James Collie - Documentary Film Maker

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Because he shot his documentary BEYOND BIBA for £5k and managed to sell and distribute the film himself, selling out cinemas in the UK, doing his own DVD release and selling it to Sky TV.



James Collie set up November Films in 2006 and their first feature length documentary BEYOND BIBA was produced independently over 2008-2009.

The documentary was transmitted in August 2010 on Sky Arts as part of their 60’s season and was also sold to television broadcasters in Australia, Brazil and across Europe with the Sundance Channel.

Over the last year November Films has released the film DIY in the UK, culminating in over 60 cinema screenings across the country followed by a successful DVD release.

DARK TOURISM, a six part documentary series in association with 3DD Entertainment and ASHES TO ASHES, a Paris based 15 minute short film in association with the Young Vic Theatre are due for release next year.


Q: What was your favourite film as a kid?


Q: Who inspired you when you were starting out?

A: Werner Herzog.

Q: What was your big break?

A: Meeting my fellow producer Tom Walters and Director Louis Price as cinema ushers at the Odeon in Leicester Square.

Q: What was the best day in your career?

A: Screening BEYOND BIBA at the Glasgow Film Theatre on a wet Tuesday night last October thinking we’d struggle to fill half the theatre. We arrived to introduce the film on stage and there were 450 people in front of us.

Q: What has been your most important lesson?

A: To make your first film away from any Studio or TV company so you can learn your craft at your own pace and only release the film when it’s ready.

Q: If a niece or nephew wanted to be in the business, what would you advise them?

A: Don’t rush into making your first feature length project. You’ll only ever make your first film once. Only consider working in the film business if you have supportive family and friends.

Q: What is the hardest part of your job and how do you overcome it?

A: Fighting to get your film out there and to be seen. You must focus your energies on specific targets rather than wasting your time on a scattergun strategy.

Q: What do you feel is a writers’ or filmmakers' key responsibility?

A: To give the audience what they want but not what they expect.

Q: What mistakes do you see writers or film makers making over and over?

A: Having major plot points in the film happen by complete coincidence and characters not acting to a given situation in a realistic manner.

Q: What advice would you offer a writer?

A: The best advice young writers can get is: "tell your story. Outline it, tell it, re-outline it, tell it again. If you can tell the story for 45 minutes to a friend, and he pays attention, you have a movie. You have to check their level of interest, their body language, whether you have them or don't". Paul Schrader (TAXI DRIVER and RAGING BULL).