On Wednesday, the San Francisco Film Society announced that indie film veteran Bingham Ray will be joining the society as executive director on November 7.
Ray, a well-loved member of the independent film industry, cofounded October Films and worked on the release of films including Lars and the Real Girl, Death at a Funeral, Bowling for Columbine and Hotel Rwanda. Ray will replace previous director Graham Leggat who died from cancer in August.
"Stepping in behind Graham Leggat is truly a daunting task," said Ray in a press release. "He elevated the San Francisco Film Society and its great Festival to world-class levels and assembled an incredibly talented staff. [...] I'm thrilled to be in such great company and welcome the challenges to come."
Throughout his 30-year career that started at New York's Bleecker Street Cinema, Ray has worked with Sidney Kimmel Entertainment, Film Society of Lincoln Center, SnagFilms and New York University's Tisch School of the Arts. He also served as president of United Artists and on the jury committee at Sundance Film Festival.
"Bingham's coming on board is fantastic news for the Film Society," said Sid Ganis, Film Society board member and former AMPAS President. "He is well known and well loved by filmmakers and studio executives alike, with a wide reach both domestically and internationally."
Ray says he plans to approach the position with a slow and steady approach. 'I firmly believe in the adage 'don’t fix what's not broken,'" said Ray. "My initial mission will be to carefully study and evaluate the existing programs of the Film Society, aiming to guide them to further growth and articulation. I’m particularly excited to begin an exploration into creating a dynamic digital initiative for the organization which could eventually expand the reaches of the education programs and SFIFF."
Ray expressed his excitement about the position and his enthusiasm about the society's upcoming projects. "This opportunity defines the phrase 'too good to be true' for me," he said.