Director James Kicklighter spent the first eighteen years of his life in Bellville, Georgia, population 123.
Since then, he has gone on to become a multi-award winning Los Angeles-based film director and producer. His work has been recognized by the world’s press, including The Hollywood Reporter, The Times of India, Film Courage and FilmInk Australia.
On June 1st, 2021, Shout! Studios released The Sound of Identity, winner of the 2020 OUTShine Film Festival's Programmers Award for Excellence. Premiering on Starz, streaming on Prime Video, and available on demand, in the spotlight of global media coverage, Lucia Lucas, the first transgender woman to perform as Don Giovanni in a professional opera, makes her historic debut in one of the reddest states in America.
From director James Kicklighter, The Sound of Identity is produced by Emmy Award-winning producers Russ Kirkpatrick & Andy Kinslow and is executive produced by Golden Globe®-winner and Academy Award®-nominated Josh Bachove (Minari, The Little Hours), with Jonathan Pope (Emmy® Award Nominee, The Social Dilemma) on as Director of Photography.
In 2024, he will release The American Question (Sales: UTA Independent Film Group). Following numerous subjects from December 2016, the film examines the root of American polarization and the repercussions of eroded civic institutions, public trust and leadership, providing solutions to solve the problem.
Guided by an all-star lineup of experts, including Amy Chua (Day of Empire), Colin Woodard (American Nations), Yuval Levin (The Fractured Republic) and Yascha Mounk (The People vs. Democracy), we examine the broader arc of history and discover new revelations about the shared values system that binds society together in times of triumph and turmoil.
From director James Kicklighter (The Sound of Identity), The American Question is produced by Guy Seemann, p.g.a. and James Kicklighter, p.g.a., with executive producers S. Asher Gelman (Afterglow) and Marika Feuerstein. The director of photography is Jonathan Pope (Emmy® Award Nominee, The Social Dilemma) and film edited by Mohamed El Manasterly (Emmy® Award Winner, The Square), J.D. Sievertson ("Cosmos") and Carlos Puga (Emmy® Award Winner, “True Life"), with an original score from Nicolas Repetto, featuring original animation from Filmograph (Ghostbusters: Afterlife, Candyman, Promising Young Woman). The American Question is represented by UTA Independent Film Group.
Kicklighter recently served as a panelist at the Oscar-qualifying Hollyshorts Film Festival, taught several filmmaking courses as an educator on Stage 32, and his interview series with the popular YouTube channel Film Courage has nearly 200,000 views.
He is managed by RAIN and resides in Los Angeles with his husband Xintong and dog Oscar.
Escaping Bellview Comedy ⋄ Drama ⋄ Independent In the hopes of leaving his small town, an awkward pre-teen tackles a stock market contest with a prize of visiting Atlanta. When he chooses to invest in a company that competes with his father's business, the pre-teen faces winning the contest at the expense of his dad's job or never being able to visit Atlanta. (Scouted on SpecScout.com, Top Script in Drama)
Branches Music Video When a young girl answers the siren song of a boy, she loses and finds herself in the forest.
The Car Wash Drama An elderly woman (Edith Ivey, The Curious Case of Benjamin Button) visits the local car wash and lube to connect with the world closing in around her.
Film by Bluestone Entertainment (Drama) Director / Co-Writer After missing his chance at a promotion with his championship team, a respected but aging football coach relocates to a small town to head up a lowly college team that's strapped for players, money, and respect.
The American Question
Film (Documentary) Director Following numerous subjects since December 2016, the film examines the root of American polarization and the repercussions of eroded civic institutions, public trust and leadership. Guided by an all-star lineup of experts, including Amy Chua (Day of Empire), Colin Woodard (American Nations), Yuval Levin (The Fractured Republic) and Yascha Mounk (The People vs. Democracy), we examine the broader arc of history and discover new revelations about the shared values system that binds society together in times of triumph and turmoil. Kicklighter directs The American Question with a creative team including producer Guy Seemann, an international political consultant, director of photography Jonathan Pope (Emmy® Award Nominee, The Social Dilemma), editors Mohamed El Manasterly (Emmy® Award Winner, The Square), J.D. Sievertson ("Cosmos") and Carlos Puga (Emmy® Award Winner, “True Life").
