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Spending the first eighteen years of his life in Bellville, Georgia, population 123, James Kicklighter has become a multi-award winning writer/director whose work has been recognized by leading film publications around the world, including The Hollywood Reporter, The Times of India and FilmInk Australia.


Adapt or Die – A Daily Newspaper Embraces Its Digital Future in James Kicklighter’s Digital Edition

  • They gave me five days to come into the newspaper and figure out how it worked. I came in every day and took several notepads worth of notes, observing pitch meetings, figuring out processes of reporters as they constructed stories, etc. Then, I conducted dozens of pre-interviews to get a sense of the mood of the newsroom, determining which stories to follow during our shooting week, and which reporters could best communicate that digital future in the film.

    Over the course of five very long shooting days, I brought in a small crew that was split into two teams and we followed stories as they unfolded. We shot on the Sony FS700, doing multicam interviews in a studio and single camera during field shoots.

    Directors Notes >>

James Kicklighter (Digital Edition, Hillary Clinton campaign videos): Atlanta Film Chat Episode 136

  • Turns out Chuck and James go way back, at least on Twitter! James was also a director for many Hillary Clinton’s campaign videos and worked with stars like Miley Cyrus and Sean Astin during the election. Hear all about his story and making Digital Edition in this episode.

    Atlanta Film Chat >>

Meet the unexpected trio getting to the heart of America’s crisis of values

  • The most surprising element to me has been the commonality of values across all segments of society. It’s easy for us to put people in boxes, and divisive politics has a lot to do with that. Because many of us are viewing everything in national discussion through a political lens, it has become quite difficult to cut below that and understand the real issues facing our country.

    Unite for America >>

Miley Cyrus storms Virginia college to campaign for Hillary Clinton

  • With less than three weeks to go before election day, Miley Cyrus stormed George Mason University in Virginia like a ‘Wrecking Ball’ for the Hillary Clinton campaign on Saturday.

    Entertainment Weekly >>

Shorts: Digital Edition (2016)

  • Kicklighter’s direction has a kinetic pace to match its subject matter, but always keeps everything on a very human level…[Digital Edition] covers an important topic that I don’t feel has been given much thought in media.

    Crushed Celluloid >>

Digital Edition (2016) Review

  • I’ve seen projects from Mr. Kicklighter before, and expected nothing less than a well rounded, polished experience. What I didn’t expect was a topic featuring a much broader scope than the title suggests…a fine short film covering a lot of different aspects from the industry. ‘Digital Edition’ would look right at home on your favorite television channel.

    IndyRed >>

Escaping Bellview named to Top 50 for ISA Fast Track

  • James Kicklighter’s Escaping Bellview has been selected for the Top 50 in the 2016 ISA Fast Track. Two writers from the TOP 50 will be chosen for the program. The judging criteria includes overall script presentation, originality and marketability.

    International Screenwriters Association >>

The Kicklighter messenger bag released

  • This gender-neutral mail bag boasts a sleek face and ample carrying capacity, in honor of its namesake James’s commitment to shouldering his friends’ burdens, no matter the size. Suspended by a single, adjustable strap, The Kicklighter hangs comfortably at any length. A zipper closure and back pocket make this bag the ultimate in practical style, only fitting for a bag named after someone so loyal, authentic and truly remarkable. Made with pride in the USA, from luxurious, lightweight Italian lambskin, durable utility lining and appointed with deluxe hardware.

    JAMAH >>

Lessons On Filmmaking, Complete Film Courage Interview

  • James Kicklighter shares his experience of being a young director working with professional actress Edith Ivey for the first time, why money has nothing to do with making a real movie, and tell-tale signs that someone is not cut out to be a filmmaker. He also tells us how making short films can help a filmmaker get a feature film made but that a $50,000 short film is a mistake for most filmmakers. He reveals the hardest filmmaking lesson that he has learned, the first five things he does as a director on a film set, and the stresses he faces making a living as a filmmaker.

    Film Courage >>

Director James Kicklighter’s Film Kicks Cancer’s Ass

  • A Few Things About Cancer is not like any other short I have seen. Kicklighter avoided the all too common view of ‘I’m sick’ stories and the only heartstrings pulled are truthful, intimate, and fulfilling ones. This film is a true documentary of the biggest challenge chronicling Caleb Mock’s personal experience and his battle for survival.

    Reap Mediazine >>

My Interview with James Kicklighter

  • Honestly, ‘the good life’ is being able to do the things I want to do while supporting the dreams and ambitions of my friends and collaborators. Life is meaningless without good company. Find the people rowing in the same direction and help them steer. Beyond work, it is super important for me to have mental resets through travel. I like going far away where I can see and feel something I have never felt before.

