Can I Get You Some Coffee, Mr. Gilmore?

Geoffrey Gilmore is actually more of a tea drinker. While his name probably doesn’t sound very familiar (unless you’re thinking of Happy), Mr. Gilmore has had a hand in launching the careers and films of practically every famous independent film and filmmaker that has emerged in the past 20 years. Reservoir Dogs, El Mariachi, Sex Lies & Videotape, Clerks, Hoop Dreams, American Splendor, Hustle & Flow, Memento, 28 Days Later and Napoleon Dynamite, just to name a few.

He’s the Director of the Sundance Film Festival, and I drove him around town and assisted him as he visited Tallahassee.

This was back in February, a few weeks after Sundance and a week after the Berlin Film Festival, which he attended, so he was pretty exhausted. The main reason for his visit was to be a speaker at Tallahassee’s Seven Days of Opening nights. The $25 tickets were sold out weeks before to hear him speak and see a film that just screened at Sundance, though specifics such as a title or director were kept secret.

I almost let this opportunity pass me by. I got an email from the Dean’s assistant, asking if I was interested in being Mr. Gilmore’s assistant when he was in town. I thought this was a mailing list email until a few days later I noticed it started with ‘Joey.’ I had the ‘Oh shit, am I too late?’ moment and quickly responded.

A few days later I met with the Dean and Paul Cohen, an independent producer and distributor who just joined the faculty and longtime friend of Geoffrey, and went over my responsibilities. I was to drive Mr. Gilmore around, be on call if he needed anything, and basically make sure he had a great Film School experience.

This is part one of a five part adventure that involves driving around Tallahassee, Diet Cokes, private jets, The Visitor, tea, a 4 am flight, and of course, coffee.

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