Sad day for San Francisco film fans


Two big bummers today, my fellow cinemaniacs.

The first bit of news is that it's official, according to collective member Claudia Lehan: beloved Haight Street landmark the Red Vic Movie House will officially be closing its doors July 25, the theater's 31st birthday (read my story about the Red Vic's 30th birthday year here.) The last film to grace its screen will be perennial Red Vic favorite (and annual Red Vic birthday flick), Harold and Maude (1971). Stay tuned for more on this story.

And sad news from the San Francisco Film Society: charismatic executive director Graham Leggat will be stepping down from the post he's held since 2005 due to health issues, according to a SFFS press release. (Chronicle columnist Leah Garchik has more on the story here.) Leggat wasn't just a figurehead for the organization. He oversaw a huge expansion of SFFS' programs -- per the release: "Historic developments under Leggat’s direction include the launch of the country’s only daily independent regional online film magazine,, in 2006; integration of the filmmaker services programs of Film Arts Foundation in 2008, which have since grown into a rich array of grants, residencies and project development services; the creation and expansion of SFFS’s annual Fall Season slate of festivals and events, which this year includes seven themed film series between September and November; and the recent announcement of the creation of the San Francisco Film Society New People Cinema, which provides a year-round theatrical home for the organization’s myriad activities for the first time in its 54-year history." Best of luck to Leggat -- a man whose charming, witty presence is familiar to all regular attendees of the San Francisco International Film Festival.


I attended the 9:30 showing at the Red Vic last night. Sweet, sad, heartfelt evening. I am glad to hear of someone else who remembers The Surf out on Irving near the ocean. What a wonderful little theater that was with its dessert cafe and Chinese restaurant next door. Wonderful old films in an intimate setting. I hope I live long enough to see a resurgence of that kind of cinema, but I doubt it... Good bye, Red Vic. Thanks for the memories, the comfortable couches, the great popcorn, the ecology of not wasting paper containers or cups, and the movies, especially the movies. May you re-emerge in another form and enjoy the success you deserve.

Posted by Guest on Jul. 26, 2011 @ 6:55 pm

Just wrote a friend today about the Surf, a fantastic 'arthouse' cinema and coffe house on Irving and 48th(I think)...great memories of great old, small. theatres.

Posted by Guest:dee on Jul. 05, 2011 @ 6:10 pm