Interview with Festival Director Jeff Ross (SF IndieFest // SF DocFest // Another Hole in the Head)

Jeff Ross was the Operations Manager at San Francisco International Film Festival in the mid 90s and realized American indies had no venue in San Francisco at the time. He started the SF Independent Film Festival in 1998, which expanded to include the SF Documentary Festival in 2001 and the Another Hole in the Head horror/sci fi festival in 2003.

Get to know Jeff Ross:

Matthew Toffolo: What is your Film Festival succeeding at doing for filmmakers?

Jeff Ross: We provide great audiences, great press coverage and a fun time in San Francisco.

Matthew: What would you expect to experience if you attend the festival this year (2016)?

Jeff: A full show at the historic Roxie Theater (the old movie house west of the Mississippi). Insightful QA interactions. Fun parties.

Matthew: What are the qualifications for the selected films?

Jeff: We look for uniqueness and competent filmmaking.

Matthew: Do you think that some films really don’t get a fair shake from film festivals? And if so, why?

Jeff: No, I think each festival knows its audience and curates accordingly.

Matthew: What motivates you and your team to do this festival?

Jeff: I love getting people together for shared experiences and the opportunity to introduce people to films they would not have found on their own.

Matthew: How has the festival changed since its inception?

Jeff: We’ve grown from a 4 day event with 3000 attendees to three two-week festivals and a year round attendance of about 21,000.

Matthew: Where do you see the festival by 2020?

Jeff: Not much different than today, or 18 years ago. We are motivated to find good films and bring out good audiences to view them, that wont change.

Matthew: What film have you seen the most times in your life?

Jeff: Blade Runner, Casablanca, Fury Road.

Matthew: In one sentence, what makes a great film?

Jeff: Uniqueness either in story or execution.

Matthew: How is the film scene in your city?

Jeff: The audience for arts and culture in San Francisco is stronger than ever.