    The Person Behind the Project >>

Writer/Director James Kicklighter discusses the Art of Screenwriting

  • James Kicklighter is a 26 year old award winning director with an impressive career already behind him.  In this show, he gave some insight into how he achieved his success at such a young age.  James and Phil also discussed character development, character arc, writing to a theme and directing with a writer’s perspective.

    Seated at the Writer's Table >>

There is No Wall Around Hollywood with James Kicklighter

  • Boundaries are only put up if we don’t ask to go past them.

    Film Courage >>

Money Has Nothing To Do With Making A ‘Real’ Movie with James Kicklighter

  • A lot of people do put these litmus tests on what it means to make a real movie, and I think it’s bullshit. It’s a real movie the moment that people are watching it and the second that people are writing about it.

    Film Courage >>

Director James Kicklighter, Interview Part II

  • In this second half of my interview with the young director, James Kicklighter, he reveals some of his ideals of filmmaking, his admiration for Sidney Lumet and his experiences breaking into filmmaking. Aside from his recent films, ‘A Few Things About Cancer’ and ‘Desires of the Heart,’ James is also finishing up his book on the iconic publicist, Bobby Zarem.

    Cinemaman Steve >>

Director James Kicklighter, Interview Part I

  • I was delighted to speak with impressively busy director, James Kicklighter on his latest efforts, the short documentary ‘A Few Things About Cancer,’ which chronicles his friend’s frightening battle with stage 4 cancer. The film is a raw telling of the young Caleb and his loving wife, and offers hope where it would otherwise be lost, and his feature debut, ‘Desires of the Heart,’ the story of an Indian psychiatrist practicing in America while he struggles with identity and his controversial relationship with a mysterious artist.

    Cinemaman Steve >>

Director James Kicklighter on Filmmaking

  • [A Few Things About Cancer] is very personal to me, as a cancer survivor myself, and I have to say that I was touched to listen to his story. I feel very honored to be able to listen to how it all unfolded and what his message was to his friend (28 minute podcast).

    FilmFervor on iTunes >>

Kicklighter named to inaugural Georgia Southern “40 Under 40” Alumni

  • Congratulations to the 40 Under 40 class of 2014! These prominent graduates have made and impact in business, leadership, community, educational and/or philanthropic endeavors.

    They also aspire to uphold the core values of Georgia Southern University of integrity, civility, kindness, collaboration, and a commitment to lifelong learning, wellness, and social responsibility.

    Georgia Southern Alumni >>

James Kicklighter: Storyteller and Director

  • James Kicklighter is in charge. He’s only 25 years old and has tenaciously made a name for himself in the film industry. For the last nine years, he has worked tirelessly to make his mark as a storyteller, film writer and director. I believe he is a leader to watch and take some notes, because James knows the secret. He found at a young age that if he wanted to be successful in the film industry, doors would only open if he knocked on them–and this applies to any industry. His fearless persistence and passion will, I guarantee, inspire you more than a TED Talk–can we, by the way, nominate him for one of those? “I would rather fail spectacularly at something than to never have tried at all,” said James.

    The Lemonade Magazine >>

Writer/Director James Kicklighter is Calling the Shots

  • ‘Film’s not just about what we put on screen,’ says the conscientious filmmaker. ‘It’s about the catering, the hotels, the transportation; it’s about logistics. It’s about the smaller things that become much bigger things.’

    The South Magazine, October/November 2013 Issue >>

Delts in Entertainment, Winter 2013

  • An upcoming film producer, writer and director, James Kicklighter’s 2012 short film, ‘Final Acts,’ won the Grand Prize at the Macon Shorts Competition. This fall, he has directed his first feature film ‘Desires of the Heart,’ which was shot in Savannah and India…Kicklighter will next direct biopic, ‘Erk,’ about legendary football coach Erk Russell.

    The Rainbow >>

Kred Influencers

  • With influence, there is an added sense of responsibility. People observe my behavior, and I have to make sure that it is in keeping with how I would expect others to treat me.

    Kred Blog >>

Through a Broader Lens

  • He also counts Paul Feig, creator of ‘Freaks and Geeks,’ a short-lived television series, among his influences. ‘[Feig] created this entire universe that was so honest about growing up. He’s also written some autobiographies. So many times you see things are sugarcoated, but he’s direct and honest.’

    Liberty Life Magazine >>

Camera with a Conscience

  • Kicklighter, a 22-year-old from Bellville, is inevitably tagged as a prodigy, wunderkind and lovable ‘old soul,’ with eight movies to his credit, more in the works and a shelf of awards from indie festivals and arts organizations around the world.

    Macon Magazine >>

CEOs Under 25: James Kicklighter

  • As a child, reading, writing and imagination were encouraged in my household. If my sister or I wanted a book read to us, my parents would immediately stop what they were doing and read the book in full. Because they fostered this sense of curiosity and wonder, I was reading at an eighth grade level by kindergarten. >>