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88' CBE Alumnus Jim Lemley

Jim Lemley

By Amanda Cairo

Vandals are so tough they can tackle vampires. It’s no great feat for a particular Vandal who already has taken on professional assassins, a post-apocalyptic future and the despair of immobility – in the cinema, that is.

College of Business and Economics alumnus Jim Lemley’s most recent film “Abraham Lincoln: Vampire Hunter,” opens in the U.S. on June 22. Lemley, a 1988 marketing graduate, was a producer on the movie.

As a student, Lemley spent much of his time outside the classroom and inside movie theaters. As a film industry professional, he has struck a balance between his creative skills and the business lessons he learned at the university.

“I knew I had the creative talent in me,” Lemley says. “I thought I should learn the skills not innately within me and gain experience that would help me throughout my career.”

Indeed, those business and marketing skills have helped him and his projects succeed past a creative vision. The independent producer conceives ideas, puts a plan together, finds the funding to make and distribute a movie, and last, but perhaps the most import piece, makes the film.

The road from Moscow, Idaho, to Los Angeles and Paris – where he balances his time between career and family – wasn’t a straight path, but one of desire and making dreams a reality.

After graduating from the University of Idaho, Lemley packed his car and headed to New York City to break into the music scene. While working at Island Records, he was on hand for the U2 Rattle and Hum concert documentary.

“I got to know the guys and be involved in the shooting,” Lemley says. “I realized that my interest in music was a portion of the movie-making process.”

So again Lemley packed his car and followed his dream to Los Angeles, and started working in TV, music videos and production. After working with Universal Studios and Disney, Lemley joined Icon Productions in 1992 and rose to the post of CEO of Icon’s international distribution and production arm.

After 11 years at Icon, Lemley wanted to work on specific projects, so he struck out on his own.

“I’d met a lot of people, so I started working on projects that were close to me,” Lemley says.

Since then, he has partnered to make movies including “9,” which garnered him a Motion Picture Producer of the Year Award nomination and “The Diving Bell and Butterfly,” for which he won the Christopher Award.

See a trailer of “Abraham Lincoln: Vampire Hunter”