The San Francisco Film Society (SFFS) is expanding its support for documentary filmmakers.
The non-profit, which is gearing up to mark its 60th year, has tapped Caroline von Kühn to oversee nonfiction initiatives as director, documentary and new media programs – a newly created role.
Von Kühn, who most recently served as managing director of the doc-focused Camden International Film Festival (CIFF), said to expect new programming announcements in the months ahead.
“The conversations here have been around funding newer voices who haven’t been supported yet,” she said in an interview with realscreen. “By supporting emerging talent we not only move a specific project forward, it’s a long-term investment of their future work.”
The society runs the San Francisco International Film Festival and awards US$100,000 in annual grants for nonfiction films in post-production through its Documentary Film Fund program. It also supports dramatic feature films with as much as $1 million per year through a partnership with the Kenneth Rainin Foundation.
Other doc initiatives include the two-year-old Doc Stories festival and the year-round FilmHouse residency program, which is open to both narrative and doc filmmakers.
The organization’s added focus on docs comes as nonfiction is gaining wider prominence in the film industry as well as the Bay Area. Part of Von Kühn’s job will be to build bridges between docmakers and the city’s booming tech sector. She will also program the festival’s virtual reality section as well as public-facing events about the cross-section between technology and film.
“There’s been a lot of interest in doc content in a really exciting way, especially on the distribution side,” she said.
Von Kühn is a founder of the Points North Institute – the organization that houses CIFF – and produced the 2016 narrative drama Burn Country (aka The Fixer), which won an acting prize at the Tribeca Film Festival.
Prior to that, she worked for Tribeca Enterprises as a film festival publicist, industry liaison and panel producer. She also programmed the launch of crowdfunding platform Seed & Spark.