Ballet AZ Blog

In the Spotlight: Jim Manley & Manley Films


Jim Manley
Jim Manley

Tell us a bit about yourself…

My wife, Flower and I, have 3 boys, ages 6, 19, and 23. I grew up in a small town in Illinois and my wife is from Mexico City. We were both raised by parents, who put the arts front and center. That passion has grown immensely and is a major part of our family dynamic. I worked in the news industry for 14 years, in Phoenix. 16 years ago, I decided to go out on my own and start my company, Manley Films. Since then, we’ve grown from a local production company with one employee (me) to a global creative agency with clients around the world. Whether we’re working with a Fortune 100 company or a local arts organization, our core focus has always remained the same…do great things with great people and make the world a better place.

How has your work been impacted by COVID?

Like so many companies, we were heavily impacted at the beginning. But my incredible team pulled things together quickly and we were humming at full speed again within a couple of months. One of the key things they did was design and build safety protocols for the production world to follow. We also developed innovative remote production processes. Because we work all over the world, we had to adjust to travel restrictions and on-set crew size restrictions. Again, I give all of the credit to the Manley Films team for their constant thirst to make everything better. It’s been impressive for me to watch how they’ve not only helped our clients continue but have also improved the production experience from start to finish.

What is special about working with the performing arts?

I love this question! Everything. Every single thing. I always tell my wife, “these are ‘my people’.” These are the folks I feel most comfortable being around…not just at work, but at performances, galas, and fundraisers.

What is your favorite part of telling Ballet Arizona’s story through film?

We have the pleasure of getting a unique look behind the curtain. I’m continuously blown away by Ib’s genius, the athleticism of the world-class dancers, the hard work behind-the-scenes by the staff, and the passion of the patrons and donors. It’s a reminder that some entities exist for one reason…to spread ‘good’ throughout the universe.

Costume Designer, Eric Winterling, and Ballet Arizona Company Dancer, Arianni Martin, in a costume fitting for Ib Andersen’s The Firebird. Photo provided by Manley Films.

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