Marsh, James: Director of Man on Wire

“Man on Wire” is James Marshs third feature film.

After graduating from Oxford University, Marsh worked as a researcher and then a director for the BBC. His breakthrough documentary, Troubleman, (1994) chronicled the last years of soul singer Marvin Gaye and his murder at the hands of his father, a fundamentalist preacher and occasional transvestite.

This was followed by “The Burger and the King” (1996), a documentary about Elvis Presley’s bizarre eating habits as told by those who cooked for him at Graceland. The Burger and the King screened at the Montreal and Chicago film festivals and garnered many awards, including Best Documentary from the Royal Television Society.

In 1998, Marsh’s documentary profile of Velvet Underground member John Cale earned Marsh a BAFTA award in Wales for Best Music Documentary.

In 1999, Marsh completed work on “Wisconsin Death Trip,” a dramatized documentary about a small town in Wisconsin blighted by outbreaks of suicide, murder and insanity in the 1890s. Marsh won his second BAFTA award for the film along with his second Best Documentary prize from The Royal Television Society. The film was a selected entry at the Telluride and Venice film festivals and won the FIPRESCI prize at the San Sebastian film festival. It was also theatrically released in the UK and the US where it played at art house cinemas for over two years.

Marshs first dramatic feature “The King,” was co-written with Oscar nominated screenwriter, Milo Addica. “The King” was an Official Selection at the Cannes Film Festival in 2005. A tale of jealousy and revenge set in a born-again Christian community in Texas, the film stars Gael Garcia Bernal and William Hurt.

It was released theatrically worldwide in the spring of 2006. Marsh was nominated for a Gotham Award as Breakthrough Director and the film won Best American feature at the Philadelphia film festival.

In the summer of 2003, Marsh photographed, directed and edited the observational documentary, The Team, in collaboration with New York based filmmaker Basia Winograd. Made for the BBC, the film charts the efforts of a group of homeless men in New York City to organize a soccer team to compete in the inaugural Homeless World Cup in Graz, Austria.