Full Synopsis Director’s Statement

Director's Statement

Books of James is a film about the personal and the political.  Being both intimately revealing and universally relevant, the film illustrates the coming of age story of an artist, and at the same time documenting the history of the AIDS crisis and activism in America and beyond.

In its previous 16-minute form, Books of James was a critically acclaimed work that garnered the 2004 Grand Marnier Video Fellowship awarded by the Film Society of the Lincoln Center.

Eight years in the making, Books of James tells a personal story from the point of view of an everyman.  So often the personal is political, the story and footage of James serves to illustrate the capacity in all of us to make a difference in our surroundings.  With the diminishing enthusiasm in the political and social actions today, AIDS activism has retreated into the background even though AIDS remains a devastating illness all over the world.  It is my hope that Books of James will generate continual discourses and interventions, while providing the audience to glimpses of a life fully lived.

In approaching such an urgent story, I am relying on the openness and richness in the materials, much alike the mild-mannered but fascinating character that I have come to know, to speak in their own terms.  I have chosen an non-directive approach to narrate the art and art of James, in hope that the audience will take on roles as participants to experience this important but forgotten history in our recent past.

Ho Tam