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One In A Billion: Meet Director James Hunter

James Hunter was born and raised in South/Central Compton. With coming from the Compton area, James’ life could have gone a matter of ways. His mom made sure that he was involved in things that would keep him away from the violence around him. His first love became movies after growing up with them.

“During my early years, growing up on the rough streets of South Central LA as an African-American youth, movies became a large part of my life. My mother wanted to keep me away from the gangs and violence and entertained me with movies from all genres of film. I became engrossed in the idea of film, making filmmaking my dream. During this time, I learned about Spike Lee and the work he was doing in filmmaking as an African-American. I realized that my dream could be a reality and set out to attain that dream.” recounts James.

James went on to attend Dartmouth college and study film while there. After graduating from college, he immediately launched into the film industry. He helped out numerous film giants while working in the industry and this only reinforced his desire for film and to create his own films.

“After my years at Dartmouth, I spent the next couple of years working throughout the film and television industry in Los Angeles. I began my career at Sony through the Sony Pictures Intern Program. While at Sony, I had the honor of working as a production assistant for Spike Lee, John Singleton, and Francis Ford Coppola. I then began working as producer and director for commercials for Nike, Nintendo, tourism ads, and pharmaceutical ads. I then moved on to work for Damon Wayans in the Disney Director For Television Program, shadow directing for the television show, ‘My Wife and Kids’.” explains James.

He never gave up on his dreams of creating his own film while working as an assistant, intern, and other positions in the film industry. He decided to pursue his dream by creating his film “Back in the Day”. He created the film alongside his friend who he had met in the industry, Ving  Rhames, and the film features a superstar cast.

“During my time working in the film and television industry, I had the opportunity to meet and befriend Ving Rhames. It was through my relationship with Ving and various other members of the Hollywood industry, that I was able to get my feature film, Back In The Day, into theaters. Emmy Award and Golden Globe winner, Ving Rhames, and platinum-selling rapper, Ja Rule, star in this complex urban drama, portraying a gritty tale of love and redemption. The film boasts an ensemble cast featuring, Pam Grier (The L Word), Frank Langella (Unscripted), Tatyana Ali (The Brothers), Giancarlo Esposito (Law & Order), Tia Carrere (Supernova), Debi Morgan (Eve’s Bayou), and Joe Morton (Ali).” James states.

This film helped launch James’ success further into the industry by putting him alongside other incredible names in the film industry. What started out as an interest for James, became his main livelihood and reality, which helped him launch into fame.

“After Back in Day, I went on to direct and shadow direct various television series. Most notably MY WIFE AND KIDS for ABC. With this experience, I was able to secure a multiseries deal, and had two pilots ordered by Warner Brother Network and UPN. When those networks ended, I refocused his energy on film. Since then, I have written 5 feature films which are in varying levels of development. To date, my film BACK IN THE DAY has grossed over 45 million dollars. As a result, I was given an overall acquisition deal for Back in the Day with the digital streaming network HULU.” James says.

James has a bright future ahead with hopefully more production and new movies and series coming in the future. You can watch Back in the Day on Prime Video.

To visit James Hunter’s official instagram account, click here.


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