Film director and writer
Originally trained in graphic designing, his creative skills has led film director and writer James Lee to traverse far on the reel roads. He ventured into video filmmaking after he began acting and directing theatre plays, and has appeared in Amir Muhammad’s Lips to Lips and played the estranged father in Liew Seng Tat’s award-winning Flower in The Pocket.
His on-stage directing experience includes Love Poems and The Dumb Waiter which was part of the Director’s Workshop conducted by Five Arts Centre and Actors Studio Theatre. He also directed Changi and Betrayal in 2007. In 2010, he directed a dance theatre piece Kwang Tung Dance Group “On Anxiety”.
In 2001 he directed his first feature film, Snipers, followed by Ah Beng Returns in the same year. His film Beautiful Washing Machine won the Best Asean Feature Award and FIPRESCI Prize (International Federation of Film Critics) in the 2005 Bangkok International Film Festival. The movie also received rave reviews from The Village Voice and Variety. He also won the Best Asean Feature again at the Bangkok International Film Festival with his love trilogy Before We Fall in Love Again.
James Lee’s first horror Malay movie Histeria released in 2008 turned out to be a success. His independent film Call If You Need Me won the Digital Silver Award at the 33rd Hong Kong International Film Festival in 2009. He also worked as a director of photography for independent shorts and features, including two award-winning works, Tan Chui Mui’s Love Conquers All and Azharr Rudin’s Majidee.
France focused on the Malaysian director on the ninth edition of the Deauville Asian Film Festival 2007 to acknowledge his status as one of the pioneer digital filmmakers in the region. This was the first time that a French festival devoted such a focus to a Malaysian filmmaker.
In 2010 he completed two more Malay commercial films, a horror anthology Here Got Ghost and a romantic horror comedy Help! My Girlfriend is a Vampire! James Lee had also filmed a slasher thriller Claypot Curry Killers, an action-packed movie The Collector and a period kung-fu comedy Petaling Street Warriors. His last movie If It’s Not Now, Then When which tells a story of family dissolution was released in 2012.
And in November 2011 James Lee was invited to head the NETPAC (Network for the Promotion of Asian Cinema) jury award at the Taipei Golden Horse Film Festival.