Independent Writer/Producer: James has been working in film since the early 90s having previously written his first screenplay in 1988. In 1991 he moved to San Francisco to study film with a friend at San Francisco State. After a short time there and being involved in the indie film scene that existed in San Francisco, he and his partner chose to step away from school and focus on filmmaking. This effort ultimately lead to the formation of IIE an independent production company. Later the team that started out indie moved towards the direction of producing studio films, ultimately taking offices in the historic Marx Brothers Bldg on the RKO (indie) side of Paramout Studios in 2011. In 2012, after obtaining their distribution, they moved from the lot to once again step into production and expand their network of distribution platforms. IMDb James Duval here
I was asked to write an introduction of myself for this website. I think the best thing I can do is write about what made me want to become a filmmaker. When I was twelve I suffered from extreme depression, a very common thing I now understand. It was a difficult time. I felt isolated and alone. I felt I had nothing in common with those around me. I saw the world and felt about the world differently. It was when I saw Lawrence of Arabia, I felt I had found someone like myself. Someone who had done amazing things despite not being like everyone else. Many scenes in the film became very important to me. I even learned to do the match “trick,” and trust me, there is no trick. You just cannot care that it hurts. Now as young people are prone to do, I did take things a little far. Fortunately my parents knew when to and when not to intercede.
I took this inspiration and began to read ravenously, which, by the way, is easy in the winter in Alaska without a TV in the house. I read everything I could get my hands on. Then I began to write. I loved writing. I loved writing about people in difficult situations rising to accomplish great things.
Then the dream of making movies hit and it hit hard. It was the early to mid 70s and I knew no one in Fairbanks with a film or the rare video camera. I think video cameras existed then. I can’t remember. My dream had to remain dormant and buried. I graduated from high school and decided to serve a LDS mission. I was then sent to Southern California/ I served in the Studio City, North Hollywood, Burbank areas - movie town USA. I fell in love with California.
My mission ended and I had to go home, back to family obligations and a responsible life. Once again the universe put me back into the world of film. I ended up under a set of bizarre circumstances owning a small chain of video stores. It had the largest collection of “older films” in the entire state. I was hooked again.
I made the decision to move back to California and that is where it all went dark. For me lying is the most harmful thing a human being can do. It is the foundation of all other human evils. It changes the course of people’s lives, it puts them into harm’s way. We see this all the time now with texting, Facebook and the Internet; a world where you make up anything without consequences. I entered a period of my life that can only be referred to as an existential hell. But oddly enough the universe had other plans. I met a theater instructor who showed a few others and me a film that had been done for $200. This film beat out films done for over 30 to 50K in competition. It was then I realized that everything I thought about filmmaking was wrong. I realized I could make movies. Next the universe brought a friend into my life that had successfully written and directed films in Hollywood. I learned to then tell my stories in the form of screenplays.
In 1991 I made the decision to move to San Francisco and go to film school. I was older than the rest of the kids on campus and a little more experienced, I think. It did not take me long to figure out making movies was the way for me to learn. I then gathered around me a few other wannabe filmmakers. I presented a script. It was then the real journey began.
I don’t know if I am good at this or not. I do know get films done and I have surrounded myself with the best human beings on the planet, who also happen to be great filmmakers. All I know is, I love to create. I love to help others create.
This is my story in its most basic form. My point is, movies make people’s lives better. Movies have made my life better.
- James Duval -
Mano A Mano: coming 2015