Reel World

Night and the City; Nightfall; The Night of the Shooting Stars

Night and the City
The San Francisco Film Society's "Boxing in the Movies" series doesn't hit the Castro until November, but a TKO has already been recorded. According to a statement issued (but not circulated) by the SFFS board of directors, Executive Director Amy Leissner resigned earlier this month after four years at the helm. The smart money, however, has it that Leissner was forced out on extremely short notice by the board of directors, which wants someone more at ease hobnobbing with movie stars. Say what? Some board members apparently measure the success of the Film Society's major event, the S.F. International Film Festival, by the glamour quotient, which wasn't Leissner's priority.

Leissner was brought in to whip the organization's administrative structure and financial health into shape. She succeeded, although her style triggered wholesale staff turnover. (If this was a profile for a business mag, I'd spin a cliché here about eggs and omelets.) Now the board is looking for someone with the vision thing, with a target hiring date no later than Oct. 31. Director of Development and Marketing Stewart McKeough is the interim managing director, though there's talk around that he's thrown his hat in the ring for the permanent spot. What's the effect of all this on the fest's programming? Not much, as long as Peter Scarlet is the artistic director.

Nightfall
All the hand-wringing and dire predictions aside, the Coronet will likely remain open through July 2001. The Goldman Institute on Aging, which bought the theater, the land, and the adjacent parking lot from United Artists, probably won't be ready to break ground on its senior services facility for a year. So the odds are the institute will renew the current six-month lease under which UA operates the Coronet. "They have a very reasonable rent," confides Goldman Institute Executive Director Steve Gold. Pointing out that the Coronet was in trouble before the Institute came along, Gold asserts, "The people who are concerned about the theater closing are perhaps the very people who aren't frequenting the theater. I worry that we all want something, but we're not willing to fight for it when the dollars have to be pushed across the table." Personal to Ted Nasser and Bob Blumenfeld, who respectively own and operate the Castro: Although purists might complain that the (comparatively new) Coronet seats don't match your shrine's interior, remember that comfort is also a virtue.

The Night of the Shooting Stars
Just to whet your appetite, check out the piece on Terry Zwigoff's just-finished debut feature, Ghost World, in the August issue of Sight and Sound. ... Oscar-nominated doc filmmaker Roko Belic (Genghis Blues) scored a teaching gig at UC Santa Barbara this fall. ... The paperback edition of man-about-town Tom Powers' revealing bio, Steven Spielberg: Master Storyteller (Lerner Publications), is on its way to bookstores. Did I mention it's for ages 9 through 12? That takes care of your nephew, but your niece will no doubt prefer Andrea Richards' Girl Director: Making Your Own Chick Flick. Remember: A camera is not a toy.

 
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