HBO acquires rights to documentary Jim: The James Foley Story, debuting Feb. 6

HBO acquires rights to documentary Jim: The James Foley Story, debuting Feb. 6
Yareah Magazine




Film To Premiere In U.S. Documentary Competition At

Sundance Film Festival Prior To Feb. 6 Debut On HBO


            NEW YORK, Jan. 5, 2016 – HBO Documentary Films has acquired the U.S. TV rights to Brian Oakes’ powerful documentary JIM: THE JAMES FOLEY STORY, about the life, death and legacy of journalist James Foley, who was murdered by ISIS in 2014, it was announced today. The film will have its world premiere in the U.S. Documentary Competition of the upcoming Sundance Film Festival, and will debut SATURDAY, FEB. 6 on HBO.

Directed by Brian Oakes, the film is produced by Eva Lipman, George Kunhardt and Teddy Kunhardt and executive produced by Peter Kunhardt. The deal was negotiated with HBO by Cinetic Media on behalf of Kunhardt Films, the award-winning production company that produced the documentary. JIM: THE JAMES FOLEY STORY marks the tenth collaboration between HBO and Kunhardt Films, following documentaries such as “Nixon by Nixon: In His Own Words,” “Teddy: In His Own Words” and “Gloria: In Her Own Words.”

On Thanksgiving Day 2012, American photojournalist James “Jim” Foley was kidnapped in Syria and went missing for two years before the infamous video of his public execution sent shockwaves and introduced much of the world to ISIS. JIM: THE JAMES FOLEY STORY, by close childhood friend Brian Oakes, tells the story of his life through intimate interviews with his family, friends and fellow journalists – while fellow hostages reveal never-before-heard details of his captivity with a chilling immediacy that builds suspense. Made with unparalleled access, JIM: THE JAMES FOLEY STORY is a harrowing chronicle of bravery, compassion and pain at the dawn of America’s war with ISIS.

“James Foley is America’s son,” comments Sheila Nevins, president, HBO Documentary Films. “If this story doesn’t move you, nothing can.”

“I made this film to carry on the stories that Jim needed us to know,” says director Brian Oakes. “It’s important that we understand the significant role of today’s conflict journalists and why they risk their lives to tell the world how bad it can be.”

“This film is the work of a talented team of young filmmakers,” notes executive producer Peter Kunhardt. “I am very proud of it, and pleased that HBO is once again our partner.”

The film will include the original song “The Empty Chair,” by Academy Award®-nominated artists J. Ralph and Sting.


Brooklyn-based Brian Oakes began his career in film as a designer creating unique visual solutions for film, television, interactive and environmental spaces. He started by designing graphics for the 2006 Sundance Film Festival hit “Wordplay,” about New York Times crossword puzzle editor Will Shortz, before moving on to such films as “I.O.U.S.A.,” “Freakonomics” and, most recently, “Inequality for All.” He first worked with Kunhardt films designing the graphics for “African American Lives”; after several projects, he eventually co-directed “Living with Lincoln” with Peter Kunhardt, which aired on HBO in 2015. JIM: THE JAMES FOLEY STORY is the first film he has directed solo.


Home Box Office, Inc. is the premium television programming subsidiary of Time Warner Inc. and the world’s most successful pay TV service, providing the two television services – HBO® and Cinemax® – to approximately 122 million subscribers worldwide. The services offer the popular subscription video-on-demand products HBO On Demand® and Cinemax On Demand®, as well as HBO GO® and MAX GO®, HD feeds and multiplex channels. HBO NOW, the network’s internet-only premium streaming service, provides audiences with instant access to HBO’s acclaimed programming in the U.S. Internationally, HBO branded television networks, along with the subscription video-on-demand products HBO On Demand and HBO GO, bring HBO services to over 60 countries. HBO and Cinemax programming is sold in over 150 countries worldwide.

HBO Documentary Films offers a full spectrum of stellar, non-fiction programming by acclaimed documentary filmmakers. Its powerful, uncompromising and critically acclaimed programming has won virtually every award within the documentary genre.


Kunhardt Films produces documentaries about people and ideas that shape our world. Peter Kunhardt founded Kunhardt Films in 1987, and now runs the company with his two sons, Teddy and George. Their most recent film, “Living with Lincoln,” aired on HBO in April 2015. Past productions include the Emmy®-nominated “Nixon by Nixon: In His Own Words” (HBO, 2014); “Finding Your Roots,” seasons 1-3 (PBS, 10 hours), “The African Americans: Many Rivers to Cross” (PBS, 6 hours, Emmy®, Peabody and DuPont winner); the Emmy®-nominated “Gloria: In Her Own Words” (HBO, 2011); “This Emotional Life” (PBS, 6 hours, 2010); and the Emmy® winners, “Teddy: In His Own Words” (HBO, 2009,) and “JFK: In His Own Words” (HBO, 1989). Kunhardt Films is located in Pleasantville, NY.

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