Bingham Ray Named Executive Director of the San Francisco Film Society

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Bingham Ray

The industry veteran will oversee the annual San Francisco International Film Festival.

Bingham Ray, a veteran of the indie film scene, has been named executive director of the San Francisco Film Society.

Taking on the new role Nov. 7, he succeeds Graham Leggat, who died Aug. 25 after an 18-month battle with cancer. Leggat, who had been the organization’s executive director since 2005, stepped down from the job in June because of health issues.

Ray, who began his career as a manager and programmer of the Bleeker Street Cinema in 1981, cofounded October Films in 1991 and served as its co-president until its sale to USA Networks in 1999. He subsequently ran United Artists as its president from 2001 to 2004. In 2007, he joined Sidney Kimmel Entertainment, where he spent three years, first as president of Kimmel Distribution and then as president of creative affairs. Most recently, he has served as a programming consultant for the Film Society of Lincoln Center, executive consultant to SnagFilms and adjunct professor at New York University’s Tisch School of the Arts.

"Few veteran industry professionals are more highly regarded, have broader experience or a better track record of success in all facets of the film world than Bingham. With his extensive background as a major studio executive, founder of October Films, adjunct professor at NYU and consultant to numerous film societies, festivals and companies, Bingham is a perfect and timely fit to carry on Graham's legacy and build on the foundation of our year-round exhibition, education and filmmaker services programs,” Pat McBaine, SFFS board president said.

"This opportunity defines the phrase 'too good to be true' for me," Ray said. "To be invited to head one of the world's greatest, most prestigious film societies, in one of the world's greatest cities, is beyond extraordinary. Stepping in behind Graham Leggat is truly a daunting task. He elevated the San Francisco Film Society and its great festival to world-class levels and assembled an incredibly talented staff, all of which are supported by a progressive, passionate and involved board of directors. I'm thrilled to be in such great company and welcome the challenges to come in this exciting new personal and professional chapter."

In addition to overseeing year-round programming, the SFFS presentes the annual San Francisco International Film Festival, which will next be held April 19 to May 3, 2012.