Director, producer, and screenwriter James Cameron is best known for the highly successful feature films Avatar (2009), Titanic (1997), Aliens (1986) and The Terminator (1984). In 2010, the British New Statesman included him in their list of “The World’s 50 Most Influential Figures.” The same year, he received the Modern Masters Award for his contribution to the film industry at the Santa Barbara International Film Festival. All told, his films have received twenty-one Academy Awards, including Best Picture and Best Director for Titanic. Avatar was nominated for nine Academy Awards, winning three. On the day of its release, Cameron was awarded the 2,396th star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame. In the time between making Titanic and his return to feature films with Avatar, Cameron spent several years creating documentary films (specifically underwater documentaries), and also co-developed the digital 3-D Fusion Camera System.
Avatar portrays a fictitious planet whose inhabitants face ruthless resource exploitation and destruction. The portrayal resonated with some indigenous peoples currently facing such issues. In 2010 Cameron was invited by Amazon Watch to attend indigenous people’s protests in Brasilia against the government’s proposed Belo Monte hydroelectric dam on the Xingu River and other dams. He and members of the cast of Avatar also visited indigenous villages on the river and its tributaries. Cameron subsequently produced a short documentary on the issue for Amazon Watch.
In the same year, Cameron participated in a panel discussion with leaders from the United Nations Permanent Forum on Indigenous Issues on the subject of Avatar and the threat posed to Native peoples by resource exploitation. Since then, he has also visited First Nations communities in Alberta, whose rivers and lands are seriously threatened by “fracking,” an invasive process to release natural gas and oil from the earth. In interviews Cameron has stated his commitment to continue making films with environmental and indigenous rights themes. Cameron has received numerous honorary doctoral degrees in Canada and the US. He was born in Kapuskasing, Ontario, Canada, and currently lives in the United States.
Work featured: A Message from Pandora