James Lester is a native New Yorker and an independent film director, producer, writer and editor. This year, Lester was a series editor on AMC’s “The Making of the Mob: New York.” In 2014 he was a producer and senior editor on “Chicagoland,” the acclaimed CNN original series from executive producer Robert Redford. That year Lester also co-wrote and directed “Tough Day,” starring Kevin Bacon, a heralded PSA bringing awareness to child homelessness in New York City.
Lester edited the HBO Sports documentary “Prayer for a Perfect Season.” He also co-edited / co-shot the Grammy-nominated music film “The Greatest Ears in Town: The Arif Mardin Story.” His own films have won awards at the New York Television Festival, the Jackson Hole Film Festival and have been featured on IFC. His editor resume includes programs for CBS, NBC, FOX, MSNBC, MTV, Discovery ID, Travel Channel, and Sundance.
Before working in film, Lester studied music. He spent 10 years composing and playing in jazz bands as well as teaching piano, music theory, and jazz history at conservatories in New York.
Lester is currently directing “Getting Naked,” a feature documentary on New York City’s vibrant burlesque scene.