Back in the day, they tried to take over the moribund Presidio Main Post Theatre (the one in the Presidio and not that other Presidio Theatre), but that didn’t work out. Or rather, it hasn’t yet worked out.
Anyway, read a letter from SFFS Executive Director Graham Leggat about what you can do to help, if you want.
All the deets, below.
Via revger, click to expand
Here it is:
DEAR CLAY THEATER SUPPORTER:
The San Francisco Film Society is one of the top twenty organizations of its kind in the world, one of the top ten in the United States, and oldest, biggest and most widely respected film exhibition organization in Northern California. Since 1957, the Film Society has been enriching the lives of Bay Area residents by presenting the best film and media from around the world, notably via the acclaimed San Francisco International Film Festival. The longest-running festival in the Americas, the International celebrated its golden anniversary in April 2007. During its first half-century, the Film Society has hosted more than 2,000 filmmakers and presented more than 6,500 films from 124 countries to audiences numbering more than two million people. It is beloved by its audiences and the international film industry alike. Its contributions to the cultural life of the Bay Area are immeasurable.
Now, as the Film Society begins its 54th year of operation, it is looking ahead to an even brighter future. In recent years the organization has launched many new activities, resulting in significant increases in membership, attendance, sponsorship and earned income. Its numbers are up across the board, in fact, and it is well on its way to establishing itself as a major cultural institution with a vibrant year-round presence. Central to this mission is the acquisition of a theater that the Film Society can call its home, one in which it can present many types of year-round programming in the areas of film exhibition, education, and filmmaker services.
Since December 2009, the Film Society has been in negotiations with the landlord of the Clay Theater, in an attempt to lease or purchase the building. So far these talks are at an impasse over terms, but ultimately the Film Society hopes to bring the negotiations to a successful and swift conclusion, resulting in a longterm lease or ownership of the Clay. Once the Film Society has the theater, it intends to significantly upgrade the physical plant, which needs a good number of improvements, and reopen it as a revitalized cultural and community hub for the thriving Upper Fillmore business district.
With a half-century of film-exhibition experience under its belt, there is no doubt that the Film Society can make a success of running the Clay. The organization will program the same eclectic and popular mix of international, independent, and documentary films that have so engaged its diverse audiences. It will also program “Landmark”-type films, meaning first-run arthouse hits, as they become available, and will present a number of mini-festivals devoted to individual filmmakers and national cinemas. In all cases the Film Society will add value to these screenings, with panels, talks, and filmmakers in attendance.
So, we urge you, as someone who attends the Clay Theater, appreciates its role in your cultural life, and wants it to continue showing great films in our neighborhood, to ask the landlord to resume negotiations with the Film Society, to come to terms with the realities of today’s recessionary marketplace and real-estate values, and make it possible for the Film Society to operate and bring renewed energy to our beloved Clay Theater.
When you send a letter to the Clay Theater landlord, please also email a copy of your letter to the San Francisco Film Society at: firstname.lastname@example.org
Thank you for your efforts to make it possible to “Save the Clay”! – Graham Leggat, Executive Director of the SFFS
Sample letter below. Please send it to the Clay Theater’s landlord:
Balgobind Jaiswal c/o Blu, 2259 Fillmore Street, San Francisco, California, 94115
DEAR MR. JAISWAL:
AS A CLAY THEATER CUSTOMER, I WAS ALARMED TO HEAR THAT OUR BELOVED NEIGHBORHOOD THEATER IS TO CLOSE ON AUGUST 29. I VALUE THE CLAY THEATER AS A UNIQUE AND IRREPLACEABLE COMMUNITY INSTITUTION AND WANT TO SEE IT CONTINUE TO PRESENT WONDERFUL FILMS IN A GREAT NEIGHBORHOOD SETTING, AS IT HAS DONE FOR THE PAST 100 YEARS. PLEASE RESUME NEGOTIATIONS WITH THE SAN FRANCISCO FILM SOCIETY TO MAKE IT POSSIBLE FOR THE SFFS TO OPERATE AND BRING RENEWED ENERGY TO THE CLAY THEATER. CLAY THEATER PATRONS AND ALL OF SAN FRANCISCO’S FILM COMMUNITY WOULD BE ETERNALLY GRATEFUL IF YOU WOULD MAKE THIS POSSIBLE. THANK YOU!