and build on his accomplishments and vision."

    "Graham's boundless energy and intellect made him just the person to inspire and excite the staff and board to reach new heights and develop our assets," said Melanie Blum, former president of the Film Society board of directors, who organized the executive director search that led to Leggat's appointment in 2005. She remembers writing to Graham that the Film Society was about to celebrate its 50th anniversary and was at a critical juncture in its history. It needed an enlightened leader who could grow the organization into a new and powerful year-round cultural institution. She found that leader in Leggat. "He was a true visionary and a wonderful friend."


    Graham Leggat - Photo by Drew Altizer

    Leggat was appointed executive director of the Film Society October 15, 2005. He immediately architected a strategic plan that enhanced the Film Society's reputation with both filmmakers and audiences, and produced remarkable results. In the five years that he was executive director the staff grew from 11 to 35. The board of directors nearly doubled, from 12 to 22. The operating budget expanded from $2 million to $6 million and was balanced each year. Contributed income increased from $1 million to $3 million. Membership rose 98 percent, ticket sales rose 62 percent and receipts for Film Society Awards Night, the organization's largest annual fundraising event, rose 42 percent. The San Francisco Film Society was transformed from a two-week-a-year film festival producer into a year-round cultural institution with an increasingly national impact, providing programs and services in three areas of activity: exhibition, education and filmmaker services. An article in the San Francisco Examiner in October 2010 noted that the Film Society "has made a transformation worthy of an adventure movie."

    In exhibition, the International is the crown jewel and the longest-running festival in the Americas. In the past five years SFIFF has honored a plethora of illustrious guests including Kevin Brownlow, Francis Ford Coppola, Robert Duvall, Roger Ebert, Ed Harris, Werner Herzog, Spike Lee, Mike Leigh, Peter Morgan, Errol Morris, Walter Murch, Robert Redford, Walter Salles, James Schamus, Terence Stamp, Oliver Stone, Tilda Swinton, Christine Vachon, Elijah Wood, Evan Rachel Wood and Robin Williams.


    Rod Armstrong, Rachel Rosen, Graham Leggat,
    Audrey Chang and Sean Uyehara - Photo by Tommy Lau


    Under Leggat's leadership, the Film Society expanded year-round programming and now presents a robust Fall Season of seven focused festivals including Hong Kong Cinema, Taiwan Film Days, the NY/SF International Children's Film Festival, French Cinema Now, Cinema by the Bay, the San Francisco International Animation Festival and New Italian Cinema.

    Earlier this year, Leggat finalized a long-sought goal when the Film Society announced a historic lease-signing that will enable the organization to offer its acclaimed exhibition, education and filmmaker services programs and events on a daily year-round basis for the first time in the organization's storied 54-year history. On September 1, San Francisco Film Society | New People Cinema will open its doors in the supremely stylish state-of-the art 143-seat theater located in the ultra-contemporary New People building at 1746 Post Street (Webster/Buchanan) in Japantown.


    Paul Sturtz, Graham Leggat, Rachel Rosen
    and Eugene Hernandez - Photo by Pamela Gentile


    The Film Society now has a year-round education department that offers media literacy programs to over 10,000 K-12 students, college and university programs to help students transition into the professional filmmaking arena and more than 120 classes and workshops per year in film craft and film studies for filmmakers, filmgoers and cinephiles of all ages and skill levels.

    Leggat spearheaded the signing of an agreement with Film Arts Foundation in 2008 that led to the creation of the Film Society's Filmmaker Services, which offers a full suite of programs and activities designed to foster creativity and further the careers of independent filmmakers. Filmmaker Services oversees one of the largest film grant programs in the country and through 2013 will have dispersed more than $3.5 million to narrative and documentary filmmakers. In addition, through a partnership with the San Francisco Film Commission, production office space has been provided for dozens of local filmmakers, while several hundred more have benefited from a vibrant fiscal sponsorship program, which provides production and development assistance.

    Leggat's vision also encompassed publishing the nation's only regional online daily film magazine, SF360.org, founded in 2006 in partnership with indieWIRE. The publication now features more than 1,000 pieces of original arts journalism and serves a broad audience of filmmakers, industry professionals and aficionados from around the world who visit the site, subscribe to the weekly newsletters and participate in the growing SF360 community. A variety of stories on Leggat will be appearing on the site in the coming days; reader thoughts and tributes can be posted in comments at SF360.org.


    Graham Leggat - Photo by Tommy Lau

    Graham Charles Alexander Leggat was born March 12, 1960 in Epsom, Surrey. Born of Scottish parents, he grew up in England and Scotland. His father Graham was a renowned international soccer player and later TV commentator for the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation. His mother Marilyn was a teacher and later a human resources executive at a financial company. Following the end of his father's playing career in the mid-'70s, the family immigrated to Toronto, Canada, where Leggat attended high school, excelled at athletics and captained four high school teams (soccer, football, basketball and rugby).

