Sundance Film Festival Day 1: Doing Things Differently

January 21, 2016

JFI Executive Director Lexi Leban is on the ground at Sundance Film Festival 2016. Follow her on the blog as we work to find the films that will shine a light on the 36th San Francisco Jewish Film Festival

January 21, 2016 | by Lexi Leban, JFI Executive Director

I decided to do things differently this year to guarantee smooth sailing, avoid those Sundance lines and get into the Opening Night film NORMAN LEAR: JUST ANOTHER VERSION OF YOU. So, I took an early flight and arrived at the condo at 1, before the 3pm check in. Des Buford and Frances Wallace, my Frameline roommates, had not yet arrived and apparently I was too early. I couldn’t check in because the fabulous women of Chicken and Egg Pictures including Julia Reichert (GROWING UP FEMALE, UNION MAIDS, SEEING RED) were in the middle of an intense meeting (they later moved next door).

So, I left my bags at Black Tie ski rentals across from the Condo and headed out to pick up my industry pass at Headquarters. As I navigated the hallways passing the air kisses and LUNA bars, I heard a familiar voice in the distance. Jordan Menashe, former San Francisco Jewish Film Festival volunteer coordinator extraordinaire was now the maven of the SIO ( Sundance Industry Office). And good thing, she doubled checked my ticket orders and made sure I had not ordered any Salt Lake City screenings!

I got over to the Yarrow early and got in line for Norman Lear and being early finally paid off. I was among the first 20 people in line and as luck would have it right next to Bob Hawk and Gary Meyer (of online magazine Eat Drink Films). I have known Bob since Film Arts Foundation days in SF in the 90’s, but this year Bob is the star of the new documentary FILM HAWK and is being honored at the Frameline/Strand Releasing celebration on Saturday night alongside James Schamus who is here with Indignation. Bob regaled Gary and I with tales of fist gigs on The Life and Times of Harvey Milk and in his volunteer position as assistant to Peter Scarlett in his early days at SFIFF. Fun times.

The line is now moving, smooth sailing and so it begins.

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