‘Christmas Camp’: Who Is Joe James?


One of the people involved in the making of Christmas Camp, filmed in Hudson Valley, sadly passed away shortly after the movie finished filming. The movie was just released on Hallmark Movies & Mysteries, nearly a year after it was filmed, but Joe James’ loss is still felt by those who worked with him and the family and friends who loved him. Read on to learn more about Joe James.

Christmas Camp filmed in the Hudson Valley area in May 2018. Then on May 29, 2018, the Hudson Valley Film Commission announced on Facebook the sad news that Joe James had passed away. James passed away on May 26. The actor and filmmaker had been dealing with a number of health issues, Hudson Valley shared, but still managed to work on the movie despite what he was facing. According to Record Online, he died suddenly at his home in Washingtonville, New York.

The Hudson Valley Film Commission wrote on Facebook:

“I’m very sad to announce that filmmaker, actor and friend Joe James passed away on Saturday, May 26. He will be dearly missed. I knew Joe since 2002 when he first worked for the Woodstock Film Festival. He was often impetuous, sometimes nuts, and occasionally crippled with back pain, but under his rough exterior, he was a loving and sensitive soul with a HUGE HEART. He was a devoted husband, passionate about his work, tattoos, and a friend to all animals (especially his dogs). He’d overcome a lot of his ailments and worked on many recent projects including Christmas Camp and Burn. He was an accomplished armourer, propmaster, set dresser, production designer, actor and filmmaker. He had a lot of projects in the pipeline and he left the BEST telephone messages!

There’s a lot of talk in the film business about family, but it relates to co-workers, rather than blood. Sixteen hour work days can bring conflict in the best of us, but ultimately that time spent together creates bonds that are thick as blood.

My heart goes out to Julie, his loving wife. A service will be announced shortly. Per Joe’s wishes, he will have a green burial. Rest in peace my friend.

Here is their post:

Hudson Valley Film Commission later wrote this touching message about him on Facebook:

Joe went six feet under today. No pomp and circumstance – just a pine coffin and a green burial in the woods, in the company of trees. My camera stopped working. I figured that was Joe. I’d never known him to be camera shy but the circumstances were not as they had ever been before. This was not a film. It was reality.

A small gathering of family and friends gathered, spoke of fond memories, shared laughter, shed tears. Flowers were tossed into the void and followed by a procession of mourners shoveling dirt into the brutal reality that lay below. I offered to toss 300 shovelfuls in for the hundreds of filmmakers who loved Joe and were not there.

Physically, Joe was gone. but as people hugged in comfort and recalled more memories, Joe came back to life. I looked back at the trees and imagined the tree that would rise from his soil, stretching roots across the forest and rising with a strong trunk with many gnarled branches expressing pain and madness and joy and love and hope and love.

Joe James left behind his beloved wife, Julie James. She is a talented photographer

Joe James was an actor, a member of the Screen Actors Guild, a filmmaker, a production designer, and a member of the Hudson Valley Film Commission. According to IMDB, he had a long list of accomplishments, including working as an actor on numerous productions like Burn (premiering in 2019), Already Gone, Do Unto Others, King CobraNight of the Wolf, Mystery Team, Down to the Bone, and more.

One friend, Nancy Rubel, wrote on Facebook: “We had a project we were going to do… it will go on in his loving memory …”

Nicole Signore wrote: “Great soul. Rough on the outside and sweet on the inside and totally passionate and loving with animals we had that in common. Extremely hard working film brother you will be missed.”

Shawn Schaffer wrote about how Joe had a big heart and fought for others to find justice. “Such a great guy and years later when I was brutally beaten up by some security at a music festival in Syracuse, he raised all holy hell and moved mountains to bring the guys and their company to justice over it. He didn’t have to, but he understood what it was like to be wrongfully treated for something like that and wanted to help.”

Friends said that he loved animals and was a vegetarian. Because of his love for animals, it was asked that memorial donations be made to the Hudson Valley SPCA in New Windsor, New York or to your local animal shelter. If you would like to honor Joe James, you can still do that today.

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