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O’Kelley Legends: 2e Behind the Scenes: An Interview with Harri James

Please tell us what inspired you to enter into the world of films?

I’ve always been a storyteller, and I love documenting other people’s stories.

Filmmaking is a laborious job, so what keeps you motivated?

I like the challenge and problem-solving that comes along with making films.

How do you choose your star cast?

I look for strengths within the actors I cast, or I rewrite the roles for their strengths. I like using unknown actors who can be authentic and organic.

Do you think taking an audition is the best way to cast for a movie or documentary?

Not all actors audition well, but I think any aspect of life can be an audition.

Do you agree many filmmakers fail to understand the importance of editing?

I feel most filmmakers learn the importance of editing in the process of making films.

Who are your filmmaking influences?

I’m influenced by Taika Waititi, Adam McKay, and Aaron Sorkin.

How do you choose a script that you are going to direct?

I’m a “film by” director, so I only direct scripts or projects that I write or collaborate on.

Where do you see the film industry going in the next 2 years?

I think with all the different platforms out there, we are going to see more and more stories being told that we haven’t seen before, from filmmakers we haven’t seen represented.

Do you make films to entertain the audience?

I like to entertain, but I also like to educate and make the audience think.

Which actor, according to you, is the all-time best actor?

I’ve worked with so many great actors but I would say Kevin Bacon and Samuel Jackson were the most impressive and underrated.

What are your goals when you make a film?

To create the most organic and real acting in each scene and make sure the audience can relate and stay engaged.

What role does music play in a movie?

I like to set the tone and the film’s reality with music. I think having an honest relationship with your composer is very important. I really enjoy working with my longtime collaborator, composer Kevin W. Walker, and rely on his experience and opinions.

How do you ensure that production is on schedule?

I think of myself as a producer/writer much more than a director, so I’m always thinking about time, and how long things take.

Please tell us about your upcoming projects.

I have a lot of upcoming projects, long and short term. I’m also working on a screenplay, and some storytelling ideas. Because I write, I’ve always got ideas and projects in different stages, and then I’ll just go film something.

I’m currently promoting a documentary I made called “O’Kelley Legends: 2e Behind the Scenes.” The film is currently playing mostly virtual film festivals, such as the Canadian Diverstiy Film Festival, The Prague International Film Festival, and The Los Angeles Showbiz Shriners Film Festival, It will next screen in-person at the Borrego Springs Film Festival on January 14, 2022.

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