San Francisco Film Society Signs Lease on New Theatrical Home in Japantown

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The exterior of the San Francisco Film Society/New People building on Post Street in Japantown. (Photo by Daichi Ano, courtesy of New People)

SAN FRANCISCO — The San Francisco Film Society and New People on June 23 announced an agreement that will enable SFFS to offer its acclaimed exhibition, education and filmmaker services programs and events on a daily year-round basis for the first time in the organization’s storied 54-year history.

Beginning in September, San Francisco Film Society/New People Cinema will open its doors in the state-of-the art 143-seat theater located in the ultra-contemporary New People building at 1746 Post St. (near Webster) in Japantown.

The Film Society programming that brings Bay Area audiences the best in indie, international and documentary film, including Japanese cinema — notably during its annual San Francisco International Film Festival — and a full range of panels, classes, workshops and filmmaker services events will have a new year-round home in San Francisco’s most up-to-date and technically perfect film theater.

An integral part of the New People building — the cutting-edge four-story building devoted to contemporary Japanese art, fashion, food and design that opened in 2009 — the theater features the finest analog and digital equipment, perfect sight lines and immersive THX-certified surround sound. Amenities in the surrounding neighborhood include plentiful parking and numerous restaurants.

The building that previously occupied 1746 Post was the home of the Hokubei Mainichi for 30 years (1977-2007) and was a church annex prior to that.

“We’re thrilled to be partnering with Seiji Horibuchi and all our friends at New People in this new venture,” said Graham Leggat, SFFS executive director. “The Film Society’s tradition of brilliant programming, added value and excellent customer service together with this wonderful facility’s superb presentation standards will allow San Francisco Film Society/New People Cinema to offer our avid audiences the finest movie-going experiences in the Bay Area.”

“The San Francisco Film Society has a long and established legacy in the Bay Area and the launch of San Francisco Film Society/New People Cinema will help attract a new range of visitors to the venue,” said Seiji Horibuchi, founder and CEO of New People. “We look forward to a long and productive relationship with SFFS, and to new audiences discovering this innovative entertainment space.”

“We are extremely pleased that the exacting quest for a suitable venue for our daily exhibition, education and filmmakers services programs, spearheaded by the inimitable Graham Leggat, has concluded with this wonderful partnership,” said Pat McBaine, president of the SFFS Board of Directors.

“We are really looking forward to presenting daily programming in a theater with top-line projection and THX sound, in a neighborhood that is already familiar to our audiences,” said SFFS Director of Programming Rachel Rosen. “The ability to be housed in a venue with such fine presentation will certainly enable us to broaden our programming.”

In addition to building on the two-year SFFS Screen experience of programming week-long runs of extraordinary cinema from around the world, the schedule at San Francisco Film Society/New People Cinema will include a substantial portion of the SFFS fall season of festivals and one-time events, select KinoTek programs and recurring thematic programming, as well as provide the space to develop new programming initiatives.

Full line-up and opening date to be announced before Labor Day.

This partnership with New People extends the Film Society’s long-standing ties to Japanese cinema that began at the inaugural San Francisco International Film Festival in 1957 with the presentation of Akira Kurosawa’s “Throne of Blood.” For many years the festival’s directing award was named in honor of Kurosawa. SFFS has introduced hundreds of Japanese films and filmmakers, including Kon Ichikawa, Shohei Imamura, Hiroshi Inagaki, Takeshi Kitano, Masaki Kobayashi, Hirokazu Kore-eda, Kiyoshi Kurosawa, Takashi Miike, Hayao Miyazaki and Nagisa Oshima, to American audiences.

On the Web:

www.sffs.org

www.NewPeopleWorld.com

Interior of the San Francisco Film Society/New People theater. (Photo by Daichi Ano, courtesy of New People)

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