Before he made Variety’s Top 10 Producers to Watch in 2016, he was Jordan Yale Levine, a student at Hewlett High School who grew up receiving the Nassau Herald at home, unsure what he wanted to do.
But there was one thing for sure he knew: he was interested in business but unsure in what capacity.
“I had a great time in high school. I think I learned that I wanted to be in business in general, but I didn’t know in what field,” he said. ‘Whether it was hospital administration, whether it was finance, but as an 18-19-year-old kid, I thought film was super cool and I wanted to experience that.”
After graduating in 2003, Levine, a North Woodmere native, decided to move to Los Angeles the following year because, at the time, he thought that was the best place to be for film.
Once he decamped to Southern California he began working behind the scenes, coordinating hundreds of meetings to raise money for the films he was working on, one of his first being the 2007 film “Tooth and Nail.”
“I was interested in this side of the business,” he said. “I always had a very business-minded kind of vision but never grew up wanting to be a film producer.”
But, in a twist-of-fate, through recognition and connections he made, Levine was given the green light to produce his first movie called “Black Limousine” starring David Arquette in 2010.
That same year, Levine received a call from a friend in the business, Ash Christian, who was directing the film “Petunia” in New York, asking him to join his team. It was at that moment Levine realized he didn’t have to work in L.A. and could work in his home state.
“That’s what brought me back to New York,” he said. “From that experience, I realized that I do not have to be in L.A. and I could be here in New York where my family is.”
When he returned, Levine had already worked on over 30 films and by 2016, was named one of Variety’s 10 producers to watch, a dream come true, he said.
Christian and Levine worked on multiple projects together in New York. But it was when Levine crossed paths with another fellow Hewlett graduate, Jordan Beckerman. They reconnected to form “Yale Entertainment” in 2017, an expansion to Levine’s “Yale Productions,” his independent feature film production company he launched in 2012 after wanting to further pursue film production.
The two’s first film together was 2018’s “After Everything,” which starred Jeremy Allen White, who has become a staple household name in the movie industry. The pair has since produced over a dozen films.
Although film wasn’t in his plans, Levine has been invited to colleges such as New York University to share his story.
When asked what advice he would give to those interested, he said that future director, writers or cinematographers should further expand their interest by attending film school in college, but for those who have an interest in producing like him, attending business school to be the route.
“I would never downplay college or school in general,” he said despite not having a college degree. “I think that you can learn either by experience or by going to film, business school or look for internships. School and experiences, whether together or separate, definitely make for the best education.”