In Focus: Ira Sachs on Love Is Strange

Alfred Molina and John Lithgow in Love Is Strange by Ira Sachs.

Alfred Molina and John Lithgow in Love Is Strange by Ira Sachs.


SFFS/KRF Filmmaking Grant Winner; $70,000 for postproduction, Fall 2013.

Love Is Strange will have it's international premiere at Sundance Film Festival 2014 , Premieres!

What was the inspiration for this story?

It wasn't until I was in my 40s that I found myself in a relationship where I could actually imagine love blooming, and growing deeper, with time. I wanted to make a romantic film about how my own relationship—my own marriage—might feel 30 years from now, as imperfect as ever, but with its kindness intact. 


What do you see as the greatest challenges for filmmakers today? 

The greatest challenge is by far finding the money to make your film, and in the process, keeping the integrity and specificity of both your voice and your experience. I still believe in a personal cinema, where my greatest asset is my ability to share my own distinct stories. It is that specificity that in the end makes films resonate most deeply with audiences.


What new opportunities are making the biggest difference to your filmmaking process?

I have learned over the last few years to raise money in a new way for my projects. I get my movies funded in some ways like a development office for a small museum. I develop relationships with donors; I look for people who might want to involve their own friends and community. I've tried to remember what "independent" meant in the days of Cassavetes, and other heroes of mine. It's a way of being, and a way of making art that means independence of spirit—and the right to follow your own gut instincts.


Describe what impact San Francisco Film Society support has had on the film.

The biggest impact is that we are able to finish our film in the Bay Area, and at Skywalker Sound. The quality of work we will get there is at the very top of the field, and will add greatly to the overall aesthetics, and impact, of our film. It is also great to be working with the staff at SFFS, who care deeply about the film, and are supporting it with their heart as well as their funding. I have personally had a long history with the city of San Francisco—living around the corner from La Rondalla in the summer of 1985; my first feature, The Delta, opening at the Castro in 1997; spending time on the set of a George Kuchar film at the Art Institute back in the mid-1980s—and I find the city's passion for both cinema and experimentation unique and inspiring.

The Spring 2014 SFFS / KRF Filmmaking Grant round is currently open to apply!

The Film Society has established an excellent track record of success with the 37 projects previously funded by SFFS / KRF Filmmaking Grants, with supported films winning top honors at the world’s premier festivals, garnering critical and popular acclaim and capturing the imaginations of audiences worldwide. As the grant program continues to grow, more and more exceptional independent features will join the distinguished company of such films as Short Term 12, Destin Cretton’s sophomore feature which won both the Narrative Grand Jury Award and Audience Award at South by Southwest 2013; Ryan Coogler’s debut feature Fruitvale Station, which won both the Grand Jury Prize and Audience Award in the narrative category at Sundance 2013 and is an Oscar hopeful in multiple categories; and Beasts of the Southern Wild, Benh Zeitlin’s debut phenomenon which won Sundance’s Grand Jury Prize and Cannes’ Camera d’Or in 2012 and earned four Academy Award nominations (including Best Picture).