Melvin James; Filmmaker
James: â€œI aspire to make memorable films that are entertaining; but films that also maintain virtue and that will inspire thought.â€?
[My Story: Director-Producer]
Where He’s From: Melvin James was born and raised in Newark, New Jersey. “The most important thing I learned from my parents is to stay focused and to work hard at my goals and to put my faith in God,” he tells The Black Star News
James attended Howard University in Washington, DC and holds a degree in Political Science - Pre Law. After graduation he worked as the Director of Community Organizing for a major housing development corporation and organized numerous youth camps and programs for neighborhood youth. His career in politics ended abruptly when one of his scripts was optioned from New Line Cinema with Jim Carrey slated to play lead.
“I launched my film career after college when I went to work as a production assistant for a world famous director named Sidney Lumet,” he adds. “I have been fortunate enough to have done a few films and television projects. And I have been widely recognized for my work thus far.”
He has also worked under such acclaimed directors as Martin Scorsese, Roland Emmerich, Mike Newell, Spike Lee and Ron Howard.
“I see myself continuing to grow as a director and as a writer. I aspire to make memorable films that are entertaining; but films that also maintain virtue and that will inspire thought,” James says.
His debut feature film, "King of Hearts" received rave reviews from industry professionals and set the tone for his no holds barred and clever style approach to making movies. Melvin followed up with his sophomore project "Honeybee" in 2000 which currently runs on TV One, BET and ABC.
After that, Melvin sank his teeth into the critically acclaimed film, "A Miami Tail." An urban comedy based on the classic Greek play, Lysistrata.
Where He’s At: Among his several award winning short films and television shows like "College Hill" on BET and three successful feature films to date, Melvin James has began pre-production on his fourth and fifth feature films.
"Addicted To Chaos" and "Escape From Eden" both to be shot in 2007 as well as his upcoming shows on Comedy Central and his new webcast show Dimes All Access Media (DAAM) which he is also bringing to television.
“The challenges that I face as an African American director in my industry are reflective of the challenges that Black people face as a whole,” James continues. “On some levels the opportunities are not as readily available and there is definitely a bias when it comes to the type of projects that I am offered. I handle it by continuing to push for directing projects that are diverse in its artistic content and by writing projects that reflect that as well.”
“I'm proud of a film that directed called On My Way To School which was about youth violence,” James adds. “It was screened at several festivals across the country and was given a special screening by CBS.”
James’ Words Of Wisdom: “Work hard. Pray hard.”
James’ Secrets Of Success: “Learn from your mistakes.”
James’ Three Favorite Movies: “Inherit The Wind; Network; and 12 Angry Men.”
James’ Three Favorite Books: “Profiles In Courage by John F Kennedy; The Autobiography of Malcolm X; and Miseducation Of The Negro.”
Three Leaders That Most Inspire James: “Malcolm X, Muhammad Ali, and Martin L King.”
The First Three Things James Would Do As President: “End the war, eliminate the electoral college, eliminate political action committees.”
James’ Favorite Cars: “1969 Lincoln convertible because I love the suicide doors. And the 1959 Chevy Impala because it has character.”
James’ Favorite Entertainers And Song: “Marvin Gaye-What's Going On; Public Enemy-Fight The Power; Carlos Santana-Jingo; Aerosmith-Amazing; and, James Brown-I'm Black And I'm Proud.”
James’ Favorite Websites: “WebMD, Myspace, YouTube, Drew's Script-O-Rama, Brightcove.”
A Short James Story: “I get mistaken a lot for being Jerry Rice. Once I was in Las Vegas at Spago having dinner and my friends pranked me by convincing the restaurant manager that I was Jerry Rice to get a free meal without me knowing. Fifteen minutes later the real Jerry Rice walked in and every body in the place thought they were seeing double.”
For more on this filmmaker please see www.myspace.com/melvin_james
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