This user account status is Approved

This user has not added any information to their profile yet.

Vista Pop LLC
Director, Owner
Cultural, Civic


- Film and video production
- "New Wars" theory
- International economic and political geography of the North Dakota shale oil boom, 2006-2014
- the U.S. Refugee Resettlement System: origins and myths

FILMS (in distribution)

"The Bakken." Directed by Lewis Wilcox and James Christenson, produced by Mark Steele. Gunpowder & Sky, an AT&T Company, December 2017.

"The Missing Sun." Directed by Brennan Vance, produced by James Christenson. Kinoscope, January 2019.


Byrnes, Kevin and James Christenson. "Real Life or Black Mirror?" The Atlantic. 17 January 2018. Web.

Christenson, James and Eliot Popko, Jonah Sargent, and Lewis Wilcox. “Running on Fumes in North Dakota.” The New York Times. 14 January 2014. Web.

Latham, Andrew A. and James Christenson. “Historicizing the ‘New Wars’: The case of Jihad in the early years of Islam.” European Journal of International Relations. Vol 20, Issue 3, pp. 766 – 786. First published date: July-24-2013

I am a filmmaker and video producer who uses personal visual storytelling for systems change. As the mixed son of an orphaned Mestizo-American, I am particularly drawn to multigenerational stories of migrants and outsiders who respond to turmoil with active courage, imagination, and service to others to create a better collective future.

As an independent filmmaker, I earned international attention in 2014 for my work on the North Dakota oil boom, with a short film in The New York Times becoming one of their most popular videos ever. A spin-off feature length film, THE BAKKEN, is now internationally distributed. As a grassroots community producer, my 2015-17 collaboration with Hamse Warfa, RUMEE, a series of shorts made by Somali-Minnesotan youth, was exhibited by the Walker Art Center and Minnesota History Center. Through my production company, Vista Pop, I regularly produce content for corporate clients, community organizations, artists, and start-ups.

My work within the Latino community has been limited, largely confined to political advocacy through documentary filmmaking and electoral campaigns, such as Patricia Torres Ray for Congress, as well as mentorship to Latino students at Macalester College.

Web video is now the dominant form of advertising and entertainment. Mark Zuckerberg has called it a "macro-trend on the scale of mobile." I believe that visual storytelling is one of the main cultural, economic, and political drivers of systems change, since it can resonate with our emotions, intellectual curiosity, and the things we already believe to be true better than any other medium. I want to join with Latino leaders in all sectors to contribute my technical and human capital to conceptualize and execute video and film productions that advance Latino collective influence, success, and power.

I believe life is interactive diversity. My identity as a Latino is unique, and much of my life has been lost internalizing my mixed mestizo-white settler identity as alien and disruptive, or "not real" and threatening to American identity that privileges pride in monolithic ethno-national heritages and communities. However, I have recently come to learn from so many of my Latino peers in town that my family's history of assimilation via family separation and alienation from traditional markers of Latino identity are actually central in the history of Latinos in the United States. I hope my membership in Latino Lead helps me and others overcome shame in our various experiences as Latino people, and that my voice and professional skills add to the diversity of membership in Latino Lead so all can live with more dignity in who we are.

A loving family of relatives and friends that works together to rescue all persons from tyranny and false systems and false principles of government and enterprise, and enable all to live freely, creatively, mercifully and justly toward all life in a pluralistic global community, and to excite in individuals a spirit of trust, journey, and reunion in the divine.