HBO's 'Jim' tells the backstory of murdered journalist James Foley
Brian Oakes makes his directorial debut with "Jim: The James Foley Story," a documentary that explores the intersection of terrorism and conflict journalism through the life of his childhood friend.
Brian Oakes makes his directorial debut with "Jim: The James Foley Story," a documentary that explores the intersection of terrorism and conflict journalism through the life of James Foley. The film received the Audience Award for a U.S. Documentary at the Sundance Film Festival, and it will premiere on HBO this month.
The Islamic State group released a video in August, 2014 of Foley's beheading. In the video, Foley is shown kneeling in the desert with his head shaved and wearing an orange jumpsuit. His captor stands over him clad all in black with his face covered. The captor's strong British accent suggested that he was recruited from the U.K.
Foley had been a war correspondent stationed in Syria to cover the country's civil war when he was captured in November, 2012. Before his murder, he was forced to read a statement blaming U.S. airstrikes in the Middle East for his death.
The graphic video's release ramped up Western attention to the crisis in the Middle East and the development of the militant Islamic group, especially its ability to recruit internationally.
In making his documentary, Brian Oakes wanted to repurpose the images of his childhood schoolmate's last moments. To Oakes and the journalists that Foley worked with, James was "Jim" — a friend who was passionate about his work. The film reveals who Foley was before that fateful day, and tracks how he ended up there.
The Frame's John Horn met with director Brian Oakes at the Sundance Film Festival to talk about the film and how Oakes remembered Foley.