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Spending the first eighteen years of his life in Bellville, Georgia, population 123, James Kicklighter has become a multi-award winning writer/director whose work has been recognized by the world’s press, including The Hollywood Reporter, The Times of India, Film Courage and FilmInk Australia.
Most recently, he released A Few Things About Cancer, the story of a newlywed couple’s quarter life crisis through stage four cancer, winner of Best Documentary Short at the 2015 FirstGlance Los Angeles Film Festival. IndyRed raved, “a remarkable achievement of ‘A Few Things About Cancer,’ which is stuffed with some great achievements, is its ability to tell a story we’ve all heard, yet keep it fresh and emotionally connected.”
His first feature film, Desires of the Heart, follows the journey of Dr. Kris Sharma (Val Lauren) as he leaves a budding romance with an artist (Alicia Minshew) in Savannah, GA for a marriage arranged by his parents in Rajasthan, India, where he discovers centuries old secrets that may determine the fate of his destiny. Desires was an official selection of numerous festivals across the United States and around the world, including the 2014 Cannes Marché du Film and was the winner of Best Foreign Film at the 2013 Los Angeles Femme Film Festival. Film Threat declared that Desires “matches its narrative’s expansive ambitions with gorgeous visions that turn both Georgia and India into almost permanent states of postcard-friendly imagery.” The Independent Critic said it is “both intelligent and fantastic…[challenging] both heart and mind with a story that is culturally grounded, somewhat mystical in nature, and yet psychologically insightful.”
Previously, Ain’t it Cool News said of Followed, his adaptation of the Zombie short story from Hugo Award winner Will McIntosh, “[is] an entirely new and refreshing take on the zombie genre, directed with a delicate and gentle hand, [it’s] the most unexpected horror surprise seen in quite a while.” Fotogramas, one of Europe’s leading film publications, stated that “[Followed]… return[s] the genre to progressive social commentary.”
Outside of entertainment production, Kicklighter produces the ad campaign for the National Student Leadership Conference, profiling the most influential leaders in America, including the Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, Co-Chair of the Republican National Committee, Director of Operations for the U.S. Peace Corps, amongst others. He also works with AMBITION, a Los Angeles-based program that teaches entrepreneurial skills to low-income students, many of which become first-generation college graduates.
James is currently developing several films with a southern voice for producers Richard Saperstein (The Mist, Se7en) and Beau Turpin (Counterpunch), including The Perpetual State of Georgia from Casey Nelson and Kate Murdoch (The Last Treasure Hunt) and Erk, a biopic about legendary college football coach Erk Russell. Additionally, James is nearing completion on his first book, the biography of famed entertainment publicist Bobby Zarem, and recently directed the music video “Branches” for the solo debut of artist Shel Bee, debuting on iTunes and multiple platforms in August 2015.
He serves on the Advisory Board for the Department of Communication Arts at Georgia Southern University, his alma mater, where he was recently chosen out of over 30,000 living graduates to be listed on the inaugural “40 Under 40 Alumni” for “impact in business, leadership, community, educational and/or philanthropic endeavors.”
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 (Short and Drama) Producer
The Great Illusion
Film (Horror and Thriller) Production Coordinator
The American Question
Film (Documentary) Director
Angel of Anywhere
Film (Short) Director
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
Best Documentary, Maverick Movie Awards
Best Documentary Short, First Glance Film Festival
Best Foreign Film, LA Femme International Film Festival
Audience Choice, National Film Festival for Talented Youth
Audience Choice, National Film Festival for Talented Youth
Best Short Film, Melbourne Independent Film Festival
Georgia Southern University