James Burns, 28, didn't go to film school. He spent time in solitary confinement at age six, and was later incarcerated at an adult facility in Colorado when he was still a minor, spending years in the criminal justice system. After his release, the feature film Jamesy Boy, starring Marry Louise Parker, James Woods, and Ving Rhymes, was made, based on his early life story. As a filmmaker, Burns' first short documentary, We Live This, took the Special Jury Mention at the 2015 Tribeca Film Festival. In his directorial feature debut, Revolving Doors, Burns explores a world he is all too familiar with, profiling three men in Baltimore at various stages of the criminal justice system.
Burns has been a spokesperson for the ACLU, profiled on programs like Huffington Post Live and Dr. Phill, and most recently began Producing his first documentary series for VICE entitled Crime Pays. He resides in Brooklyn, New York.