– By Derek Brown-
Ted Hope is not a writer. Nonetheless, in his piece outlining the resurgence of film in San Francisco, its seems that he has forgotten that.
The article titled Sundance Proves a Filmmaking Renaissance Is Happening In The Bay Area, Hope persuasively argues that northern California is the place to be for independent filmmakers. His evidence, the five films that won six major awards, most notably the winner of Narrative Grand Jury Prize, Fruitvale, during Sundance had major Bay Area connections.
Fruitvale, the true story of the last day of a young a Bay Area mans life, has obvious ties to the Bay Area. As Hope explains, the ties are deeper than the plot line and characters of the film, “Not only is director Ryan Coogler from Oakland, not only was the story and subject from The Bay Area, not only was the film shot in The Bay Area, and not only was it mixed at Skywalker, but the San Francisco Film Society & The Kenneth Rainin Foundation granted the film $200,000.”
This is a similar path to independent film success as last year’s Sundance headline grabber, Beasts of The Southern Wild. Now, a critically-acclaimed film that was recently nominated for four different Oscars including best picture, Beast of The Southern Wild and Fruitvale received support comparable from the San Francisco Film Society and The Kenneth Rainin Foundation. Hope’s point, a pipeline of support for independent filmmakers has arisen in the Bay Area.
It must be noted, however, that Hope’s argument is biased. As Executive Director of the frequently cited San Francisco Film Society, he appears to be tooting his own horn a bit.
Toot on Mr. Hope.
The work that this organization has done in the independent film industry is monumental of late. It supported the winner of Audience Award For Narrative Film, Best Directing of a Narrative Film, Best Directing of a Documentary Film, Special Jury Award For Documentary Film #1, Special Jury Award For Documentary Film #2, as well as the already mentioned grand prize. These successes illustrate the industry’s emergence in the community. Hope puts it this way, “That is not a rumbling you are feeling underground, that is the roar of a community’s heart beating as one, and quite rapidly at that mind you.”
In writing this piece, Hope’s main objective was to create buzz about his organization and the community it represents. In outlying his evidence, which is abundant, then emotionally voicing a call to action he certainly accomplishes his goal. For independent filmmakers, it would seem silly to not book a ticket for the Bay Area after reading this article.