James Allen Smith

As an Army brat, James spent his formative years traveling throughout Europe and the United States before his father retired to a small town in central Massachusetts. The only one in his family to forgo a career in the military, he instead chose to attend the School of the Museum of Fine Art in Boston where he studied performance art and painting. In his early 20‘s he moved to Missouri where he sang in a band and operated a night club booking rock shows like Cheap Trick , No Doubt and the Wallflowers.

Later he moved to Chicago beginning a 9-to-5 career as a Web designer for trading companies. This is where his fascination with trading began. The attraction was so strong that Smith couldn’t resist trading himself. In the process James got schooled by the market but this experience allowed him access to this secret, and disappearing, society. FLOORED is James’ first feature film.

It was the closed nature of the trading floor, its larger-than-life personalities, and their insatiable penchant for risk-taking that inspired James to turn his camera on Chicago’s pits. The floor reminded him of High School— a place with a hierarchy and a language all its own, dirty bathrooms and even dirtier language. But James found that behind the tough exterior of these bombastic characters were fascinating stories and a window into our own humanity: the risks we take, the life we seek, the history we leave behind.

Soon after releasing FLOORED, he premiered his long-time work-in-progress, the eponymous documentary: “My Name is Smith,” in 2010 at the Big Sky Documentary Film Festival.

James currently lives in Seattle with his wonderfully understanding wife who supports his dream of becoming a successful filmmaker. They would have a dog, but their landlord forbids it.



Photographer Dirk Eusterbrock’s Website

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