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, Fotogramas and FilmInk Australia.
Ain’t it Cool News raved that his adaptation of Followed, based on the short story from Hugo Award winner Will McIntosh, “[is] directed with a delicate and gentle hand…the most unexpected horror surprise seen in quite a while.” In addition to scripted work, he has produced non-fiction work overseas. Film Threat said that his study abroad profile Di Passaggio “captures all the imperfections of group travel in a foreign country, boiled down to the authentically naive reactions…[and] innocent perceptions of the world.”
Just in time for his twenty-fifth birthday, he wrapped production on Desires of the Heart, an international crossover film from writer/producer/executive producer Solila Parida (Vishkanya). Dr. Kris Sharma (Val Lauren, The Last Knights, Interior. Leather Bar., Sal) is a psychiatrist from India practicing in Savannah, Georgia when he meets Madeline (Alicia Minshew, “All My Children”), a local artist with a mysterious past. As their relationship begins to blossom in America, Kris is summoned home by his brother (Gulshan Grover, I Am Kalam) to marry the woman chosen by his parents. But as he begins to make decisions about his future, he discovers centuries old secrets that may seal the fate of his destiny. Principal photography took place in Savannah and Bikaner, India. In October 2013, the film won Best Foreign Feature Film at the LA Femme Film Festival in Los Angeles.
He will next direct and co-write the biopic about legendary college football coach Erk Russell with producers Beau Turpin (Counterpunch), Catherine Paura (Joyful Noise), and Executive Producer Richard Saperstein (Se7en, The Mist).
Outside of entertainment production, Kicklighter produced the “I AM NSLC” campaign for the National Student Leadership Conference, interviewing distinguished alumni employed by companies such as ABC News, Harvard University, and Gallup, Inc. He also works with In True Fashion, the non-profit side of JAMAH, whose leather handbags have been spotlighted by Vogue and carried by Brad Pitt, Angelina Jolie, and Jessica Alba. The Los Angeles-based program builds self-esteem and work ethic in low-income students.
Profiled in the National Edition of Examiner.com’s “Top CEO’s Under 25″ series, he was a screener for the 2009 International Documentary Association’s Distinguished Feature Award. He serves on the Advisory Board for the Department of Communication Arts at Georgia Southern University, his alma mater.