Bendix: Sight Unseen, a documentary by Anthony Scalia, will be shown at the 2022 New Jersey International Film Festival on Saturday, June 11th, 2022 in person at 5 pm and online for 24 hours as part of Shorts Program #3.
The Bendix Diner, located in Hasbrouck Heights, is an archetypal New Jersey diner. Its classic 1940s neon sign is still in place and used to locate the joint off the highway. One of the most outstanding things about Bendix is the owner, John Diakakis. John is a single father to three boys and is completely blind. His family bought the diner and 1985, and now John is the proud owner and manager. As a Jersey local, John cares a great deal about the customers of Bendix, and he even says that they inspire the menu.
John was born legally blind but lost his vision completely as an adult. His perseverance and nonchalant attitude regarding his disability are definitely something to aspire to. He doesn’t care about what anyone thinks, and, in fact, he thrives on proving people wrong and exceeding their expectations.
John has an incredible memory, can speak three languages, is a stand-up comic, and has an extraordinary shoe collection of close to 700 pairs. Incredibly, despite not being able to see, he can tell exactly what shoe he’s holding in his collection based on the mere feel of them.
Scalia’s documentary perfectly showcases John’s day-to-day life working at Bendix Diner. He seems like just a normal waiter, but his incredible memory makes John even more extraordinary than the average sighted person. As he’s taking orders, he’s already doing the mental math of the cost of the meal, and he also doesn’t write anything down. His oldest son, Tony, who works at the diner, calls his dad a “superhuman” for being able to operate how he does despite his blindness.
Scalia does an incredible job at presenting Bendix as a classic, family Jersey diner. John’s sarcastic banter with the customers will make any Jersey local feel right at home. The Bendix regulars and first-timers alike have immense respect for John and his business. John says the diner operates on an honor system when it comes to payments, and he says he has never had a problem with someone underpaying him.
John’s three sons, Tony, Dimitri, and Michael all work at Bendix, and the family runs a seamless, argument-free operation. Scalia’s filmmaking and editing style, especially during the diner sequences, perfectly captures the hectic nature of restaurant work. Bendix is incredibly inspirational and well-made. John’s story will instantly inspire anyone who sees this film. Nothing holds him back, and he’s an exceptional father, leader, and man.
The 27th annual Festival will be taking place on select Fridays, Saturdays, and Sundays through June 12. The Festival will be a hybrid one as we will be presenting it online as well as doing select in person screenings at Rutgers University. All the films will be available virtually via Video on Demand for 24 hours on their show date. Each ticket or Festival Pass purchased is good for both the virtual and the in person screenings. The in person screenings will be held in Voorhees Hall #105/Rutgers University, 71 Hamilton Street, New Brunswick, NJ beginning at either 5PM or 7PM on their show date. Tickets: $15=Per Program
For more info go here: https://2022newjerseyinternationalfilmfestival.eventive.org/