New Jersey arts and entertainment news, features and event insights.


By Emily Ranieri

originally published: 06/05/2022

Bendix: sight unseena documentary by Anthony Scalia, will be screened at New Jersey International Film Festival 2022 Saturday, June 11, 2022 face-to-face at 5 p.m. and online for 24 hours as part of Short Film Program #3.

The Bendix Diner, located in Hasbrouck Heights, is a quintessential New Jersey restaurant. Its classic 1940s neon sign is still in place and used to locate the freeway joint. One of the most notable things about Bendix is ​​the owner, John Diakakis. John is a single father of three boys and is completely blind. His family bought the restaurant in 1985, and now John is the proud owner and manager. As a Jersey resident, John cares deeply about Bendix customers, and he even says they inspire the menu.

John was born legally blind but lost his sight completely as an adult. Her persistence and nonchalant attitude towards her disability is definitely something to aspire to. He doesn’t care what other people think, and in fact, he enjoys proving people wrong and exceeding their expectations.

John has an incredible memory, speaks three languages, is a comedian, and has an extraordinary shoe collection of almost 700 pairs. Incredibly, although he can’t see, he can tell exactly which shoe he has in his collection based on the simple feel they have.

Scalia’s documentary perfectly showcases John’s daily life at the Bendix Diner. He looks like a normal waiter, but his incredible memory makes John even more extraordinary than the average sighted person. While taking orders, he’s already mentally calculating the cost of the meal, and he’s not writing anything down either. His eldest son, Tony, who works at the restaurant, calls his father a “superhuman” for being able to function as he does despite his blindness.

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Scalia does an amazing job of presenting Bendix as a classic Jersey family restaurant. John’s sarcastic banter with customers will make any Jersey resident feel right at home. Bendix regulars and newbies alike have immense respect for John and his company. John says the restaurant operates on an honor system when it comes to payments, and he says he’s 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, hassle-free operation. Scalia’s directing and editing style, particularly during the dinner sequences, perfectly captures the hectic nature of restaurant work. bendix is incredibly inspiring and well done. John’s story will instantly inspire everyone who sees this film. Nothing is holding him back, and he is an exceptional father, leader and man.

27e The annual festival will take place on select Fridays, Saturdays and Sundays until June 12. The festival will be hybrid as we will present it online as well as in-person screenings at Rutgers University. All films will be available virtually via video on demand for 24 hours on their broadcast date. Every ticket or Festival Pass purchased is good for virtual and in-person screenings. In-person screenings will take place at Voorhees Hall #105/Rutgers University, 71 Hamilton Street, New Brunswick, NJ beginning at 5 or 7 p.m. on the day of their show. Tickets: $15 = per program

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