Contributed by Jim Tompkins
Filmmaker Jim Tompkins grew up among the gorges and waterfalls of the Finger Lakes region of upstate New York, where he gained an early admiration of nature and landscapes. While attending Ithaca College, he studied Film Production and Art History, acquiring a Bachelors degree in Cinematography.
After graduation, he moved to Southern California and spent several years working in many different aspects of the motion picture industry in Hollywood. In 1986, he started his own company, Southwind Productions, to produce sports and event videos, and later co-founded a trade organization for professional video producers, now called the Professional Videographers Network (PVN).
Jim retraced the two-thousand-mile-long Oregon Trail to produce his first travel-adventure film entitled Emigrant Road - An Oregon Trail Adventure, one of the first travelogues produced on digital cinema. His second production, Four Corners, focuses on the mountains, rivers, canyons and cultures of the American Southwest. For his third production, Jim explored eight European countries to film The Alps, while carrying thirty pounds of equipment around in his backpack.
When he's not traveling, Jim eventually goes home to Valencia, California. He has presented his travel films throughout the United States, including performances at the National Geographic Society in Washington, the Carnegie Institute in Pittsburgh and the SunDome in Phoenix. The Travel Adventure Cinema Society awarded him its “Rising Star” award in 2000, and its highest honor for a speaker, the “Hall of Fame” award in 2003.