Interview: Brian Oakes

19/08/14: brutal images of photojournalist James Wright Foley, murdered by Mohammed Emwazi, spread like wildfire across the globe, defining a watershed moment in the rise of Isis and their place in a sickened global consciousness. But that did not define the man. Director Brian Oakes paints a deeply moving, intimate portrait of his childhood friend in Jim: The James Foley Story to reclaim his life from death. He sat down with CineVue’s Matthew Anderson to discuss legacy, family, the crucial role of conflict journalism and humanity even in the most dire of circumstances.


Matthew Anderson: Was Jim always a thrill-seeker?

Brian Oakes: Definitely. I’d known him since we were seven and we got into some trouble when we were teenagers as we all do. But Jim definitely had that gene, the one ingredient of our personality that pushes the limits of what you can do. When you get older that mentality transfers into maturity. It’s not recklessness but a physical courage of going the extra mile, the extra distance to experience something a little bit more intense. He definitely had that. That’s one of the ingredients a combat journalist needs, a physical courage and a sense of humanity to go to the frontline. Not a lot of people could do it.

Jim: The James Foley Story is in cinemas from 2nd September – read the review and full interview with Brian here.