BJFF Audiences Meet Dave Grusin, Consummate Musician and Complete Mensch

The 8th annual Boulder Jewish Film Festival opened Wednesday with two sold-out screenings of “Dave Grusin: Not Enough Time” in the Dairy Arts Center’s Boe Theater, and a reception with filmmaker Barbara Bentree.

The Victor Mestas Trio played samples of Grusin’s famed compositions while audiences enjoyed a Santa Fe inspired repast honoring Grusin’s Oscar-winning “Milagro Beanfield War.”

Bentree spoke after both screenings, explaining how she came to spend the better part of 5 years on this long-overdue musical biography. A graduate of CU’s College of Music, Bentree is a jazz musician who now lives in Santa Fe with her jazz musician husband.

Grusin also lives in Santa Fe, and has a home in Montana as well, and when Bentree became acquainted with the local music industry legend she suggested making a film about him. He resisted at first, but after six months of pleading and through advocacy of his wife Nan, Grusin agreed.

The resulting documentary captures Grusin’s import as a versatile performer, a sought-after film and tv composer, a brilliant record label maverick, an arranger for the biggest names in music, the discoverer of new talent, a man at the center of the musical universe in his prime, and a musician universally respected for six decades of innovation and excellence.

But beyond the astounding accomplishments, the string of awards, the impressive big names, there is Dave Grusin, the modest, hard-working human being. Those of us who know Grusin from his many appearances at CWA already know how humbly Grusin walks in the world.

Born to a Jewish father who fled Latvia at the age of 14 to come alone to America, where he promptly served in WW I, Grusin, is quite simply a mensch as well as a multi-talented musician.

Bentree spent years interviewing musicians who worked with Grusin over the years. Not one person had a negative word to say about Grusin, now working into his 80s. In fact, there was unanimous praise for his work ethic, talent, personal warmth, and integrity.

For Bentree, the blessing of being able to work on this project has been  the opportunity to spend time with Grusin and celebrate his life and work. Bentree says she was happy to be able to tell the story of a jazz musician that doesn’t end tragically.

Indeed, the inspiring film is exactly the kind of story we choose to tell at the Boulder Jewish Film Festival.

For those who missed the screenings, the film is likely to return to the Boe for a run in coming months. Dave Grusin will be in Boulder for a program at CWA April 8 that includes clips from the film. Grusin will also perform.

Dave Grusin: Not Enough Time” will be also be available to stream, please visit to learn more..

Tickets are still available for many screenings of the Boulder Jewish Film Festival. CLICK HERE FOR TICKETS

About Kathryn Bernheimer

Kathryn has spent her professional life writing about, teaching, and presenting the arts. Founding Director of the Boulder Jewish Film Festival, Kathryn was Director of Menorah and ACE at the Boulder JCC from 2003 through August, 2019. The former film and theater critic for the Boulder Daily Camera, Kathryn is the author of "The Fifty Greatest Jewish Movies" and "The Fifty Funniest Films of All Time."

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