Jim Steele has been in the film business for 30 years. His first job in Hollywood was at Hemdale Films in 1988 as a Director of Business Affairs & International Sales. At Hemdale, he was involved in films including: “Last Emperor,” “Platoon,” “At Close Range,” “Terminator” and many others.
In 1990, he left Hemdale to run Paul Bartel’s North Street Films where he was involved in films including “Scenes from A Class Struggle in Beverly Hills” and the “Life and Death of Andy Warhol” with Gus Van Sant.
In 1991 Steele co-produced “Made In The USSR” (starring Frank Whaley and Roman Polanski). “Made In The USSR” was the first Hollywood film shot in Russia following the collapse of the Soviet Union.
In 1992, he joined Working Title Films as VP Production & Acquisitions. At Working Title, he was involved in films including: “Four Weddings & A Funeral,” “Romeo Is Bleeding,” “Bob Roberts” and “Map of The Human Heart.” He then produced Working Title’s black western “Posse” directed by Mario Van Peebles.
In 1994, he co-produced “Love & A 45” with Renee Zelwigger.
In 1995, Steele joined Live Entertainment / Artisan as Sr. VP Production and Acquisitions where he was involved in films including: “Bad Lieutenant,” “Reservoir Dogs,” “Killing Zoe,” “Little Odessa,” “Usual Suspects,” “Trees Lounge” and many others. Steele also produced Mark Anthony & Tom Berenger’s “The Substitute” and the Charlie Sheen sci-FYI “The Arrival” and “Café Society” directed by Raymond DeFelitta.
In 2000 Steele was hired as president of Internet film company ShowBizData.com. At ShowBizdata Steele produced and acquired over 300 hours of web TV and created partnerships with Sundance Film Festival the Cannes Film Market, Yahoo and Microsoft. A highlight of this work was the staging of multimedia exhibits at the Cannes Film Festival and Sundance in 2000 & 2001. The exhibits received international media attention and established Steele as a pioneer in digital cinema and large screen electronic distribution.
In 2002, Steele built the world’s first digital cinema network with partner Microsoft. The network connected 45 of the top art houses in America with digital cinema infrastructure designed by Steele’s company Digital Cinema Solutions (DCS). From 2002 and 2005, DCS digitally distributed over 50 films theatrically including: “BMW Film shorts,” “Standing In The Shadows of Motown,” “Saraband,” “Step Into Liquid,” “Russian Ark,” “Fog Of War.” DCS partners included: Sony Classics, Lions Gate, Magnolia, Paramount Classics and many others.
In 2005, Steele sold DCS and started Filmray, Inc. One of Filmray’s first clients was Mark Cuban’s Landmark Theatres. In 2005, Steele oversaw Landmark’s first digital cinema deployments launched with Steven Soderberg’s film Bubble. Bubble made history as the first film released on DVD and in theaters simultaneously. A partial list of other Filmray clients include Warner Bros., 20th Century Fox, New Line Cinemas, Qube Cinemas, Living Room Theatres, Panasonic, Sony, Microsoft, Intel, AMD, First Look Films; Y&R and others.
In 2007 to 2010 Steele was contracted by Indian conglomerate Reliance (partner of DreamWorks Entertainment) to build a digital cinema infrastructure and help advise on their overall US and European cinema exhibition strategy. This included advising Reliance in the purchase of 200+ screens in the United States and overseeing the build-out of a fiber based content delivery network (CDN) from Mumbai India to Europe and the United States which was integrated into their other digital platforms.
In 2011 Steele Executive Produced the critically acclaimed Russian film “Generation P” which premiered at Lincoln Center and MOMA prior to being released in the United States in 2012 and which the Huffington Post called one of the top films of 2012.
In 2012 Steele was invited to Russia to consult on a film finance initiative and subsequently became involved as an Executive Producer on “Empire V” a Russian/German co-production based on best-selling Russian author Victor Pelevin’s novel being co-produced by Studio Babelsberg (Inglorious Bastards, Annonymous).
Steele is a senior consultant and board member of Global Cinema Initiatives a blended debt & equity TV & film fund based out of India. He has a number of film and TV shows in various stages of development including the TV series “RITZ” with Alan Gasmer (“Vikings”); “Berlin Untitled” with Ed Zwick (“Last Samurai,” “30 Something”); “The Vatican Connection” being directed by Michael Winterbottom; “The Best of Enemies” with director Donald Petrie (“Miss Congeniality”), “Dognapped” being directed by Dennis Duggan (“Grown Ups,” “Happy Gilmore”) and produced by Rob Minkoff (“Lion King,” “Stuart Little”) and “2:18” with Uli Edel (Oscar Nominated for Baader Meinhof).
Steele graduated from New York University and has spoken at panels and seminars around the world on film finance and digital distribution.