Indie Films Are Our Best Ambassadors To The World

"Indie films are our best ambassadors to the world. They show the diversity of who we are and they travel without passports. If people were only forced to observe commercial cinema, they would think we all wore superhero costumes and carried assault rifles. These movies speak to our more expansive nature." So ends the article The Wrap released on Wednesday regarding the wonderful news that The San Francisco Film Society's funding from the Kenneth Rainin Foundation for artist grants shall go on indefinitely.  And yes that's my quote -- but I am sort of paraphrasing my wife's grandfather, the producer Walter Wanger.

Read the whole article here.  It's pretty great news: "This funding will allow filmmakers to afford to take creative risk away from day to day commercial concerns".  But is that initial quote that keeps coming back to me.

Yesterday, drafting a new post, I penned: "all art crosses boundaries in a way that even a passport can not provide."  If we want people to know us better, we have to get the great diversity of our work seen and heard.

I have been doing a lot of public speaking lately.  I have started to often state: "Film builds bridges of empathy across vast divides of difference.".  It is so true.  Films are our paths to others' hearts and minds.  Film is a community organizing tool.  It is profoundly social and the cinema equation is not complete until their are audiences in the discussion.

It's not distribution we need, it is more diplomatic missions to send our ambassadors into far off lands.

Let Others Pay For Your Office Rent

The most important issue for independent filmmakers these days is survival.  How do you make ends meet? Taking rent off the table, filmmakers have room to move.  When we shut down our offices at This is that, and I started working out of my kitchen, I got less productive and could share less (and limited my intern use).  That won't happen to you though.  Why?  Because if you live in San Francisco, the San Francisco Film Society can help you with your office expense by providing you a free office.

The San Francisco Film Society is pleased to announce that, as of September 2012, FilmHouse is open once again in 4,800 spacious square feet of newly-renovated office space located in the bustling Fillmore District. With generous funding from theKenneth Rainin Foundation and additional support from the San Francisco Film Commission, the FilmHouse residency program is designed to offer free office space to filmmakers in various stages of production where they can share talents and resources with their peers.

Open to both narrative and documentary filmmakers, FilmHouse offers a residency of either 6 or 12 months to filmmakers with projects that, through plot, character, theme or setting explore social issues of our time.



Jessica Anthony
FilmHouse Coordinator

Free Office Space Further Proves San Francisco Is The New Center Of Indie Film

Two years ago today, after having the first sale of the Toronto International Film Festival (at a far higher amount than I had hoped for) and my business partner having the #1 film at the US Box Office, I shut the doors on my production office for good.  As an Indie Film Producer, I could not afford the high rents of NYC.  Today I confess: my productivity went down as a result.  Further, I lost the ability to naturally collaborate with the other producers and filmmakers I shared office space with.  It sucks not to have an office (although I did love having lunch regularly with my wife).

I am thrilled that the San Francisco Film Society has confronted this problem head on (office space -- not lunches), offering filmmakers free office space in a wonderfully collaborative work space.  Seriously, how many reasons am I going to have to give you to move Indie Film to The Bay Area?  Is funding and work space not enough for you?  How about a great film culture?  Well, there is still more coming...

The San Francisco Film Society yesterday announced the reopening of FilmHouse, the residency program designed to offer free working space to filmmakers in various stages of production and provide a collaborative environment where they can share talents and resources with their peers. Located in the bustling Fillmore District of San Francisco, FilmHouse opens its doors this month on 4,800 spacious square feet of fully equipped, newly renovated office space. The latest expansion of Filmmaker360, the Film Society’s filmmaker services program, FilmHouse is made possible by generous funding from the Kenneth Rainin Foundation and additional support from the San Francisco Film Commission.

“FilmHouse is a perfect example of the kind of innovative support Filmmaker360 excels at providing to filmmakers,” said Ted Hope, executive director of the San Francisco Film Society. “It’s amazing what a difference it can make to an artist to have a dedicated working space to develop their project—in whatever stage of production—and the collaborative element included in the FilmHouse program will surely lead to many unforeseen opportunities and some truly inspired filmmaking.”

Read more about the program and how to apply for it here.

Can We Help Fund Your Great Project?

I wouldn't have been so excited to become the Executive Director of the San Francisco Film Society if it didn't have the support from Kenneth Rainin Foundation.

The SFFS/KRF Filmmaking Grants support feature narrative films that through plot, character, theme or setting explore human and civil rights, antidiscrimination, gender and sexual identity and other social issues of our time. This is NOT a documentary grant.

This bold, unprecedented initiative helps realize the Kenneth Rainin Foundation’s visionary goals at the same time as it consolidates the Film Society’s position as a national leader in support of cinematic work that celebrates humanity in all its variety and vitality. “The Kenneth Rainin Foundation’s mission is to fund inspiring, world-changing work,” said Jennifer Rainin, KRF founder and president. “We are thrilled to partner with the San Francisco Film Society to harness the power and influence of film for positive social change and to support the vibrant Bay Area film community.”

The grants, which run 2009–13, is awarded in the spring and fall of each year.  It is more than just a cash grant (more than just money!).  Read about the grants here.  And read about the Kenneth Rainin Foundation here.