Sundance 2020: Jessie Kahnweiler talks He’s The One

Jessie Kahnweiler and Luka Jones appear in He’s The One by Jessie Kahnweiler, an official selection of the Shorts Programs at the 2020 Sundance Film Festival. Courtesy of Sundance Institute. Photo by Patrick Gookin.

Jessie Kahnweiler spoke with Solzy at the Movies about the upcoming premiere of her short film, He’s The One, during the Sundance Film Festival.

Kahnweiler writes, directs, and stars in He’s The One.  Joining Kahnweiler in the cast are Luka Jones and Alexandria Churchwell.  The film premieres this Friday during the festival in Shorts Program 2.

How thrilled are you that He’s The One is making its world premiere during the 2020 Sundance Film Festival?

Jessie Kahnweiler: Insanely excited. This project is very personal and has gotten a lot of NO so to get a yes on this level feels fucking sweet. Very grateful.

How did you come up with the idea for the film?

Jessie Kahnweiler: Like most afternoons, I was crying in the parking lot of Trader Joe’s on the phone with my manager Paul Young. I was frustrated about some of the hard things that have happened in my past and wondering if/when I was ever going to be free from some of the resentment and anger I was carrying. I was crestfallen and decided to try and write my way through it.

What was the most challenging part of making He’s The One?

Jessie Kahnweiler: Having an idea that so badly wanted to be bad. And having an ego that wanted to make a perfect movie. I just tried to do right by the story and have fun making art with people I love.

Can you talk about the casting process?

Jessie Kahnweiler: I was panicked about casting. If we didn’t have the right Christian, we didn’t have a movie. My friend Jordan Firstman suggested Luka Jones and I loved him from Shrill. I decided to just slide into his DMs. Making movies, you just get rejected so much so I was like fuck it, what’s the worst that can happen? Luckily, he read the script and agreed to meet up. He immediately understood the character and the story on a cellular level. It just felt right. So I guess Instagram isn’t a soul crushing void ALL the time.

Jews have a way of turning to comedy as a form of therapy.  Why do you think this is?

Jessie Kahnweiler: I don’t know why but I’m so grateful for it. It’s my favorite part about being Jewish and almost makes up for all the stomach aches.

You’re a Sundance veteran. What is the one piece of advice that you would give to a filmmaker premiering a film at Sundance for the first time?

Jessie Kahnweiler: Drink water, take naps, and don’t believe the hype. It’s a blast but the real party was making your movie.

He’s The One premieres during the 2020 Sundance Film Festival on January 24 in Shorts Program 2.

Danielle Solzman

Danielle Solzman is native of Louisville, KY, and holds a BA in Public Relations from Northern Kentucky University and a MA in Media Communications from Webster University. She roots for her beloved Kentucky Wildcats, St. Louis Cardinals, Indianapolis Colts, and Boston Celtics. Living less than a mile away from Wrigley Field in Chicago, she is an active reader (sports/entertainment/history/biographies/select fiction) and involved with the Chicago improv scene. She also sees many movies and reviews them. She has previously written for Redbird Rants, Wildcat Blue Nation, and Hidden Remote/Flicksided. From April 2016 through May 2017, her film reviews can be found on Creators.