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October 25, 2007

More than a Pretty Face: James Haven

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James Haven

James Haven

Photo Credit: Steve Granitz/Wire Image

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Name: James Haven
Age: 34
Job: Executive Board Director of Activist
Location: Los Angeles

He's our first male MTAPF, and deservedly so, considering he comes from the same gene pool as Angelina Jolie (those lips! those eyes!). And, like his sister, James Haven isn't just lounging around looking gorgeous — he's using his influence and leverage to do good. His latest endeavor is stoking support for the 4th Annual Artivist Film Festival & Artivist Awards, a showcase for movies that are, like him, looking to help out in the world.

Q: What is Artivist?
A: It's a festival in Los Angeles highlighting movies that address human rights, animal rights, and environmental issues. Right now it's gaining serious momentum. This year's roster includes 50 films from 25 countries, including Glue Boys from Kenya, about street children who become addicted to sniffing glue as a way to escape their painful situations.

Q: How did you get involved?
A: I was invited to hand out awards to two of their films last year: Sita, a Girl from Jambu and Daughters and Sons, Preventing Child Trafficking in the Golden Triangle, both about child sex slavery.

Q: Do you really think movies can make a difference?
A: Definitely. They draw emotions out of us, change our minds — and not just documentaries. I've seen Transformers seven times. I cry every time.

Q: How can we see the films?
A: On our Website, artivists.org, we're going to show clips of the movies and provide information on the issues. Eventually, most of the films will be available on DVD. Someday I hope the site becomes the main attraction, showing a rolling roster of films, and the festival is just to get together and talk about them.

Q: Did your sister get you started in philanthropy?
A: Angie was the catalyst. She'd say, "I just heard this is going on in Darfur ..." and I'd want to be involved. Also, I don't want to constantly berate my father — I wish him well, and I hope he finds peace — but he put my mom through years of mental abuse, and it made me care especially for abandoned women and children. So that's my religion — helping widows and orphans.

Q: You're also doing AIDS work with Rick Warren, the megachurch pastor.
A: I want to work with Jews, Buddhists, Hindus, Christians — anybody who realizes that these are human issues. I'm heading up Saddleback Church's Youth AIDS Summit, held on December 1, World AIDS Day, for thousands of junior-high and high-school students to listen, learn, and get inspired. It hits very close to home — my niece Zahara's biological parents died of AIDS. Last summer I went to her home country, Ethiopia, and spent five weeks with AIDS orphans.

Q: How are Zahara and her siblings, Maddox, Pax, and Shiloh?
A: They're unbelievable. Zahara likes to hide from Angie, who always knows, right when she walks in the room, that Z's playing. And Angie starts with the "Where's Zahara? Where's Zahara?" Pax amazed me the first time he said my name. He didn't know any English, and I hadn't heard him say a word yet, so I wasn't expecting it.

Q: So, we have to ask about that infamous Oscar kiss.
A: So long ago! Can we please move forward? Someday I'll get married, and on my wedding day they'll be saying, "Okay, we have to ask about that infamous Oscar kiss ..."

Q: Sorry.
A: That's okay.


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