Documentarian James McConnell had the very good fortune of working with two of America's foremost non-fiction filmmakers, Albert Maysles and his brother David (1932-1987) who are recognized as pioneers of "direct cinema," the distinctly American version of French "cinema verité." They earned their distinguished reputations by being the first to make non-fiction feature films- films in which the drama of human life unfolds as is, without scripts, sets, or narration.

While at Maysles Films McConnell corroborated with Joe Berlinger on several artistic and commercial projects. Berlinger was just one of many young filmmakers who got their start at Masyles Films and then went on to achieve their own fortune and fame. Joe Berlinger, in collaboration with Bruce Sinofsky (another young filmmaker who owes his start to Maysles Films), has created such films as Paradise Lost about the West Memphis 3, Brother's Keeper, Some Kind of Monster, and Crude.

McConnell began developing his skills as a documentarian at Financial News Network in 1984 at the Wall Street studios where he worked as a studio floor manager, live camera operator and ENG production assistant. FNN provided a strong training ground for developing his craft.

McConnell went on to work with director Sean Hobin on independent productions focusing their early efforts on several corporate sales videos.

Soon after McConnell entered the music video industry by joining Picture Music International in their New York office. PMI was responsible for pioneering many of the first successful music videos of the day including The Cars, Michael Jackson, Billy Idol, Robert Palmer and more.

McConnell expanded his client base and began working with some of New York's top film production companies including, Maysles Films, Ross Gafney, Androzzi Tobach, Michael Grasso Productions, Peter Heath & Associates, Foote Cone & Belding, Michael Eha & Associates, Overview Productions, Ponytail Productions and others.

Work includes: Chevrolet Camero, Welches Grape Drink, Ms. Pac Man Cereal, Mercury Merkur, Sony, WPIX Channel 11, ABC News, Regis Philbin Show, Signet Bank, Wendy’s, MacDonald’s, Diet 7up, Columbia Coffee, Weichert Realtor & More.

McConnell is credited with being the first to conceptualize a newly developed program format that help lead to the all-new genre of Reality Television.  The program McConnell originally proposed was a REALITY program focused on human interest, not the freakish reality television we see today. With signed contracts to develop the program with Broadway Video, producers of Saturday Night Live, McConnell embarked on a spiritual quest to find truth - a journey that resulted in him giving up the life of fame and fortune he sought earlier.  The program concept was later turned into Taxi Cab Confessions, still airing on HBO.

After embracing the  Islamic "Sufi" faith McConnell was contracted by Sound Vision to develop several live to tape remote productions for national conferences and meetings. Works included: M.V.P. national basketball star Hakeem Olijawon video     “ Proud to be a Muslim”  and early productions featuring Sh. Hamza Yusef.

Over the years McConnell has continued to work in the capacity as a new media consultant for major clients. He lived with his wife and son for eight years in Damascus Syria and now resides in Preston Connecticut.

McConnell began Sufi Films and has directed and produced several productions that are still in distribution. He now looks forward to developing more films under the Sufi Films name and hopes to pass along much of his skills and knowledge to a new generation of filmmakers.

Recent Web Commercial Work

Documentary Films


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