AFM According to ... Producer Jordan Yale Levine: Avoid the Hotel's "Mosh Pit" Lobby

Jordan Yale Levine - Getty - P 2017
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The president of Yale Productions tells THR of taking on the annual film market in Santa Monica.

Best place to grab a drink after midnight in Santa Monica?

I’m probably not the best person to ask since I don’t drink, but for a late-night coffee or good food, I like Toi on Sunset, a cool Thai restaurant that’s open 'til 4 a.m. And they do have a great selection of wine, beer and sake, if that’s your thing!

Place to avoid during the market? 

The main lobby of the Loews Hotel (it's kind of like a mosh pit). I try to run to the elevators as quickly as possible so I can get up to my meetings without getting caught in the lobby chaos.

Proudest moment at AFM?

I think my proudest moment at AFM came a few years ago, when I walked into our international sales agent’s office and learned that we had just closed a worldwide distribution deal on a film we wrapped a month prior. It was an amazing feeling to see all our hard work pay off with a nice U.S. theatrical and worldwide deal that made both our filmmaker and financiers very happy.

Most "AFM" thing to happen to you at the market?

Awkwardly meeting someone in person for the first time, after they repeatedly pitched me the same project with the same attachments for the last year via email. Having them pitch the same project all over again in person was an odd experience.

Biggest pet peeve about AFM or Santa Monica?  

Jacked-up Santa Monica hotel prices and Uber surge pricing during AFM!

Your hidden-gem restaurant or bar in Los Angeles?

I’m hesitant to let the secret out, but I love Mama D’s in Manhattan Beach. It reminds me of the homey, no-frills Italian restaurants I like back in New York. For me, it feels like a piece of home here in L.A.

Funniest celebrity interaction at AFM?

Back in 2007, an international buyer from Eastern Europe mistook me for Shawn Ashmore from the X-Men movies. The look of disappointment on her face when I told her she was mistaken was almost too much to bear. Next time, I’ll play along!

A secret place you go to escape the industry?

I’ve already revealed far too much with my Mama D’s tip. But generally speaking, living in New York City makes it a little easier for me to escape the industry if I need a breather.

One thing you won’t travel without, besides your phone?

I have two other essential travel items: Excedrin Migraine and hair gel.

What’s the best "worst" project you’ve seen on offer at AFM?

I understand and appreciate that personal tastes vary and different audiences respond to different types of films, but the glut of talking-animal movies voiced by former A-list stars always leaves me scratching my head.