Director Brian Oakes tells the life story and legacy of childhood friend, James Foley, an American journalist beheaded by ISIL in August 2014 in “Jim: The James Foley Story.” Oakes caught up with FOX411 at the Sundance Film Festival, where the movie premiered.
Oakes, who had been friends with Foley since the first grade, said he decided to make the film to combat some of the inaccuracies he had heard about his friend.
“There were a lot of things I was reading in the press and sensationalistic headlines and seeing the image of James Foley being used for different kinds of motivations, I felt uncomfortable with,” he said. “You get very protective of your loved ones and friends and family with stories and legacies they leave behind.”
Foley was covering the Syrian Civil War in 2012 when he was abducted and after he was tortured and confined for two years was killed in 2014 by Islamic State radicals.
Oakes wanted the world to know more about his friend.
“I felt a responsibility for Jim and his family and friends to shed light on who he was because I think it was important and I wanted to re-contextualize that image that the world has known,” he said. “And once you do know the person he was, the journalist he was, the stories he was telling—that image takes on a completely different meaning.”
Throughout the film, family members, friends and colleagues reminisce and treasure the moments spent with Foley.
“The message from the film, from Jim’s point of view, is cherish your friends and be a better human being; it’s as simple as that,” he explained. “And I hope that when people see that side of him, his flaws and his mistakes, but then his humanity and the way he carried himself—you are forced to look in the mirror and kind of see what you are doing with your life.”
Sting, who has a song in the documentary, was also in attendance at the Sundance Film Festival to perform and show his support for Foley.
“Jim: The James Foley Story” airs February 6th on HBO.
You can follow Blanche Johnson on Twitter @blancheFOXLA.