James, who graduated from East Berkshire College in 1999 with three A Levels, returned to the place where his success story began to talk to media students about his career in the film industry. A career that has seen him direct and produce programmes for Channel Four, make a number of independent feature films including The Ballard of Des and Mo (2010) and become a university lecturer.
James, who grew up in Slough, said: “The filmmaking industry is a challenging one and I have been fortunate to be consistently working. My career takes me to many different countries and projects, but for me it all began in the media suites of East Berkshire College. The lecturers there changed my view of education, they made learning fun and I gained a variety of valuable skills.
“No matter what success you achieve, you should never forget where you came from. I’ve been where these students are now and I’m pleased to be able to pass on the benefit of my experience to them. The College helped me get to where I am now, so I was keen to give something back and help the next generation.”
Last year, James enjoyed success and controversy at the Melbourne International Film Festival when he made the audience top 10 with a feature length movie he shot, edited and screened in just 72 hours.
James has also teamed up with another former East Berkshire College student, actress Katie Sheridan for another movie, which centres around a young journalist played by Katie.
James’ visit is part of a series of talks by guest speakers and former students, which are organised by the College to enhance the learning experience of its students and demonstrate how the curriculum relates to future careers.
Media student Alfie Hall (from Maidenhead) said “It was great to meet someone who has been where we are now and made it in the film industry. The fact he’s taken time out to return to the College shows how important his college years were to him. I found his talk really inspiring. He even made time to give us one-to-one advice and answer our questions.”