Andrew James is an award-winning nonfiction filmmaker pursuing American stories with an emphasis on character and place. In 2009, he completed Cleanflix, a feature-length documentary about Mormon movie sanitizers re-editing Hollywood films without permission. The funny and crowd-pleasing film had its world premiere at the prestigious Toronto International Film Festival before enjoying a healthy run on the North American festival circuit. The film, which explores morality, subjectivity and censorship through the lens of Mormon movie culture, has been praised for its witty yet balanced treatment of two starkly different worlds clashing over matters of artistic censorship. Featuring interviews with the founders of the clean film movement and the Hollywood directors determined to stop them, Cleanflix offers a fascinating, behind-the-scenes look at a weird and unforgettable piece of movie history.
After finishing Cleanflix, Andrew moved to Michigan to begin work on Street Fighting Men, a feature-length documentary ensemble about three men fighting to build a stable life for themselves in post-industrial Detroit. Andrew lived in the city for more than a year and cultivated close bonds with the three men featured in the film. Cited as a "Filmmaker to Watch" by The Independent, Andrew has taken Street Fighting Men to such notable venues as Independent Film Week, the Hot Docs Pitch Forum, the Sundance Documentary Edit and Story Lab, and the Film Independent Documentary Lab. The film also received post-production support from the Sundance Institute and the San Francisco Film Society. Street Fighting Men had its world premiere at IFFBoston in 2017 before screening at festivals world-wide such as Big Sky, SF DocFest, Viewpoint and Brooklyn, where it took home the Spirit Award.
Known for its strong subjects, beautiful cinematography and direct approach, Street Fighting Men is "a painful but honest depiction of black life in urban Detroit, featuring multifaceted men striving against the odds. A portrait of black resilience and perseverance — without sentimentality — that stands in stark contrast to the one-dimensional uplifting stories of transformation in Detroit, but still offers a way out of the dark." - April Wolfe
After completing Street Fighting Men, Andrew released Community Patrol, a short, observational portrait of direct community action in Detroit. The black and white film debuted at the 2018 Big Sky Documentary Film Festival where it won the Best Mini Doc Award. It also won the Special Jury Prize for Documentary Short Film at IFFBoston and was an official selection at True/False, Ashland, Traverse City, SF DocFest, Hot Springs and the Camden International Film Festival, among others.
Andrew makes time to freelance as an editor, producer, cinematographer and consultant. In addition to film production, Andrew enjoys teaching and working with young people. He has taught the documentary storytelling class at the Interlochen Summer Arts Camp as well as the documentary camera class at Maine Media Workshops. He currently lives with his wife and frequent collaborator, Jolyn Schleiffarth, in Salt Lake City, Utah.