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"Filmmaking is a huge part of the fabric of our City. It provides thousands of jobs and internship opportunities for San Franciscans, highlights our unique neighborhoods, and brings the untold stories of our communities to the screen," said Mayor Breed. "Manijeh Fata has over 20 years of experience and a deep understanding of what film means to San Francisco. I am proud to name her as Executive Director of Film SF."
Prior to her appointment, Fata served as Acting Executive Director of Film SF where she has worked since 2015. She has successfully led and collaborated with numerous film and TV productions such as The Last Black Man in San Francisco, The Matrix Resurrections, Venom, Beautiful Boy, Hulu's Chance, and Netflix's The OA, which involved significant coordination and built relationships with studios, neighborhoods and merchant groups, city departments and local filmmakers. Fata helped spearhead internships on two major productions with IATSE Local 16 and the Mayor's Opportunities for All program. She also co-authored the conditions for filming under COVID-19; which resulted in San Francisco being the first city in California to issue a permit for filming during the pandemic.
"I am deeply grateful for the opportunity to continue serving our production community," said Manijeh Fata. "I look forward to ensuring we embrace and invest in our San Francisco storytellers and entice productions to shoot in our cinematic city. I'm also eager to deepen our pathways for diverse San Franciscans in the film and media industry to build and strengthen our workforce. It is imperative we create a more racially equitable industry."
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Film SF is directed by an eleven-member Film Commission that promotes San Francisco as a filming destination and supports film activities in the City. The office also includes grant programs that offer financial assistance to nonprofits and other locally based independent filmmakers with low-cost office and film space to help facilitate productions citywide.
The office also works closely with productions on any scale to support their film permitting needs in the city. Film SF is a division of the Office of Economic and Workforce Development.
"We are thrilled about Manijeh Fata's official appointment as the Executive Director of Film SF. Manijeh has all that it takes: vision and strategic focus, and extensive experience as a woman of color in the film industry. She leads with compassion, equity, and inclusion, and naturally builds bridges and community with the myriad of vital Film SF stakeholder groups, from neighborhood associations to small businesses, residents, and community-based organizations, with City agencies and our amazing talented production community," said Villy Wang, President of the SF Film Commission. "We are fully committed and excited to work with Manijeh to magnify the benefits that filmmaking brings to San Francisco, from job creation and opportunities for youth to amplifying SF's arts and culture scene, and elevating San Francisco as an innovative storytelling haven."
"In many ways, our film was a love letter to San Francisco. It was always key to our creativity that we filmed there and Manijeh was instrumental and pivotal in making this a reality for The Last Black Man in San Francisco," said Khaliah Neal, Producer for The Last Black Man in San Francisco. "I'm elated to hear she's being appointed to Director and other filmmakers will continue to have the opportunity to collaborate with her."
"IATSE Local 16 is very excited to hear that Manijeh Fata has been appointed as the Director of the San Francisco Film Office. We know that she will work hard to bring film and TV work to San Francisco," said Jim Beaumonte, Business Agent of I.A.T.S.E Local 16 and a member of the SF Film Commission.
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Film SF also oversees programs that incentives productions to San Francisco. The Scene in San Francisco Rebate program was created to increase the number of film and television productions, increase the number of city residents employed in the filmmaking industry, and encourage local spending and tourism in San Francisco. Since the creation of the incentive, 34 productions have benefitted from the program resulting in the hiring of more than 15,500 crew members and actors, providing over 200 individuals from underserved communities with job opportunities to gain experience in the field through the first source, contributing over $24 million in wages to local crew and talent and directed the spending of nearly $65 million on goods and services including on hotels, car rentals, office supplies and equipment rentals, security, catering and many more.
The office also oversees the Film SF Savings Program that encourages local spending through discounts at local participating businesses and merchants. Film SF is currently working with stakeholders for additional incentives to support filming in the Bay Area through the State's Film & Tax Credit Program 3.0 (SB 485). Numerous films and TV shows set in the Bay Area are filmed outside the state in places that have attractive incentives like Vancouver, Georgia, and Australia. The addition of incentives to the Bay Area will keep jobs and revenue in the state while bringing production to the area. The bill is scheduled to be heard at the State's Appropriations Committee next week.
"I'm thrilled Manijeh will be leading Film SF, which does such critical work in San Francisco that helps drive the growth of film production locally. Not only does Film SF bring film productions to our professional filmmaker community but it also creates a sustainable and supportive environment for our Bay Area-based film industry to produce their work in our hometown," said Anne Lai, Executive Director of SFFILM, a nonprofit organization whose mission connects the people of the Bay Area to the world of cinema through film exhibition, youth education, and artist development. "With her deep understanding of our film industry and needs regionally, Manijeh will bring a strong vision to all that Film SF can do."
Fata has over 20 years of experience in arts and education program management, developing extensive community outreach initiatives and partnerships with organizations such as KQED and Community Works in Oakland and San Francisco. She holds two Bachelor's degrees from UC Berkeley and an MFA in Cinema from San Francisco State University, where she created her award-winning short film Las Fruteras: A Fruitvale Tale. She is the proud daughter of immigrant parents from Iran and Mexico who met fortuitously in Golden Gate Park. Fata was born and raised in the Bay Area.
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