Award-winning Filmmaker & Distinguished Scholar
Los Angeles Review of Books Essay on Filmmaking and The Art of Dissent
I make feature documentary movies and write scripts and books about ideas, culture, politics and art.
With a historian’s gaze and cameraman’s eyes, I work outside the box.
As a filmmaker, I write scripts, use cinema and DSLR cameras professionally and edit my first drafts. I come to film with 30 years in academia. Doing most of the elements of filmmaking myself, allows me to exercise greater control over the creative process.
I am happiest being behind the camera interviewing, checking lights and sound, as I ask questions based on extensive historical research. The freedom and authentic craftsmanship of doing my own work is exhilarating. Add to that the excitement of collaborating with brilliant development, production, and post-production teams, and I cannot image a better of bringing my hybrid’s advantages to the public.
But storytelling is more than words. It’s music, song, struggle and how the artists on creative team respond to the call.
As a historian, I’m interested engaging with the public.
Over the past 20 years, my works have been praised internationally in publications including The New Republic, Libération (Paris), The Village Voice, The New York Review of Books, The Chronicle of Higher Education and in every major historical journal. I have written for Foreign Affairs, The Walrus and The Chronicle of Higher Education, and many other public forums. I spoke as the expert on France and terrorism at the National Press Club after the Charlie Hebdo terrorist attacks in France. I given invited lectures around the world, been interviewed numerous times, and have taught seminars on asymmetric warfare at The United States Military Academy, West Point.
I am also the founding editor of the France Overseas series at the University of Nebraska Press.
An Evolving Career :
professional photographer to historian
I enjoy photographing people in motion, the arts
I was first trained as a professional photographer. I became a history professor after I received my BA from the University of Montana and my MA and PhD in intellectual history from the University of Chicago. A professor at the University of Nebraska, Lincoln, I hold the Samuel Clark Waugh Distinguished Professorship of International Relations and serve as Chair the Department of History, where I teach history and filmmaking for historians. In 2002, I was elected to a life-honor of being Senior Associate Member of St Antony’s College, Oxford.
As expert on terrorism and colonial history, I write about the end of the European empires anticolonialism and postcolonialism. One of my favorite essays on France and Algeria is Albert Camus and the Anticolonials: Why Camus Wouldn’t Play a Zero Sum Game, and I recently published an essay in Los Angles Review of Books about my decision to move into the domain of filmmaking.
I am currently writing a trade book on the history of twentieth century decolonization.
The Art of Dissent, which is co-produced by NUtech Ventures and Czech TV in Prague, is my first feature film. I created a film company , Fox Hollow Films, which along with FRMOL Productions, Czech TV, NUtech Ventures, produced The Art of Dissent. I have new films and docuseries in development.
I am the fist person in my family to go to college and take nothing for granted. I love having one foot in the film and art worlds and the other in a major research university. It’s the best of all possible worlds. As a First Gen faculty member, I consider teaching one of society’s highest callings.
Films in Development
I am directing three new films and have a docuseries planned. The next movie, Four Seasons of COVID is currently underway. I’m partnering again with Susan Pahlke (JD) on this film. which explores the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on Nebraska. Susan and I are also working together on Before September (in development with filming and researching), which explores terrorism in the United States before 9/11 and focuses on its impact on American society, politics and culture.
The Peril of Dissent, has been in development for 15 years. I’ve filmed over 40 interviews and plan to complete filming in Europe and North American in Summer 2021 with Susan Pahlke. In Autumn 2022, we will begin production.
Current Book Project
For the past 20 years, I have been writing and researching a book that explores the global history of twentieth-century nationalist movements. For this book, I’ve conducted research in over 50 archives scattered across the world – in Cape Town, Hyderabad, Pondicherry, Goa, Pretoria, North Africa, the United States, England, France, Germany and the Czech Republic. I have a title that will revealed after we announce our publishing plans.
Book literary agent is Joëlle Delbourgo at Joëlle Delbourgo Associates.
Fox Hollow Films on Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/foxhollowfilmsdirector/?modal=admin_todo_tour
The Art of Dissent on Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/theartofdissentfilm/?modal=admin_todo_tour
Books and Critical Works
Select Media Interviews with me: Jonathan Judenken @ Counterpoint Philip Weiss @ Mondoweiss WNYC on Mouloud Feraoun Illinois Public Radio: On Algeria
My Videos and Interviews Available to the Public
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Get in Touch
On Facebook @jamesdeanlesueur
Send Me a Message
At my home in Nebraska.