The Sound of Identity
Film by Prime Video (Documentary) Director Winner of the 2020 Outshine Film Festival’s prestigious Programmers Award of Excellence, The Sound of Identity is a groundbreaking feature documentary profiling international Opera star Lucia Lucas’ historic performance at the Tulsa Opera. The Sound of Identity lifts the curtain as she becomes the first known transgender woman to perform a principal role in Opera history. The Sound of Identity captures Lucia Lucas on the cusp of international stardom, profiling the moment in an artist’s career when everything could fall apart or come together. Showcasing the collaborative process between Lucas and her mentor, prolific and renowned composer Tobias Picker, Mozart’s Don Giovanni comes to life as Lucas, a world-renowned baritone, takes the spotlight and all the pressures that come with it. Taking place at the height of her career, Lucas provides fresh insights into her transition, the professional risk she is taking, and what it means for those who follow. Exploring the role that identity plays in our personal and professional lives, The Sound of Identity provides a nuanced look at voice and gender, in a documentary The Independent Critic calls “director James Kicklighter’s best film yet.” Directed by James Kicklighter, The Sound of Identity is a production from the Emmy Award-winning team of Russ Kirkpatrick & Andy Kinslow (Boomtown: An American Journey, Unlikely Family), and is executive produced by Golden Globe®-winner and Academy Award®-nominated Josh Bachove (Minari, The Little Hours), with Jonathan Pope (The Social Dilemma) on as Director of Photography.
A Dark Foe
Film Production Coordinator
Every 9 Hours
Film Producer, Editor, Co-Writer From directors Adam Margolis and Jim St. Germain, Every Nine Hours is a modern-day exploration of skin color and gender and how they affect one's ability to participate in relationships and society. In 2017, 987 people were shot and killed by police in America. One every nine hours. Black men were 3x more likely to be in that number than any other group of people. Every Nine Hours stars Phillip Smithey (“Code Black,” “Grace and Frankie”), Elisabeth Ferrara (“Lethal Weapon”), Kahyun Kim (“American Gods”), Marcy Goldman (“Airplane!”) and legendary actor Danny Trejo (Machete, Predators). The film is produced by the award-winning team of Ari Rutenberg and James Kicklighter (Angel of Anywhere, Desires of the Heart), co-produced by Jameelah Nuriddin. The director of photography is Lauren Guiteras, casting by Jaime Gallagher (The Great Illusion, Know Your Enemy), featuring a crew comprised of over 50% females and minorities.
Angel of Anywhere
Film (Short) Director Angel of Anywhere is the story of an empathetic stripper who plays therapist to the many damaged clientele and co-workers who frequent the popular Anywhere Bar. JamesWorks Entertainment’s Angel of Anywhere stars Briana Evigan (Step Up Movie 2: The Streets, Sorority Row) as Michelle, Ser’Darius Blain (When The Game Stands Tall, Jumanji: Welcome to the Jungle) as Brian, David A. Gregory (“One Life to Live,” “The Good Fight”) as D.C., Nihan Gur (“Westworld,” “Criminal Minds: Beyond Borders”) as Alexx in Wonderland, Adam Carr (“The Call Room”) as Drunk Patron, Krystal Conway as Bartender, and introducing Axel Roldos as Angel. Winner of Best Narrative Short at the 2018 Macon Film Festival, screening at nearly twenty global festivals, including the Academy Award qualifying Hollyshorts and Sidewalk Film Festivals, Angel of Anywhere is directed by James Kicklighter (Desires of the Heart), written by Casey Nelson & Kate Murdoch (The Last Treasure Hunt) and produced by Beau Turpin (Beneath The Leaves)
Film (Documentary and History) Director In the midst of a publishing revolution, The Atlanta Journal-Constitution, one of America's most storied institutions of journalism, is experimenting with new tools to tell stories in preparation for the end of print in the digital era.
Six LA Love Stories
Film (Comedy, Drama and Romance) Producer
Hillary for America
Internet by Hillary for America Director Responsible for directing, shooting, producing, and editing all content targeted towards Virginia, deployed locally and nationally, featuring private citizens, public figures, politicians, explaining policies targeting the state for Hillary Clinton's presidential campaign.
