Arts & Culture Schools / Kids

CHS Freshman Hits SXSW for Premiere of ‘The Strange Ones’

James Freedson-Jackson, a freshman at CHS, and cast member in the Columbia High School musical How to Succeed in Business Without Really Trying, missed the first weekend of performances of H2$, but with good reason.

On Friday, March 10, he flew to the South by Southwest (SXSW) Film Festival in Austin TX, for the premiere of his film The Strange Ones, a moody thriller by Lauren Wolkstein and Christopher Radcliff, in which James costars with British actor Alex Pettyfer.

The film, which was shot last summer, opened at SXSW on Saturday. The plot involves “Mysterious events surrounding two brothers, (Pettyfer and Freedson-Jackson) as they travel across a remote American landscape. What appears to be a simple vacation soon gives way to a more complicated and darker truth.”

Indiewire picked The Strange Ones as one of the 13 must-see films of the festival and wrote, “One of the best shorts of the last 10 years, Lauren Wolkstein and Christopher Radcliff’s ‘The Strange Ones’ is an ominous, compellingly elliptical story about two young shaken siblings whose road trip raises suspicions when they stop off at a dilapidated motel.”

This is James’ second major film release in the past three years. His previous film, Jon Watts’ acclaimed indie Cop Car, in which James co-starred with Kevin Bacon, was a big hit at the 2015 Sundance Film Festival, winning raves for James, Bacon and for director Watts, who was then tapped to direct the upcoming Spiderman reboot. Cop Car is currently being shown regularly on HBO.

“I’m really hating having to miss the first weekend of How to Succeed…,” James said last week. “The show is great, and the cast is fantastic. I was worried that I’d have to make a choice between continuing in the show, and getting to go to this premiere. But thankfully, Bethany [Pettigrew] and Trisha [Benn] understood, and gave me permission to miss a few shows. So I can go out to SXSW, and then to come back and be in the second weekend of H2$.”

In addition to The Strange Ones and Cop Car, James has had roles on The Blacklist, Marvel’s Jessica Jones, and best of all, got to appear with Bruno Mars 2014 Superbowl Half Time Show, singing the beginning of Billionaire with 11 other kids. It was the thrill of a lifetime for a 12 year old.

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