Ashley James holds Bachelor and Master of Fine Arts degrees in Filmmaking and has national television credits. He is the co-founder (with Kathryn Golden) of Searchlight Films. Former newspaper journalist, The Hartford Times, (Gannett News Service) Hartford, CT; instructor of graduate studies in Department of Cinema, San Francisco State University and station manager of KTOP/Channel 10, Oakland, CA. which won 32 national awards for excellence in television programming during his 12 year tenure.
Recent documentaries include: Director/Cinematographer, KIRK, portrait of artist/sculptor, Jerome Kirk; Director (with Kathryn Golden)/Cinematographer, Ann Petry and the James Family Letters; Director (with Kathryn Golden)/Cinematographer, John Santos ~ Musica Cosmica; Kitka and Davka in Concert-Old and New World Jewish Music (PBS); Producer/Director Gordon Parks—The Man and His Music a 90-minute television special featuring Issac Hayes, Danny Glover and the Oakland (CA) Symphony Orchestra; Director/Cinematographer, Bomba – Dancing the Drum, (PBS), a one-hour portrait of the legendary Cepeda Family of Puerto Rico; Producer/Director Home and Almost Free, a one-hour film about ex-convicts in the San Francisco Bay Area; Director of photography for Zen Brush Mind & Kazuaki Tanahashi – Painting Peace and Dharma Rebel for the Buddhist Broadcasting System (Netherlands)
Other films include: DP/Cinematographer for And Then They Came for Us; Agents of Change and Barbara Lee: Truth to Power; Director of Photography for the 2012 Academy Award nomination for Best Short Documentary, The Barber from Birmingham;Producer/Director, We Love You Like A Rock – The Dixie Hummingbirds, the feature-length film about the legendary gospel quartet; And Still We Dance, a one hour portrait of the San Francisco Ethnic Dance Festival and the premiere program for KQED’s From San Francisco series; Producer/DP for Zenju’s Path & Moments of Illumination for the Buddhist Broadcasting Network (Netherlands); Producer/Director American Treasure, and Tchuba Means Rain, two ethnographic films about the Cape Verdean-American community of New England. Other Director of Photography credits include: The Nine Lives of Barbara Dane by Maureen Gosling; Blacks & Jews by Snitow Kaufman Productions; Street Soldiers by Avon Kirkland; Crumb, a portrait of cartoonist Robert Crumb; Isadora Duncan – Movement From The Soul; I Can’t Believe You’re Forty, Charlie Brown; The Color Of Honor; Booker; Ethnic Notions; Cut Loose; and Ancestors In America, among many other programs for international broadcast, and cable television.
Mr. James’ awards include the Prix Bartok Award for the best music film at the Bilan du Film Ethnographique (France); an Isadora Duncan “Izzy” Dance Award for special achievement in film; the American Film Institute Independent Filmmaker award; three CINE Golden Eagles; two Telly statues and three Pegasus awards for excellence in television programming; screenings at the Kennedy Center; eight National Endowment for the Arts production grants; grants from the PBS Latino Public Broadcasting Consortium, National Black Programming Consortium, and National Initiative to Preserve American Dance (NIPAD); the Newark Museum, Paul Robeson Award for best feature documentary of the decade, the San Francisco Black Film Festival and Black Filmmakers Hall of Fame,
James has been a panelist and consultant for the National Endowment for the Humanities (American Studies program), Pennsylvania and Illinois Humanities Councils, the Independent Television Service, and the KQED/Channel 9 Independent Initiative Advisory Board. James also served as three-term president and 15-year board member of the Film Arts Foundation and is a past governor at the National Academy of Television Arts and Sciences, Northern California chapter.