Film by James Kicklighter (Music and Short) Director On the brink of life or death, a man must choose the path for which his emotions take him.
Shel Bee: Branches
Video by James Kicklighter (Short and Music) Director When a young girl answers the siren song of a boy, she loses and finds herself in the forest.
A Few Things About Cancer
Film by James Kicklighter (Documentary) Director An intimate look at a newlywed couple's quarter-life crisis through stage four cancer.
Desires of the Heart
Film by James Kicklighter (Drama, Mystery and Romance) Director Dr. Kris Sharma is a psychiatrist from India practicing in Savannah, Georgia when he meets Madeline, a local artist with a mysterious past. But as their relationship begins to blossom in America, Kris is summoned home to marry the woman chosen by his parents. But as he begins to make decisions about his future, he discovers centuries old secrets that may seal the fate of his destiny. Written by Anonymous
Film by James Kicklighter (Short and Drama) Director From multi-award winning director James Kicklighter, Final Acts is the story of a revered actress' return to her roots as seen through the lens of an aspiring filmmaker, exploring the tenuous relationship between life and performance.
Film by James Kicklighter (Short and Drama) Director A socially conscious monster movie in which zombies symbolize society's disadvantaged and oppressed.
The Car Wash
Film by James Kicklighter (Short and Drama) Director An elderly woman visits the local car wash and lube to connect with the world closing in around her.
Theater of the Mind
Film by James Kicklighter (Documentary, History, Biography and News) Director In 2009, it is safe to say most people plan their days around the services of digital media. We have live news, on-demand movies, and mp3 downloads available to us instantly. But only several generations ago, none of these services existed, in a time when we could not tune out to other things. Instead, Americans shared a collective experience, listening to the programs of radio. Over the course of one semester, a sound design class at Georgia Southern University is charged to re-create a radio drama from the early twentieth century. While they have all the training and modern resources, their only personal connection to the era is through textbooks. Featuring famed performers from the Golden Age of Radio, discover the challenges of creating compelling content through the lens of those at the beginning and end of their careers, in a place as big as your imagination. Written by James Kicklighter
Film by James Kicklighter (Documentary, Adventure, Biography, Drama and 1 More) Director This spring, one group of college students is embarking on an international adventure, leaving behind the comforts of their lives in the United States to spend five weeks as foreigners studying abroad throughout Italy. While some are seasoned travelers, others have never stepped out of their state lines, yet alone the country. There's Leslie, an undeclared sophomore, who has never traveled alone or abroad and has no idea what to do with her life. While Leslie may be starting up her college career, Ansley is winding it down, completing her final two courses here before starting work in the fall. Matt, a first time world traveler and agnostic, is leaving home and his girlfriend behind, while John, a devout Catholic who struggles with a modern romance, is reconciling his place in a world at odds with his religious beliefs. Together, they will learn to fit into a culture far different from their own, with a strange language, diet, and travel pattern that all of them have barely imagined. ... Written by JamesWorks Entertainment
Golden Wheat Award (The Sound of Identity)
Best Gender Equality Issues and Rights Film, Berliner Kurzfilmfestival (The Sound of Identity)
Award of Excellence, One Reeler Short Film Competition (Every 9 Hours)
Programmer's Award of Excellence, OUTshine Film Festival (The Sound of Identity)
Best Editing, New York Festival of Cinema (Angel of Anywhere)
Best Narrative Short, Macon Film Festival (Angel of Anywhere)
Accolade Award of Excellence (Angel of Anywhere)
Best Documentary, Maverick Movie Awards (Digital Edition)
Best Music Video, Garden State Film Festival (Branches)
Best Documentary Short, First Glance Film Festival (A Few Things About Cancer)
Accolade Award of Merit (A Few Things About Cancer)
Best Screenplay, Hoboken International Film Festival (Desires of the Heart)
Best Foreign Film, LA Femme International Film Festival (Desires of the Heart)
Audience Choice, National Film Festival for Talented Youth (Followed)
Audience Choice, National Film Festival for Talented Youth (The Car Wash)
Best Short Film, Melbourne Independent Film Festival (The Car Wash)
Georgia Southern University