Director Jesse Burke was born in the US in 1974 and died in 2012 during the early stages of post-production of the film, Beyond The Wall.
Jesse spent his childhood in New York and his teenage years in Paris, France. After receiving a degree in Comparative Literature from the American University in Paris, Jesse traveled extensively before eventually settling in Beijing, China, in 2005.
In China, Jesse worked as a camera operator, director, editor and producer on a variety of corporate and broadcast projects and from 2008 to 2012 was Head of Production at CIB Productions, the sister company of In A Box Productions, producer of Beyond The Wall.
During his time with CIB Productions, Jesse produced and edited My Beijing Birthday (2009), a documentary which combined archive footage from 1996 of an American comedian learning traditional Chinese stand-up comedy in a class for eight year olds, and new footage filmed in 2008, the year of the Beijing Olympics.
Jesse filmed Beyond The Wall in the US and China between 2009 and 2012. His rapport with the teenagers who feature in the documentary helped them open up on camera and enabled him to capture their personal journeys that we see in the film.
Making the film was also a personal journey for Jesse as he met his wife, Maggie Ma – one of the student’s Chinese teachers – during production. Their son was born in December 2012: five months after Jesse’s death from sudden heart failure.
2008 Producer & Editor
My Beijing Birthday (Documentary Feature)
Awards: “Golden Duck” Best Documentary – New Beijing International Film Festival
2013 Director & Producer
Beyond the Wall (Documentary Feature)