James joined the curatorial team as senior curator of fiction in 2021, following many years as features editor at Sight & Sound magazine. While at Sight & Sound, he wrote on a wide range of cinema: contemporary and historical, British and international.
Beyond Sight & Sound, James also worked as special projects editor, developing a number of major projects. He has been series editor of the BFI Compendium book series, whose titles include 39 Steps to the Genius of Hitchcock (2012), Gothic: The Dark Heart of Film (2013) and Electric Shadows: The History of Chinese Cinema (2014). He is on the editorial boards of both the BFI Classics and British Screen Stories book series.
He is regular programmer of BFI Southbank’s biannual Deep Focus film seasons, which have included focuses on pre-Code Hollywood, psychological Westerns, Method acting, US cinema of the 1980s, films by Black women directors, Golden Age Japanese Melodama and French Fantastique cinema. He has also been a contributing programmer to several of the BFI’s major projects, including as co-programmer of 2021’s major Japanese cinema season.