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

  1. #61
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    Graham Leggat's successor suddenly dies

    Bingham Ray (1954 - 2012)
    SFFS New Director Suddenly Dies



    BINGHAM RAY [from IMDb]

    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 while attending the Sundance Film Festival. He had served little longer than two months as new SFFS director. The cause was a series of strokes.

    He had described the SFFS directorshop as a job "too good to be true," and citing Graham Leggat's great success during his six-year leadership in revitalizing the San Francisco Film Society, Ray had said that you don't fix something that is not broken, and he would seek to follow the good path Leggat had set.

    As a New York Times obit by Brooks Barnes describes him, Ray was "volatile and blunt" and "championed stylized, intellectually challenging films, buying distribution rights to movies that few believed had a box-office prayer." Barnes quotes Eamonn Bowles, president of Magnolia Pictures: "The words 'fearless' and 'brave' are tossed around a lot in our world, but that’s the only way to describe Bingham."

    Ray spent his life dedicated to film. After growing up in Scarsdale, New York, Ray worked in his younger days as a projectionist at the now defunct Bleeker Street Theater in Grenwich Village, then gained regular employment at the NYC office of MGM in the Eighties. He subsequently worked at five other distribution companies, including New Yorker Films and Avenue Pictures, where he oversaw the release of Gus Van Sant’s 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, so that his being stricken there has a certain special tragic significance, and has caused widespread shock at the festival.

    Ty Burr of the Boston Globe in a Sundance blog wrote of Ray, "I imagine there will be many, many glasses raised on Park City's Main Street tonight. He'll be missed, and I don't say that sentimentally. Ray was attending the Art House Convergence Conference when he was stricken, advising theater owners on how to bring the movies he loved to the audiences who might best appreciate them. In other words, he was in his prime and still making a difference. He will be missed."

    Through October and Focus Films Ray was partly responsible for the release of such films as The War Room, Secrets and Lies, Breaking the Waves, High Art, The Apostle, Cookie's Fortune, The Celebration, 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.

    Recently Ray had been 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 University’s Tisch School of the Arts.

    Further coverage on MUBI./, my source as well as the Times piece and one by Karina Longworth in the Village Voice.
    Last edited by Chris Knipp; 01-23-2012 at 09:31 PM.

  2. #62
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    THE GREEN WAVE.

    The Iranian documentary has finally been released in New York, according to today's Times. Review by Rachel Saitz.

    My SFFF 2011 review.
    Last edited by Chris Knipp; 08-18-2012 at 01:02 AM.

  3. #63
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    Chris, who is the successor to the SFFS?
    Colige suspectos semper habitos

  4. #64
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    SFFS names new director Ted Hope

    TED HOPE

    CINEMABON,
    That is here if you go to Forums and skip down ten or eleven titles, but it should go here; I couldn't remember where I'd put the other information about the two previous ill-fated directors (here, on this thread).

    Since Bingham Ray died in January only a few months after succeeding the late Graham Leggett as director of the San Francisco Film Society, a successor has officially been named, longtime American indie film producer Ted Hope. He like Bingham Ray comes from NYC.


    TED HOPE



    "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." -Ted Hope

    The San Francisco Film Society is elated to announce that Ted Hope, one of the film industry's most respected and prolific figures, has been named executive director, effective September 1, 2012. He joins us at an exciting moment in our 55-year history, during a period in which we have recently experienced our greatest successes to date across each of our main program areas: exhibition, education and filmmaker services.

    Ted Hope has been recognized personally with numerous awards and accolades, and his films have received some of the industry's most prestigious honors including two Academy Award nominations for The Savages(2007), two Academy Award nominations and five BAFTA nominations for 21 Grams(2003) and five Academy Award nominations for In the Bedroom(2001). He also holds a record at the Sundance Film Festival: three of his 23 Sundance entries (American Splendor[2003], The Brothers McMullen[1995] and What Happened Was...[1994]) have won the Grand Jury Prize; no producer has won more.

    As generative as he is with movies, Hope is no less so in business; in 1990 he cofounded with James Schamus the production and sales powerhouse Good Machine, which was sold to Universal in 2002. Known within the industry for having an extraordinary ability to recognize emerging talent, Hope has more than 20 first features to his credit, including those of Alan Ball, Todd Field, Michel Gondry, Hal Hartley, Nicole Holofcener and Ang Lee, among others.

    In addition to his efforts in independent film production, Hope is one of the most influential and followed voices in independent film on social media, with multiple blogs and more than 20,000 Twitter followers. He has curated an indie film screening series for the last three years, most recently at The Film Society Of Lincoln Center. A prolific writer on issues facing the film industry and film culture, Hope's work has appeared in numerous media outlets.
    I wrote detailed recollections and gave biographical information about Graham Leggett, but I can't find where it is on Filmleaf now. For my information on my website, go here.

    http://www.chrisknipp.com/writing/vi...php?f=1&t=1865



    This is reprinted from a separate thread just begun: SFFS names new director Ted Hope

  5. #65
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    I've been able to watch some of the films you liked from this festival that did not receive theatrical distribution in the US. These include the Catalan-language film Black Bread, and the magnificent documentary about a remote village in El Salvador titled The Tiniest Place. Sad that only festival goers got to see these wonderful movies. I am also sad that so many great Latino films only play in festivals. I have a copy of the excellent adaptation of Gabriel Garcia Marquez's OF LOVE AND OTHER DEMONS (Colombia/Costa Rica) but the damn thing does not have English subtitles. The Nobel-prize winner reportedly loved it.

  6. #66
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    I especially remember THE TINIEST PLACE, definitely beautifully done. Not everything gets widely seen, and some that does isn't much worth seeing. This is why we go to festivals.

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