Four months after indie film veteran Ted Hope exited as head of the San Francisco Film Society after a year at the helm, Noah Cowan has been named to the post. Cowan most recently spent five years leading the Toronto International Film Festival Bell Lightbox as its founding Artistic Director. He’s also programmed TIFF’s Midnight Madness program, co-directed the festival from 2004 to 2008, and co-founded international art film distrib Cowboy Pictures as well as the Global Film Initiative partnered with MoMA. Cowan’s new gig takes effect March 3 ahead of the annual SF International Film Festival which runs April 24-May 8.
BREAKING: Ted Hope, the veteran independent producer who took a sabbatical to run the San Francisco Film Society, has resurfaced in a new gig. He starts at the end of the month as CEO of Fandor, a subscription service that hopes to do for festival and foreign films what Netflix does for mainstream films and TV series. He has been on Fandor’s board of advisors since the service launched in 2011 and sees an opportunity to redraw what he feels is an arcane infrastructure that results in all but the most commercial or exceptional arthouse titles falling through the cracks.
“At the Film Society, I went from project producer to trying to build something better for the ambitious hyper film culture and as much as I loved that mission, it is hard to be nimble and entrepreneurial in a non-profit world,” Hope told Deadline. “The entrepreneurial for-profit world felt like a perfect transition to refocus myself on the mission to enable change.”
Hope said that Fandor already has more than 5000 titles, and the basic subscription fee for cinephiles is $9 per month or $90 annually. That catalogue is growing—Hope said Fandor has formed alliances with 13 distributors in the last quarter alone and that the service is available on Roku—and he said that the combination of choice, and aggressive and informed curation of titles to a hungry specialized film audience, will bring greater revenues to makers of these films …
Just over a year ago, veteran indie film producer Ted Hope left his New York City home and moved to the West Coast to succeed the late Bingham Ray as executive director of the San Francisco Film Society. Now word comes today that he will step down at the end of the year to pursue other film-related interests. SFFS says Hope will work with the staff and board to facilitate a smooth leadership transition and will join the SFFS Advisory Board to assist in guiding the Film Society into the future. The board has begun a search for a new executive director.
“When I came to San Francisco after producing so many films, it surprised some that I wanted to lead a non-profit organization,” said Hope. “Over the past 14 months I’ve come to realize that as much as I fully embrace the mission of the Film Society, my passion is more entrepreneurial. We accomplished a great deal at SFFS over the last year, and the same fantastic team that initially drew me to the Bay Area is still in place to drive the organization well into the future. Vanessa and I plan to stay in the Bay Area and I look forward to staying involved in an advisory role and collaborating with the Film Society in our film-related activities”, Hope said.