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Filmmaker Archive

The Filmmaker Four: Julia Morrison and James E. Duff

By May 30, 2022May 2nd, 2024No Comments

Julia and James are a filmmaking duo based in the heart of New York City. Their narrative feature film debut, “Hank and Asha,” won the Audience Award at the Slamdance Film Festival. It went on to screen at more than 50 international film festivals, including BIFF where it won the Audience Award, and is distributed by FilmRise. The LA Times called it “Uniquely captivating … lively, adorable, and thoroughly winning!” Their short film “HAPPY,” screened at BIFF 2021, and other work has been seen on PBS, Discovery Channel, and New York Times Television. As a team they were Artists-in-Residence at Yaddo, in Saratoga Springs, NY, and teach at Prague Film School in the Czech Republic. They share a love of traveling, cooking, and laughter yoga.

Their film, “Cussin’ Cabin“, is part of BIFF 2022.

What was your first experience on a film set?

Julia: I went to college planning to be a theater major but didn’t get cast in anything, until I got cast as the lead in a student film. The process had me spellbound. Until that experience filmmaking had always seemed so out of reach, something that only happened in Hollywood. My acting career was short-lived, but that’s when the filmmaking door opened and I never looked back.

James: As a student, I managed to get a job in the art department on Oliver Stone’s “JFK.” On the second day, I accidentally stood in the shot and the best AC in the business let me have it in front of the whole crew. ‘Do you see the lens? It can see you!’

What was the first film you directed/wrote?

The first film we made together was the feature film, “Hank and Asha,” which screened at BIFF 2014 and won the Audience Award. An Indian woman studying in Prague and a lonely New Yorker begin an unconventional correspondence through video letters – two strangers searching for human connection in a hyper-connected world. When their relationship deepens, they must decide whether or not to meet face to face. “Hank and Asha” is a film about identity, longing, and the irresistible appeal of entertaining life’s what-ifs. Currently streaming on Amazon Prime!

Who is your favorite filmmaker?

The filmmaker who brought us together is the Irish film director, John Carney. When Julia found out that James had seen the movie “Once” in the movie theater four times, she was smitten. Julia walked down the aisle to their favorite song from the film, “Falling Slowly.”

What are you working on that no one knows about?

We are currently in pre-production on a feature film that we’re shooting this fall, in another collaboration with our partner from Cussin’ Cabin, Amelia Martin. It’s about a bunch of badass mountain women making moonshine in the mountains of North Carolina. Ask us about it!