HBO has acquired “Jim: The James Foley Story,” a documentary that chronicles the life, death and legacy of American frontline journalist James Foley who was kidnapped and killed by ISIS, sending shockwaves through the world in 2014.
The documentary from director Brian Oakes and Kundhardt Films will premiere in the U.S. documentary competition at the Sundance Film Festival, ahead of its Feb. 6 HBO airdate.
“James Foley is America’s son,” comments Sheila Nevins, president of HBO Documentary Films. “If this story doesn’t move you, nothing can.”
The story the doc will tell encompasses everything surrounding Foley’s haunting abduction and murder that made national headlines and introduced much of the world to ISIS when his infamous execution video was released in 2014, after he had been kidnapped in Syria on Thanksgiving Day 2012, going missing for two years. In the film, fellow hostages will reveal never-before-heard details of Foley’s captivity. Through interviews with his family, friends and fellow journalists, details of Foley’s life will be shared, chronicling a story of bravery, compassion and pain at the head of America’s war with ISIS.
For Oakes, a childhood friend of Foley, the doc marks his first solo-directed film.
“I made this film to carry on the stories that Jim needed us to know,” Oakes said. “It’s important that we understand the significant role of today’s conflict journalists and why they risk their lives to tell the world how bad it can be.”
Along with Oakes directing, the doc is produced by produced by Eva Lipman, George Kunhardt and Teddy Kunhardt, and exec produced by Peter Kunhardt who commented, “This film is the work of a talented team of young filmmakers. I am very proud of it, and pleased that HBO is once again our partner.”
“Jim: The James Foley Story” marks the tenth collaboration between the production company and HBO, following the Kundhardt-produced documentaries including “Nixon by Nixon: In His Own Words,” “Teddy: In His Own Words” and “Gloria: In Her Own Words.”
The film will also feature the original song “The Empty Chair” from J. Ralph and Sting.
HBO’s acquisition deal of the U.S. television rights was negotiated by Cinetic Media for Kunhardt Films.