SF Green Film Festival to Close After 10 Years of Environmental Films & Action
The San Francisco Green Film Festival, the West Coast’s leading event for films and conversations about people and the planet, is closing its doors due to the COVID-19 pandemic. This unanimous decision by the Festival’s board of directors follows the cancelation of the 10th Anniversary Festival planned for September 2020, which led to unsustainable projected funding losses.
“This was a difficult, heartbreaking decision.” says Rachel Caplan, the Festival’s founder & CEO. “Launching the San Francisco Green Film Festival and then leading it for over a decade has been my greatest joy, and I’m proud of all that our small team achieved in bringing complex environmental conversations and ideas into the mainstream. In 2011, the first year of the Festival, we never thought it would be possible to have a full house at the magnificent Castro Theatre to watch an environmental documentary.”
Caplan launched the Festival to fill a huge need to bring communities together to share urgent environmental stories. Over the past decade, SFGFF has grown to a weeklong event with consistently world-class programs. In its mission to champion environmental justice, strengthen communities, and grow the green movement, SFGFF has presented more than 600 films and hosted roughly 800 special guests, including Margaret Atwood, Jonathan Franzen, Annie Leonard, Louis Psihoyos, Madonna Thunder Hawk, Ralph Eggleston, and The Yes Men.
The Festival’s biggest sponsor was Kaiser Permanente, and it flourished with support from dozens of other sponsors, nonprofit partners, members and funders including National Endowment for the Arts and SF Grants for the Arts. It was a key member of the international Green Film Network, an association of 40 environmental film festivals worldwide, and in 2017 signed an official partnership with the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP) to support the UN’s Sustainable Development Goals. It was also an official affiliate partner of the city’s 2018 Global Climate Action Summit.
“This is the most challenging time for film festivals and cinemas globally, yet I believe that audiences’ desire for the collective experience of watching films has never been stronger,” Caplan says. “We hope that our partner venues, like the Roxie and Castro cinemas, and other film festivals will be able to weather this storm. I encourage people to support the film organizations they are passionate about.”.
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