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Steve James (producer)

steve james producer movies, david james producer
Steve James born March 8, 195412 is an American film producer and director of several documentaries, including the award-winning Hoop Dreams and Stevie


  • 1 Life and career
  • 2 Filmography
  • 3 References
  • 4 External links

Life and careeredit

James was born in Hampton, Virginia2 He directed the 1997 feature film Prefontaine and the TV movies Passing Glory and Joe and Max One of his more recent films, The Interrupters, a portrayal of a year inside the lives of former gang members in Chicago who now intervene in violent conflicts, was released in January 2011, after premiering at the Sundance Film Festival The film is his sixth feature length collaboration with his long-time filmmaking home, the non-profit Chicago production studio Kartemquin Films, and is also his fifth feature to be accepted into the Sundance Film Festival

While working with Kartemquin Films, James has produced many films that pursue social inquiry and change Their collaborations include the 1994 hit Hoop Dreams, which is one of James' best known works Kartemquin films, a non-profit group that produces films promoting "social inquiry", is based in Chicago Much of James' work is based in the area, predominately the inner cities and impoverished areas Their collaborations often touch on the topics of sports and race, including the ESPN 30 for 30 film No Crossover: The Trial of Allen Iverson

He also recently directed the documentary film Head Games which follows football player and wrestler Chris Nowinski's quest to uncover the truth about the consequences of sports related head injuries On September 7, 2012, it was announced via social networking site Twitter that James would be involved in the making of a documentary on the life of film critic Roger Ebert3

He is a graduate of James Madison University4 and Southern Illinois University Carbondale, studying with Charles Harpolecitation needed His work, he tells journalist Robert K Elder in an interview for The Film That Changed My Life, was strongly influenced by the film Harlan County, USA

There've been many documentaries over the years that have powerfully impacted me I think this one came along at the time when I was more interested in being a feature filmmaker than a documentary filmmaker So it came along at the beginning of a process of moving from an interest in feature film to documentaries, and that’s where my career has taken me It came along at the right time for me It helped me see, "Ah, this is more what I want to do"5

James also pulls influence from the original definition of the term cinéma vérité as it applies to the Rouch/Morin method of filmmaking Just as with Rouch and Morin, the "people on camera and we in the audience are continually reminded that a film is being made, that we are watching a film" We are reminded of this through James' presence on screen as well as his cinematic editing techniques, in order to obtain, what he believes is a more accurate depiction of truth6


  • Stop Substance Abuse, 1986
  • Grassroots Chicago, 1991 with Kartemquin Films
  • Higher Goals, 1993 with Kartemquin Films
  • Hoop Dreams, 1994 with Kartemquin Films
  • Prefontaine, 1997
  • Passing Glory, 1999 TV
  • Joe and Max, 2002 TV
  • Stevie, 2003 with Kartemquin Films
  • The New Americans, 2004 executive producer, Nigerian story director with Kartemquin Films
  • Reel Paradise, 2005
  • The War Tapes, 2006 producer
  • At the Death House Door, 2008 with Kartemquin Films
  • No Crossover: The Trial of Allen Iverson, 2010 ESPN 30 for 30 project with Kartemquin Films
  • The Interrupters, 2011 with Kartemquin Films
  • Head Games, 2012
  • Life Itself, 2014 with Kartemquin Films
  • Abacus: Small Enough to Jail, 2016


  1. ^ "Kartemquin Films on Twitter" Twitter Retrieved 2017-01-22 
  2. ^ a b "Steve James Biography 1954-" wwwfilmreferencecom in eng Retrieved 2017-01-22 CS1 maint: Unrecognized language link
  3. ^ Deutsch, Lindsay Sep 10, 2012 "Roger Ebert film, Kindle Paperwhite first look" USA Today Gannett Satellite Information Network Retrieved Sep 12, 2012 
  4. ^ "JMU Alumni Association - 1994: Steve James '77" alumnijmuedu Retrieved 2017-01-22 
  5. ^ Elder, Robert K 2011 The Film That Changed My Life: 30 Directors on Their Epiphanies in the Dark Chicago, Ill: Chicago Review Press p 113 ISBN 9781556528255 
  6. ^ Ellis, Jack C; McLane, Betsy A 2005-08-01 "Chapter Fourteen: Direct Cinema and Cinéma Vérité, 1960-1970" A New History of Documentary Film pp 214–215 ISBN 9780826417510 

External linksedit

  • Steve James on IMDb
  • C-SPAN Q&A interview with James and Sgt Zack Bazzi, about The War Tapes, July 16, 2006

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