Nutmeg Gazette: “Film What You Love” – Jim O’Connor

I remember the first interview I ever watched with Director Harmony Korine where he said “I don’t make movies for the same reason that a lot of people do. I make films because I need to see them exist in a very specific way.” He went on to say “I never cared so much about making perfect sense. I wanted to make perfect nonsense.” This was the first time that I began to challenge the idea of a narrative story and explore the world of Arthouse Cinema and beyond.

Growing up, it was always challenging for me to address a crowd or tell a story with charisma and fluidity. It was many of Harmony’s films as well as the titles from World Cinema that lead me to realize that what’s most important in cinema is to tell the story that you want to tell.

Pursuing my passion of film, I went on to graduate film school at Quinnipiac University and work my way up through the ranks in the AD Department as a Production Assistant in Connecticut and New York. During this time, I created a love affair with the hospitality industry and food in general. After 5 years working freelance on Narrative films and bar tending in restaurants, I decide to try my luck in Los Angeles.

Los Angeles offered incredible opportunities in both film and hospitality that led me to the sets of a many award-winning films and television shows, while also opening my eyes to a city that has a whole lot of love for food and beverage culture. Every new restaurant would get a red-carpet opening, commercials, celebrities, the whole thing.

After I moved back to Connecticut, I wanted to bring that same type of energy into the New Haven area especially. I decided to stick to what I love and create Food Haven, a documentary film that celebrates the immense food culture of New Haven. This past summer, I directed another feature length documentary entitled Family Meal which also focuses on the hospitality industry and the balance of family and business.

If I could share any advice to filmmakers it would be to film what you love. Find what you are passionate about and create a way to bring the audience into the world that you adore so much. I always feel like you can tell if the director truly loves their subjects in films and I look forward to creating many more films in Connecticut!

- Jim O'Connor


Jim O'Connor is a filmmaker from New Haven county (CT). His first film, Food Haven, took home the Audience Award at the New Haven International Film Festival and was an Official Selection at NHDocs 2017. His second film, Family Meal, was selected as the Breakout Storytellers of the Year Award by The Taste Awards.

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