San Francisco Film Society's Innovative FilmHouse Residency Program Moves to Stunning New Chinatown Location

Creative Hub for Dozens of Filmmakers Embedded in Brand New Downtown Center of Art, Food and Culture Serves Essential Function for Local Independent Filmmaking Community


The San Francisco Film Society has announced that its FilmHouse Residency program-which supports narrative feature films by making office space available free of charge for twelve-month residencies to independent filmmakers actively engaged in various stages of film production-has moved to a beautiful, newly renovated location at 644 Broadway Street in the heart of San Francisco's Chinatown district. Made possible by the generous support of the Kenneth Rainin Foundation, FilmHouse provides critical support to local and visiting filmmakers by fostering a thriving creative community that encourages collaboration, resource sharing, peer-to-peer feedback and networking opportunities. A major component of the Film Society's Filmmaker360 program, FilmHouse functions as a vibrant workshop and creative hub for filmmakers of all kinds.

"It's clear to me that there is a renaissance occurring in the Bay Area filmmaking community, and FilmHouse is designed specifically to nurture and support this thriving group of artists," said SFFS Executive Director Noah Cowan. "By giving many Bay Area-based filmmakers a centralized working environment and creating a forum for out-of-towners to interact and collaborate with our local network, we hope to provide the location where the next phase of that renaissance takes shape. We're looking forward to watching the next phenomenon to take the indie world by storm grow out of this space!"

FilmHouse has launched in its new location with nine filmmakers engaged in 12-month residencies, all working in early project stages of screenwriting and preproduction. These full-time residents will also be joined by 16 part-time residents who will take advantage of innovative flexible-use space available in the new Chinatown location. Project details for all current FilmHouse residents are below. In addition to office space, all residents benefit from a robust guest speaker series, featuring lectures and presentations by leading industry professionals; resident-led workshops and work-in-progress screenings; access to SFFS networking events; and numerous other community-building programs and events. 

"FilmHouse has always been one of the most tangible aspects of the work we do in the Filmmaker360 program, and our brick-and-mortar facilities just got a serious upgrade," said Michele Turnure-Salleo, director of Filmmaker360. "It's absolutely thrilling to spend time in the space and feel the creative energy that is already thrumming through the hallways. It has been an inspiring process building this perfect home for our residents, and we are deeply grateful for our generous and forward-thinking partners in the Kenneth Rainin Foundation and Cypress Properties Group."

"The new FilmHouse is a critical part of the artist support ecosystem," said Jennifer Rainin, CEO of the Kenneth Rainin Foundation. "The space is exceptionally well designed to inspire artists, support their vision, and encourage a sense of community. The Rainin Foundation is excited to see this residency program evolve and support our talented Bay Area filmmaking community in so many ways."

Managed by Cypress Properties Group's Chris Wight and Jeff Lee, 644 Broadway will also be home to China Live, restaurateur George Chen's 20,000-square-foot culinary destination featuring an unprecedented Chinese food and beverage marketplace on the ground floor with a curated interactive retail experience; Eight Tables, an intimate upscale restaurant; and a bar, lounge and banquet space. The San Francisco Film Society is 644 Broadway's anchor cultural tenant.  

The application period opens in spring 2015 for the next term of FilmHouse Residencies beginning the following fall. For more information, visit


Dan Damman and Chris Thomas - The Yogi Trademark, development, 12-month residency
Dan Damman started his career in comedy as a weekend player with Second City in Chicago. He moved to Rough House Editorial, where he worked on narrative films, documentaries, and commercials then became Head of Production at Sports ID, producing over 1,300 instructional videos, directing athletes like Bill Walton, Gabrielle Reece and John Elway. He's been a freelance director and producer for Levi Strauss & Co. since 1998. 

Chris Thomas cowrote, directed and produced the musical comedy Goin' Dot Com!, a successful comedic political commercial for, and then cofounded (with Dan Damman) Potluck Productions, which provides media services to nonprofits and local businesses. Potluck ran the national "Do More than Vote" civic engagement campaign in 2006, and "Video the Vote" in 2008, a national campaign to monitor voting booths for irregularities on election day, producing 1000 videos in 24 hours. 

About The Yogi Trademark: An out of shape single mother and author goes undercover, enrolling in an advanced yoga teacher training retreat to expose the dark side of a charismatic guru only to become his assistant and mouthpiece for his lucrative brand of spirituality. Will her whole world go downward dog?

Jessica dela Merced - Chickenshit, screenwriting, 12-month residency
San Francisco native Jessica dela Merced is a writer/director with a recent MFA from the New York University Graduate Film Program where she received the 2012 Spike Lee Fellowship as well as the Lorraine Hansberry Arts, Performance and Media Award. In 2011 she was selected for a unique writing internship created by Chris Rock at Comedy Central. She wrote her thesis film Hypebeasts under the guidance of Spike Lee and was awarded a Hollywood Foreign Press Association grant.

About Chickenshit: In struggling Detroit, a lonely middle-school girl teams up with a daring group of boys to track down and capture the arsonists responsible for a recent string of fires, including the one that claimed the life of her father.

Jonathan Duffy - SFFS Producer Fellowship, 12-month residency
Jonathan Duffy produced Yen Tan's Pit Stop, which premiered at Sundance in 2013 and was later nominated for the John Cassavetes Independent Spirit Award in 2014. Duffy went on to produce Kat Candler's Hellion, recipient of a SFFS / KRF Filmmaking Grant, and the upcoming Untitled Hannah Fidell / Mark Duplass Project. Hellion premiered in the U.S. Dramatic competition at Sundance in 2014 and was released theatrically by IFC/Sundance Selects.

