Arriving in San Francisco in 1975 from his native Detroit, Elliot Lavine was immediately drawn to the local film scene. After enrolling in San Francisco State’s film department he completed two short narrative films, both in the film noir style.
BLIND ALLEY (1981) was selected to be shown in that year’s San Francisco International Film Festival, and THE TWISTED CORRIDOR (1982) enjoyed similar success on the festival circuit. Both represented his keen, fanatical interest in that kind of filmmaking, and it soon carried over into the work that would occupy the rest of his life: film programming. You can watch both films below.
In 1990 he went to work for the Roxie Theater in San Francisco where he soon became program director. Over that period he managed to produce a film noir festival (sometimes lasting as long as thirty days!) nearly every year. Lavine presented literally hundreds of classic and obscure noir films, turning Bay Area audiences on to films that they might have gone their entire life without seeing. Certain noir films played on the Roxie screen for extended revivals, doing turn-away business. OUT OF THE PAST, in 1997, broke the house attendance record, and the 1995 revival of KISS ME DEADLY resulted in the discovery of the now restored original ending of the film.
Lavine left the Roxie as full-time program director in 2003 to pursue other interests, including a newfound career as a film instructor for Stanford’s Continuing Studies program, where he continues to teach classes. He returned to the Roxie in 2009 as a guest curator, inaugurating the current I WAKE UP DREAMING festival of film noir which proved to be a sensational hit right out of the gate. He also launched a series called NOT NECESSARILY NOIR, which has also attracted area-wide appreciation.
It’s his fervent hope that the future will find these programs in an ever widening circle of Bay Area theaters, giving movie-goers an even greater opportunity to enjoy these fascinating films on the big screen.