Steve James produced and directed Hoop Dreams, winner of every major critics prize including a Peabody and Robert F. Kennedy Award.
James' 2014 film Life Itself, about film critic Roger Ebert, premiered to critical acclaim at Sundance and was named the best documentary of the year by over a dozen critics associations, and received the Golden Tomato Award from RottenTomatoes.com as the best reviewed documentary of 2014. It also was awarded best documentary by The Critic’s Choice Awards, The National Board of Review, and The Producers Guild of America.
In 2017 James released Abacus: Small Enough to Jail, which received an Academy Award® nomination for Best Documentary Feature. It won Best Editing: Documentary Feature at the Ashland Film Festival, Best Political Documentary at the Critics' Choice Documentary Awards and earned James a nomination for the Directors Guild of America Award for Outstanding Directing. Critics hailed Abacus as a "classic underdog tale" (New York Times) and "an exemplary piece of filmmaking" (Sight & Sound).
The latest work by James, a 10 part docu-series entitled America to Me, world premiered its first five episodes at the 2018 Sundance Film Festival as the opening night film for the fest's inaugural Indie Episodic program. Daniel Fienberg wrote of the 'sneak peek' of the series, "I suspect that America to Me will end up being one of the year's best shows of any kind." The series is a year-long immersion into one of Chicago's most progressive and diverse public schools, located in suburban Oak Park. Following its Sundance premiere, America to Me was acquired by STARZ and premiered in the fall of 2018.