Under the SFFS Producer Fellowship, Jonathan Duffy will be working on two projects: Black Metal (directed by Kat Candler) and All That We Love (directed by Yen Tan), which are both in the screenwriting phase.

Elena Greenlee - Dark Forest, screenwriting, 12-month residency
While completing her MFA at NYU's Tisch Graduate Film Program, Greenlee wrote, directed, and produced numerous shorts including Mariachi, which screened at festivals across the U.S., and Nasceu Maria, which received multiple awards. In 2013 Elena became a Film Independent Producing Fellow for her first feature production Manos Sucias, winner of the Tribeca Film Festival's Best New Narrative Director Award and 2nd Place Audience Award, and recipient of two SFFS / KRF Filmmaking grants.

About Dark Forest: A hipster millennial-equally versed in neuroscience and party-drugs-steps out of her depths into the complex world of Amazonian shamanism. She finds herself in the crossfire of an intense battle for power being waged in a magical dimension she's not even sure she believes in.

Travis Mathews and Keith Wilson - Oscillate Wildly, packaging, 12-month residency
Since 2000, Travis Mathews has been working as a producer, editor, cinematographer, screenwriter and director. Most recently, Mathews collaborated with James Franco to make the docufiction Interior. Leather Bar., which has screened at over 75 festivals internationally and was released theatrically by Strand Releasing in 2014. Mathews' feature narrative debut, I Want Your Love (2012) about a group of gay friends in San Francisco, premiered at the Frameline Film Festival. 

Keith Wilson has over 12 years' experience as a producer, director, cinematographer and screenwriter. In 2013, he was producer and director of photography for Interior. Leather Bar. In 2010, his short documentary film The Shrimp screened at the South by Southwest Film Festival and the U.S. National Gallery of Art. It won the Director's Choice and Best Cinematography Award from the Black Maria Film Festival. He has a Master of Fine Arts degree from the University of Texas-Austin.

About Oscillate Wildly: When his disability check arrives much reduced, a hot-headed young gay man with cerebral palsy is forced to confront the disability he has let define his whole being.

Matthew Riutta - Man up Above, screenwriting, 12-month residency
Matthew Riutta has worked for more than 12 years in the Bay Area's film and television industry. In his role as location manager, he has worked on such projects as RentZodiacMilkThe Master, and Fruitvale Station, as well as HBO's Looking and Netflix's upcoming Sense8. Riutta was an associate producer and location manager on All About Evil, which premiered at the 2010 San Francisco International Film Festival. His short films as director include Dress UpKids Club and I Don't

About Man up Above: After a nightclub promoter witnesses the death of a young man, his life starts to fall apart-until he meets the victim's father.

Laura Wagner - SFFS Producer Fellowship, 12-month residency
Laura Wagner is an independent producer and founder of Bay Bridge Productions. She recently produced the feature film It Felt like Love, which premiered at Sundance in 2013 and opened in theaters in 2014. Laura was the producer of Josh Fox'sMemorial Day, and associate producer of the documentaries John Leguizamo: Tales from a Ghetto Klown and Pulse: A Stomp Odyssey. She is also a recipient of the Sundance Creative Producing Fellowship.

Under the SFFS Producer Fellowship, Laura Wagner will be working on two projects: Tracktown (directed by Jeremy Teicher), which is in the production phase, and A Place to Live (directed by Josh Fox), which is in the screenwriting phase.


Daneen Akers Seventh-Gay Adventists, outreach and education
Anthony Ciancialo - The Jerome Project, preproduction
Hervé Cohen Life Underground, production
Guetty Felin-Cohen - A Rooster on the Fire Escape, development
Stephen Eyer Seventh-Gay Adventists, outreach and education
Mohammad Gorjestani Somehow These Days Will Be Missed, screenwriting
Liam Hughes - In the 7x7, preproduction
Richard Levien Untitled La Migra Project, development / packaging
Chris Mason Johnson - (Untitled Screenplay), screenwriting
Gerard McMurray - The Riders, development
Jennifer Phang - Advantageous, postproduction
Malcom Pullinger - Somehow These Days Will Be Missed, screenwriting
Boots Riley - Sorry to Bother You, preproduction
Marc Smolowitz - The Sisters, development
Ephraim Walker The Riders, development
Diane Weipert Boyle Heights, packaging

Filmmaker360 is a leader in the field of non-profit support of the independent cinema and offers unparalleled assistance and opportunities designed to foster creativity and further the careers of independent filmmakers nationwide. Filmmaker360 oversees one of the largest film grant programs in the country, which disperses nearly $1 million annually to incubate and support innovative and exceptional films at every stage of production. Other elements of Filmmaker360 include project development consultation, fiscal sponsorship and information resources. For more information visit

Recent Filmmaker360 success stories include Ryan Coogler's debut feature Fruitvale Station, which won the Prize of the Future in the Un Certain Regard section of the 2013 Cannes Film Festival, and both the Grand Jury Prize and Audience Award in the narrative category at Sundance 2013; Short Term 12, Destin Daniel Cretton's sophomore feature which won both the Narrative Grand Jury Award and Audience Award at South by Southwest 2013; and Beasts of the Southern Wild, Benh Zeitlin's debut phenomenon which won Sundance's Grand Jury Prize and Cannes' Camera d'Or in 2012, and earned four Academy Award nominations, including Best Picture.