    Having discovered the Beat writers, and through them Zen Buddhism, Leggat decided to trek to Northern California for college. After a Beat-like cross-country bus ride, he started at Stanford University in 1979, "looking," he said, "for enlightenment, but instead found preprofessional determination and high school-like anxiety, so dropped out, not once but twice." The first time, after his sophomore year, he backpacked across Europe and picked oranges on Crete. A year later he dropped out again, moved to Tassajara Zen Mountain Center and studied for three years to become a Buddhist priest before returning to Stanford where he edited the campus literary magazine, played varsity soccer, won the outstanding undergraduate in the creative arts award and graduated in 1987 with a BA in modern English, American literature and American studies. That fall Leggat enrolled in the master's program at Syracuse University to study fiction writing with Tobias Wolff. He graduated in 1989 with an MA in English and creative writing.

    After graduate school Leggat worked as a freelance journalist then landed his first film job working with Richard Herskowitz and Mary Fessenden at Cornell Cinema, one of the country's best college film exhibition programs. The day that he walked into their office he knew, "that (he) had found (his) career, vocation and joy." As coordinator for the Central New York Programmers Group he organized screenings and conferences, curated film packages and arranged for filmmakers to tour exhibition venues throughout upstate New York.

    A temporary job at the New York Film Festival in 1994 drew him to New York City and led to executive positions at the American Museum of the Moving Image (director of public relations), the Museum of Modern Art (assistant director, department of communications) and the Film Society of Lincoln Center (director of communications). Leggat served on the boards of Media Alliance and the Association of Independent Film and Videomakers, was a programmer at the New York Video Festival and the Shorts International Film Festival, and helped found the Gen Art Film Festival. He was the associate publisher of Film Comment magazine, contributing editor for Filmmaker magazine and columnist for the New York Daily News. His first novel, Song of a Dangerous Paradise, was published in January 2007; rare copies of this sci-fi adventure sell for nearly $200.

    At the 2009 International Film Festival Summit, Leggat received the Director Excellence Award, presented to the film festival director who has made considerable contributions and a lasting impact on his/her film festival and independent film, with an emphasis on festival growth, new programs, organizational structure and overall vision.

    In early 2011 the French consul general in San Francisco, Romain Serman, made Leggat a Chevalier de l'Ordre des Arts et des Lettres, an honor awarded by the French Minister of Culture, in recognition of his significant support of cinema.

    Leggat is survived by his parents Graham and Marilyn of Niagara Falls, Canada, son William and daughters Vhary and Isabelle, sister Alexandra Leggat of Toronto, devoted partner Diana Chiawen Lee, former wife Ellen Hughes, mother of his daughters and former wife Lillian Heard, mother of his son.

    In lieu of flowers, donations in Leggat's memory may be made to the San Francisco Film Society. Condolences should be sent to inmemoryofgraham@sffs.org or c/o Jessica Anthony, SFFS, 39 Mesa Street, Suite 110, The Presidio, San Francisco, CA 94129.

    A memorial service, open to the public, is planned for late September.

    For hi-res photos of Graham Leggat visit sffs.org/pressdownloads

    Graham Leggat Favorites
    Films: The Leopard, Blade Runner, Miller's Crossing, The Tin Drum, The 400 Blows, Alien, Cold Water, Talk to Her, The Royal Tenenbaums, In the Mood for Love, 2046 and hundreds more.

    Writer: Tobias Wolff

    Musician: Tom Waits

    Songs: "Singin' in the Rain," "Get Me Away from Here I'm Dying," "My Dad, I Fucking Love My Dad"

    Karaoke songs to perform: Radiohead's "Creep," Sid Vicious's "My Way" and the Clash's "Guns of Brixton"
    Last edited by Chris Knipp; 08-26-2011 at 04:04 AM.

  15. #60
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    Bingham Ray (1954 - 2012)


    BINGHAM RAY

    Sad story. Three months after the death of Graham Leggett of cancer at 51, on November 7, 2011, the 57-year-old "colorful indie film executive" Bingham Ray was appointed executive director of the San Francisco Film Society to replace him. Now, before I'd even gotten around to reporting on Bingham Ray, he has died as a result of a stroke suffered at the Sundance Film Festival, after serving little longer than two months as new SFFS director. The cause was a series of strokes.

    From Scarsdale, NY, Ray worked as a projectionist in a Grenwich Village movie house, then worked in the NYC office of MGM in the Eighties. He worked at five other distribution companies, including New Yorker Films and Avenue Pictures, where he oversaw the release of Gus Van Santís Drugstore Cowboy in 1989. In 1991 with Jeff Lipsky in LA Ray co-founded October Films, which after several mergers in 2002 became the immportant art house distributer Focus Features. Ray was an indie mover and shaker who was active during the glory days of Sundance. He was partly responsible for the release of such films as The War Room, Secrets and Lies, Breaking the Waves, High Art and Lost Highway and an early Iranian export success, Panahi's The White Balloon. He went on to run United Artists, during which time he was involved in the release of Bowling for Columbine and Hotel Rwanda. Ray was also a programming consultant to the Film Society of Lincoln Center, IFC Films and Snag Films, which focuses on documentaries, and an adjunct professor at New York Universityís Tisch School of the Arts. He had described the SFFS directorshop as a job "too good to be true," and citing Graham Leggat's great success had said that

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