James Whitaker is the Chairman of Whitaker Entertainment, which is based at Walt Disney Pictures. He most recently produced THE ODD LIFE OF TIMOTHY GREEN for Disney, which will be released in August of 2012.
Whitaker began his career with Imagine Entertainment as an intern while attending the USC Peter Stark Producing Program. Upon graduation, he was brought on as a Creative Associate, and rose through the ranks to become President of Production, supervising development and production. While there, he executive produced such films as FRIDAY NIGHT LIGHTS, 8 MILE, CHANGELING, AMERICAN GANGSTER, CINDERELLA MAN, and CURIOUS GEORGE. Jim’s passion for filmmaking emerged during his undergraduate years at Georgetown, where he worked on John Waters' film Hairspray, doing craft services. In 1988, he served as an intern for a local NBC affiliate and traveled to the Democratic and Republican conventions, working as a stringer for reporter Katie Couric. In 1989-90 he directed several socially-conscious films to raise money for non-profit organizations. Upon graduation, he joined the independent production company, Hillman & Carr, where he conceived and directed an award-winning public-service announcement against drunk driving, entitled Loaded.
In 2001, after the World Trade Center tragedy, Jim conceived a film project centered on the country’s recovery from 9/11. The documentary, REBIRTH, combined time-lapse photography of the World Trade Center Site with the intimate stories of five people coping with grief, which Whitaker followed for the nine years. The film premiered at the Sundance Film Festival, was released theatrically by Oscilloscope Laboratories and then ran on Showtime. It will have a permanent home as part of an exhibit at the 9/11 Memorial &Museum. Project Rebirth, which Whitaker founded, is also an established non-profit that will give all funds from the commercial release of the film to the Project Rebirth Center for victims of and first responders to events of traumatic loss.
Jim earned his BA in Economics in 1990 from Georgetown University and a Master of Fine Arts from USC in 1993. He received an honorary doctorate from Pace University in 2011. Jim is a member of the 2004 class of Henry Crown Fellows at the Aspen Institute.more » « less