The San Francisco Film Society (SFFS) announced on Thursday [10] that it would receive a “significant increase” in funding to its Filmmaker360 programmes through a renewal of its relationship with the Kenneth Rainin Foundation.

Filmmaker360 supports feature filmmakers through cash grants, residencies and script workshops. Under its auspices the flagship SFFS / KRF Filmmaking Grants distribute more than $600,000 in two annual awards to filmmakers.

The partners said this amount would grow beyond the five-year pilot period announced in 2009 and will continue “indefinitely” at the $600,000 level.

The goal is to build new services in the years ahead and planning is underway to start networking events at festivals, a screening series built around social justice issues, a mentorship programme, pitch training and labs.

“The success of the SFFS / KRF narrative film grants coupled with the newer support programmes are moving us solidly toward our goals of championing the vibrant Bay Area filmmaking community, raising local and national awareness our unique cinema culture, and making San Francisco a more attractive place to create and experience film,” said Kenneth Rainin Foundation president Jennifer Rainin.

SFFS Executive Director Ted Hope added: “The vibrant and diverse voices of indie film are one of this country’s greatest assets, but without the backing of programmes like these, our artists and their stories would wither and rust. Imagine a world without these essential visions. The support of KRF is vital to not just Bay Area film culture, but to the very fabric of indie culture on a national scale.”

SFFS / KRF Filmmaking Grant winners include Oscar nominee Benh Zeitlin [pictured with Beasts stars Quvenzhane Wallis and Dwight Henry] of Beasts Of The Southern Wild fame and Ryan Googler, whose Fruitvale will premiere at Sundance.

Current SFFS / KRF programmes include the twice-yearly grants, the FilmHouse residency initiative and the Off The Page script workshop series.