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SFFILM adds seasoned festival programmer Jessie Fairbanks

Veteran film programmer and festival producer Jessie Fairbanks has been named as director of programming for SFFILM. Effective Jan. 25, Fairbanks (pictured) will lead on- and off-screen programming for the 2021 ...
January 20, 2021

Veteran film programmer and festival producer Jessie Fairbanks has been named as director of programming for SFFILM.

Effective Jan. 25, Fairbanks (pictured) will lead on- and off-screen programming for the 2021 San Francisco International Film Festival – scheduled for April 9-18 – while also being responsible for SFFILM’s year-round film-centric offerings throughout the Bay Area.

Fairbanks will relocate to San Francisco from Hot Springs, Arkansas following a two-year stint as director of programming at the Hot Springs Documentary Film Festival. She has previously conducted programming work for such festivals as the Chicago International Film Festival, Hamptons International Film Festival, MountainFilm, Nashville Film Festival, Rooftop Films, and Woods Hole Film Festival.

She also has previously spent a number of years at DOC NYC, the Tribeca Film Festival, Sundance Film Festival and New York Film Festival.

The programmer additionally sits on the nominating committee for Cinema Eye Honors, the selection committee for the Film Independent Spirit Awards, the creative board for the Independent Film Alliance in Chicago, and is a grant evaluator for Chicken & Egg Pictures.

Fairbanks began her career producing documentaries and clip television for national networks, as well as producing large scale events, festivals and creative projects in Los Angeles, Chicago and New York.

She joins the organization timed to lead the programming and preparation for the 2021 SFFILM Festival. 

“I look forward to bringing Jessie’s curatorial vision to our wonderfully savvy audience of film lovers here in the Bay Area, particularly at a moment of great change in how we consume film,” said SFFILM executive director Anne Lai in a statement. “She will be an invaluable part of SFFILM’s leadership team in tackling the most crucial opportunities and challenges that we face as a film and cultural institution going forward.”

“These first few months will be both challenging and exciting as we finalize our festival and plan for the rest of 2021,” added Fairbanks. “In a time of shifting paradigms, both within the film industry and the world at large, I am excited to ask questions about process and theory, and to craft new pathways of discovery in the virtual landscape. I look forward to collaborating with the incredible programming team at SFFILM, producing programs that reflect the rich and resilient Bay Area community.”

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