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Film Arts Legacy Lives
by Soumyaa Kapil Behrens
The Old Film Arts Office on 9th Street where so many indie dreams were concieved and born. photo CineSource
After almost thirty years in San Francisco, the Film Arts Foundation closed it doors at 145 Ninth Street in May 2008. A pioneering organization considered the largest cinema collective in the world, it served thousands of indie filmmakers over the years. Its loss, including its lovely and informative magazine - originally titled "Rough Cut," recently redesigned as "Film Arts" - devastated the community.
More than a year later, ex-members are still asking, "What happened?" People are still wandering into the Ninth Street Independent Film Center amazed because they thought the entire facility had closed. In point of fact, there were eight other media organizations, distinguished in their own right. All are still there, doing quite well, thank you very much:
- Canyon Cinema
- Center for Asian American Media
- Global Film Initiative
- National Alliance for Media Arts & Culture
- Ninth Street Media Consortium (build/manag)
- San Francisco Cinematheque
- San Francisco Jewish Film Festival
- San Francisco Women's Film Festival
The only thing we can count on in life, of course, is change, and fortunately Film Arts has not disappeared entirely. Some of its best-known programs like filmmaker education and fiscal sponsorship were acquired by the San Francisco Film Society and have grown immensely over the last two years. You can even see familiar faces from FAF at the SFFS's dreamlike offices near the Golden Gate Bridge. Linda Tracey, Michele Turnure-Saleo, Michael Read and Michael Behrens ply the halls, busy and flourishing.
Meanwhile back at FAF's former offices, the first-floor suite has been divided into three offices, a screening room and conference areas. Skye Christiansen and Brian Schulz (also former FAF) occupy the front and manage Ninth Street Media Consortium with an inclusive, nurturing attitude. The back room near Minna Street, with all the windows, houses the Global Film Initiative, a nonprof focused on funding and distributing international indies. The other organizations - from Frameline, which puts on the local GLBT film festival, to the SF Jewish Film Festival - need no introduction, while the classrooms are bustling with youth productions, thanks to the innovative program, TILT.
Indeed, the Film Arts spirit was recently reborn as the Ninth Street Filmmaker & Independent Media Program, which offers shared resources and workspace for a nominal fee. Some space will be given to the San Francisco Women's Film Festival and filmmakers like Dina Ciraulo and Tiffany Shlain. Hence, the Center continues to provide a home to Bay Area alt media, from organizations and filmmakers to young people, all with ambitious plans for 2010. See
Posted on Jan 09, 2010 - 10:19 AM