James is a director and screenwriter from Hereford, England. He is a graduate of the UK’s National Film & Television School (Directing Fiction MA) and known for writing and directing the short films Barry Glitter, The Car Washer and festival favourite Ferris & The Fancy Pigeon, which was shortlisted for Odeon’s ‘Best Short of the Year’ and won the Royal Television Society award for ‘Best Drama’ in 2017.
James’s debut feature film JELLYFISH premiered at Tribeca Film Festival in April 2018 and had its International premiere shortly after at Edinburgh International Film Festival, where it won the ‘Michael Powell Award’ for ‘Best Performance in a British Feature Film’. In September 2018 Jellyfish won the Grand Jury, Critic, Screenplay and inaugural Performance ‘Hitchcock’ awards at Dinard Film Festival. In October 2018 it won ‘Best Film’ at the 16th edition of Alice Nella Cittá (Rome Film Festival). In December 2018 Jellyfish won the ‘Golden Goats’ Grand Jury award for Best Film, as well as the ‘Marcin’ Youth Jury award for Best Film.
James likes skateboarding, currently lives in London and is in development of several TV and feature film projects, including ‘Magpie’ with Mindseye. He is represented by Independent Talent in the UK and Zero Gravity Management in the USA.
PRAISE FOR JAMES’ WORK ON JELLYFISH
Financial Times - 5* review
“Jellyfish is funny, touching and vividly memorable - a film that constantly defies expectations”
The Sun - 4* review
“A masterclass of representation and believability”
Evening Standard - 4* review
“Jellyfish — moving, provocative, often hilarious — is quite a debut. Gardner and Hill. Remember those names”
The Scotsman - 4* review
“Gardner eschews easy triumphalism by remaining true to his protagonist’s situation and using the film’s Margate setting to weave in a deft critique of the gentrification process turning a blind-eye to people like her.”
The Upcoming - 4* review
“Making his directorial debut, co-writer James Gardner presents Sarah’s mundane Margate misery in almost documentary-style tones: it’s lifeless, unromantic, which allows the fierce and fragile shades of his protagonist and the rest of the cast to shine through. The film has some humorous and harrowing frames and Gardner manages to handle them with brutal honesty and a powerful respect.”
Flicking Myth - 4* review
“This isn’t a movie that follows the cartoonish and uplifting underdog story template, but one that effectively follows a woman using creativity to explore what her place in the world might be. With Hill’s natural, potent performance at the centre of that narrative, Gardner is able to locate the heart of these characters and twist the emotional knife in just the right way.”