After Nearly Six Years, SF Film Society Director Ends Groundbreaking Tenure
Graham Leggat, the San Francisco Film Society's executive director since October 2005, has stepped down due to health issues. During his tenure, the Society’s annual operating budget increased more than threefold, allowing the producer of the city’s International Film Festival, America’s oldest, to offer a year-round series of screenings, programs and workshops.
"For five years, the inimitable and visionary Graham Leggat has led the Film Society with determination and aplomb," said Pat McBaine, president of the Film Society's board of directors. "His vision, passion, work ethic, tenacity, leadership, occasionally warped Scottish sense of humor, modesty, bravery and brilliance have indelibly marked this organization.
“Today the Film Society is in the best shape – artistically, organizationally and financially – in its history. Graham leaves SFFS in the care of the terrific staff, led by Acting Executive Director Steven Jenkins, that he hired, inspired and empowered. We're all determined and prepared to pursue his vision."
In 2006, Leggat oversaw the launch of SF360.org, the country's only daily independent regional online film magazine. Two years later, he helped expand the Society’s purview to include the Film Arts Foundation’s filmmaker-services programs. Most recently, he announced the creation of the San Francisco Film Society | New People Cinema, which for the first time gives SFFS a year-round theatrical home.
"It has been my unalloyed pleasure and honor to serve as executive director,” Leggat, who was diagnosed with cancer in March 2010, wrote in a personal letter, released Tuesday. “I have relished my leadership role in this dynamic, beloved organization. Unfortunately, health issues make it impossible for me to continue to serve effectively.
“As I bid the Film Society farewell, I am fully confident that the vision we have forged together of a peerless and vibrant film organization within a vitalizing film culture will continue to thrive and inspire. In these past six years, the Film Society has risen to new, previously unimaginable heights, and I am truly thrilled by the conviction that the organization – now at an all-time high programmatically, financially and as an agent of civic and cultural change – has its very best years still to come.”
Deputy Director Steven Jenkins will assume leadership of the Film Society as acting executive director while the staff and board of directors consider long-term options.