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Brian Oakes’ Documentary ‘Jim: The James Foley Story’ Centers on the Man Behind a Horrific and Indelible Image

"I felt I had a responsibility to him because I didn’t want anyone who didn’t know Jim to tell his story – that was really important for me."

Brian Oakes’ documentary Jim: The James Foley Story is a personal tale of the life of Oakes’ childhood friend, a freelance journalist who was infamously publicly executed by ISIS in 2014. Oakes uses interviews, news footage, and reenactments for his film, which premiered at Sundance this past weekend and will air on HBO on February 6th.

“If you know who Jim was, you see that image [of his execution] again and it takes on a completely different meaning,” Oakes tells realscreen from New York. “He’s no longer this symbol of what they made of him, but there’s a person behind that – a very special person who was doing really amazing things. I felt I had a responsibility to him because I didn’t want anyone who didn’t know Jim to tell his story – that was really important for me.”

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