When AIVF was dying slowly, if you remember, what it looked like was desperate emails looking for donations that would save it. Another nonprofit, Film Arts Foundation in San Francisco, has adopted this strategy. Instead of the usual newsletter, we received a special plea following on the heels of a similar request that went out in late March. The letter says in part: 

Film Arts Foundation has not closed its doors. The success of our negotiations  will ensure that the hundreds of independent filmmakers across the country that rely on the resources Film Arts provides will continue to be nurtured as before. This is the legacy of Film Arts Foundation and it will be carried forward.

Film Arts Foundation’s debts must be reduced in order for us to enable the proposed transition. The organization is continuing the emergency campaign to raise $150,000 between now and May 31, 2008.

I suppose tightening the belt by reducing services and raising money to pay off debt could possibly save the organization. I hope so, but it ain’t looking good from where I’m sitting. What are the elements that make a financially sustainable professional service organization for filmmakers? Are these organizations just being mismanaged? Losing one was hard for the independent community; losing more than one will be a trend.

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