Screened as part of NZIFF 2016
You probably already know the story of the death of James Foley, the American journalist kidnapped in Syria, imprisoned then beheaded by ISIS in 2014. The video of his execution released by the killers became as ubiquitous an announcement in Western media as they had intended.
“Brian Oakes’ film is an attempt to highlight the human being behind the appalling news story: the ardent, energetic, and above all compassionate journalist and person he was. Jim is divided roughly into two parts. The first is a fairly breezy chronicle of Foley’s upbringing, including his time as an increasingly dissatisfied Teach For America instructor. He was bitten by the foreign-correspondent bug when he was an embedded journalist in Iraq in 2009, and decided to commit his life to journalism through stints in Libya and Syria. The second half homes in on Foley’s imprisonment in Syria, with many of his fellow prisoners offering anecdotes about his actions, behaviour, and overall humane and optimistic spirit… It’s a deeply moving testament to a man who dared to face the worst of humanity and somehow managed to maintain his sense of empathy in spite of it all.” — Kenji Fujishima, AV Club