James Hastings found his love for cinema whilst discovering, for the first time, the filmmaker that continues to inspire him to this day; Steven Spielberg. Immersed in the shocking realism of Schindler’s List at school, James spent the following week studying Spielberg’s entire filmography which ultimately led to his irrefutable passion for filmmaking.
INTO THE DEEP END
Having spent the next year studying his craft, borrowing his sisters camera to shoot and edit a short film every week, sometimes more; in the house, in the garden, down the street! Tackling the struggle of being a one man shooter, he learnt invaluable skills whilst making his own short films. He soon upgraded his cast and crew to family and friends, directing his first 'official' short, crime drama 12 Hours, at aged 15.
However, it was his next project that would really test his spirit and love for the business. In 2015, he jumped into the deep end and wrote/ directed a one hour psychological thriller White Dreams, with around 100 people involved (cast, crew and extras).
Just like Spielberg did at the age of 15, he held a premiere screening at a local cinema, selling around 200 tickets to fund his next film.
James sets up his independent film production company 'Hastings Infinity Films'.
Currently used as a header company for all
projects; including films, freelance work and
In 2016, James made a short feel-good drama The Distance, which debut at the Cannes Short Film Corner. At aged 16, accompanied by his lead actor, James flew to Cannes as one of the youngest filmmakers, and was deluged by the chaos the festival had to offer.
He also worked on various short film projects, including drama
From here, he set about developing his first Feature Film...
Funded by an ambitious Kickstarter campaign, receiving £10,000, James directed his first feature, a light hearted dramedy about a man's voyage of self-discovery with 30 days left to live and 5 relationships to make right.
Shot over 30 days around the UK, with a small crew, Raymond's 5 landed a spot on Amazon Prime. Having written the screenplay at 16, and directing it during his A Level studies, the film was praised for its high production value, whilst made on a small budget. Proving his hard work learning every aspect of the process had paid off.
He also directed an experimental short film Make It Stop! on location in Iceland, which went on to be selected at numerous international festivals.
young filmmaker award
James won the Inspiring Young Filmmaker Award at the 2017 Global Youth Awards held by Roundtable Global in London (James is now a Global Youth Ambassador). At this event, he met producers 'Steve Eggleston' and 'Dana Amma Day' from Hummingbird Motion Pictures, who are now producing James' upcoming feature film 'Jim's Private War'.
He also directed short sci-fi drama Men of Justice which went on to win first place at a film competition held at the London IMAX. On top of this, he collaborated with film students at College and won a competition for their short film competing against 500 other shorts. Winners were announced at the BFI in London.
Following the large scale of 'Raymond's 5', James decided to continue to develop his style as a filmmaker with more short films. He wrote/directed an award-winning inspiring Christmas tale, which was released just in time for Christmas in 2018.
He started his freelance videography business, working on various projects; events, music videos, promo videos etc. Clients include Toy Soldier Productions filming at Abby Road Studios, All Together Now Performing Arts and Soulscape Charity.
Off the Coast
The hugely ambitious, yet intimate tale Off the Coast. Set in the 60's, this film focuses on love and loss at a remote fantasy island. The film went on to screen at numerous festivals and strengthened James' style as a filmmaker, whilst continuing to advance his directorial skills, working and managing a larger cast and crew.
'Off the Coast'
Cast & Crew
During the 2020 Global Pandemic, James stayed busy writing for numerous projects, as well as (when it was safe enough to do so) work on films. One of which was Send in the Clowns dir. by Ben Ashton (James as Dop & Co-Producer) which went on to win film funding at KINO London. He also DP'd short film Forget Me Not dir. by Polly Coombes (to be released).
James wrote/directed a Western Short Film Slightly Red Handed inspired by the likes of Leone, Tarantino and the Coen Brothers. The film has been selected at many festivals worldwide and continues to relish in its online release.
2021 - 22
JIM'S PRIVATE WAR
As the future of our world and our industry bears unfathomable mysteries, James continues to aspire to the goal he's always been striving towards since the day he discovered his love for cinema 'inspiring others through film'.
James is now in Development with Hummingbird Motion Pictures on his next feature film Jim's Private War. The true story of a 14 year old boy, growing up in the second World War and his heroic determination to build an aircraft with the intention of flying to Berlin and single-handedly taking on Hitler!