SFFILM announced today a major addition to the organization’s leadership roster, with Jessie Fairbanks joining as Director of Programming, effective January 25. Fairbanks will lead the curation of film and off-screen programming for both the SFFILM Festival and the organization’s year-round offerings, bringing fresh and compelling work and artists from around the world to the Bay Area.
“I am delighted to welcome Jessie to this critical role at SFFILM,” said SFFILM Executive Director, Anne Lai. “As a dynamic programmer and producer, filmmaker champion, and innovative thinker, Jessie will bring her wide ranging experience and deep commitment to lead our Festival and year-round programming into our next exciting chapter. 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. 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.”
Jessie Fairbanks is a veteran film programmer who spent many years at DOC NYC and Tribeca Film Festival. For the past two years Fairbanks was also the Director of Programming for the Hot Springs Documentary Film Festival. Previous programming work includes Chicago International Film Festival, Hamptons International Film Festival, MountainFilm, Nashville Film Festival, Rooftop Films, and Woods Hole Film Festival. She is on the nominating committee for Cinema Eye Honors, the selection committee for the Film Independent Spirit Awards, and a grant evaluator for Chicken & Egg Pictures. Additionally, Fairbanks serves on the Creative Board for the Independent Film Alliance in Chicago. With more than 15 years of experience in the independent film space, Fairbanks has also worked with the Brooklyn Academy of Music, New York Film Festival, and Sundance Film Festival. 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 City. Her curatorial interests reside in the power of films to disseminate knowledge and inspire change within our society. She believes independent filmmaking is a vital tool to galvanize communal discourse and is committed to curating equitable and inclusive programs. “I am thrilled to return to my home state of California and honored to join SFFILM, a legacy organization that has long elevated new filmmakers and celebrates the vibrancy and history of cinema,” said Fairbanks. “These first few months will be both challenging and exciting as we finalize our Festival and plan for the rest of 2021. 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.” Fairbanks joins the organization timed to lead the programming and preparation for the 2021 SFFILM Festival scheduled for April 9–18.