Written by: FFT Webmaster | November 8th, 2011
Bingham Ray, a veteran of the New York indie film scene, has been named executive director of the San Francisco Film Society following the death in August of former SFFS head Graham Leggat, who lost his battle with cancer. Ray has been a formidable presence in the New York indie scene since the 1980s, having cofounded October Films in 1991 and serving as its co-president until its sale to USA Networks in 1999. He then ran United Artists as its president from 2001 to 2004 and also had a three year stint from 2007 to 2009 with indie distributor Sidney Kimmel Entertainment. Most recently, he has served as a programming consultant for the Film Society of Lincoln Center as it launched its three-screen film center, as well as executive consultant to online documentary film platform SnagFilms and giving back as an adjunct professor at New York University’s Tisch School of the Arts. His unique mix of industry savvy and programming background (he was a programmer in the 1980s of the pioneering New York arthouse Bleecker Street Cinema) seems a perfect fit as the San Francisco Film Society expands beyond the respected San Francisco International Film Festival into full time exhibition via a new flagship theater and offering a number of filmmaker assistance and educational program initiatives.
“This opportunity defines the phrase ‘too good to be true’ for me,” Ray said in a prepared statement. “To be invited to head one of the world’s greatest film societies, in one of the world’s greatest cities, is beyond extraordinary. Stepping in behind Graham Leggat is truly a daunting task. He elevated the San Francisco Film Society and its great festival to world-class levels and assembled an incredibly talented staff, all of which are supported by a progressive, passionate and involved board of directors. I’m thrilled to be in such great company and welcome the challenges to come in this exciting new personal and professional chapter.” For more information on the Society’s extensive programs and services, visit: www.sffs.org