Our interview with film producer and executive director of the San Francisco Film Society Ted Hope was an extended affair, with Hope providing far more in his substantive responses to our questions than we were able to include in an article of limited length (see that article in this week's print issue).
Therefore, we have included the excerpts from our Q&A below as a supplement. Here, Hope elaborates upon the decision to relocate to San Francisco from New York, and upon the state of the film business at the present transformative moment.
What was your process in deciding to take the position at SFFS?
I had never thought I'd leave New York. I had never thought I'd do anything other than produce. But I think I've lived my life in 10-year plans, and it happened that I had just completed a 10-year plan. I had run the company I founded, Good Machine, for 10 years, and then sold it to Universal. And then I had been an independent producer through three different companies of my own for the last 10 years. Around that period [spring of 2012], I had been doing some self-criticism, taking stock in what I had wrought, and made some determinations. I had pledged to myself to adopt a new way of workingMore »
over the last three years, which was to be budget-agnostic, to try to make two films a year that I cared about, and wait for things to shift. I had achieved that goal of getting six movies funded, but they were frequently lower-budgeted films, which meant a) that my fees weren't quite enough to live on, b) because the fees were lower, I couldn't commit as much time to them, so my personal satisfaction was reduced, and c) because the budgets were lower, the imperative that they have the same sort of cultural impact that films with higher costs carry with them was hard to deliver. So I had a realization that it wasn't particularly satisfying, and I was looking for a way to combine all those things that I had been pursuing into something satisfactory to me on a personal level. So, when that call came from the San Francisco Film Society, to me, it was a mandate: "Do you want to save film culture?" It was an offer that I couldn't refuse.