Ocean Studios - Plymouth, 2017 - Photo by Seb Franceschi /  @__sebffran

Ocean Studios - Plymouth, 2017
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Photo by Seb Franceschi / @__sebffran

Hello

I'm James, a director, camera operator and cinematographer based in Manchester. I specialise in factual content - long and short form with a narrative production aesthetics; basically authentic stories which look beautiful, allowing them to resonate more deeply. When I’m not producing/directing my own projects I freelance in camera, lighting and leadership roles.

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Professional

Documentaries are my passion; I'm at my best when telling authentic, human-focused stories in new and engaging ways. My factual work blurs the line between observational and narrative storytelling, applying, where relevant high-level production aesthetics to enhance the story.

I have produced and directed two feature docs, my last did quite well on the festival circuit. I recently finished my third feature as a producer as DoP.

I'm an experienced visual storyteller who strives to develop an emotional response to my work through a connection. That unique feeling triggered by experiencing a meaningful connection that resonates within us. Whether expressed as an adrenaline-fuelled chest-bump, a resonating gulp in the throat, a barrel roar of laughter or a simple smile. I want people to feel, care and act when they see our work.

I'm lucky that I have the best job in the world; creating work that matters, for people who care.

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Personal

I'm fortunate my work allows me to travel. I might be a dromomaniac - someone with an uncontrollable urge to see the world, be curious and keep busy. Friends used to call me a gypsie, perhaps nomad is a good compromise.

I'm new to working in Manchester, having moved up from the South West but I'm a Yorkshire, born just outside of Sheffield.

Work takes me to Cornwall, London and Bristol regularly. I lived in Devon / Cornwall for many years after completing the feature doc - Last Fisherman. I was lucky that it won some awards and taught me a lot. I'm still deeply connected to the Cornwall's Rame Peninsula, its fisherman and community.

Some personal highlights include my time as a local radio presenter, working for Apple, training as an RAF combat photographer, moonlighting as a sushi chef and being attacked by a Dalek (honest).

My passions include analogue photography, Japanese culture, especially Aikido. The training helps me to get in touch with the way my body moves - usually different from what my mind expects! It is the most challenging art form I have ever practised and at the same time the most addictive.

I enjoy art, films, reading – non-fiction mainly apart from the odd Lee Child thriller or random graphic novel. Of course docs, podcasts, live music, climbing, cycling, coffee and cooking.

Some of my influences include Sophia Coppola, Michael Palin, Roger Deakins, Sir Ranulph Fiennes, Douglas Adams, Robert Frank, Bill Murray, Ken Robinson, Louis Theroux, Seth Godin, Ed Templeton, Henri Cartier-Bresson, Andy Kaufman and my father.