James Allan Schamus
September 7, 1959
Detroit, Michigan, U.S.
|Alma mater||University of California, Berkeley|
James Allan Schamus (born September 7, 1959) is an American screenwriter, producer, business executive, film historian, professor, and director. He is a frequent collaborator of Ang Lee, the co-founder of the production company Good Machine, and the co-founder and former CEO of motion picture production, financing, and worldwide distribution company Focus Features, a subsidiary of NBCUniversal. He is currently president of the New York–based production company Symbolic Exchange, and is Professor of Professional Practice at Columbia University, where he has taught film history and theory since 1989.
Life and career
Schamus was born in Detroit, Michigan, to a Jewish family. He is the son of Clarita (Gershowitz) Karlin and Julian John Schamus, and was raised in Los Angeles. He is married to writer Nancy Kricorian, with whom he has two children.
His output includes writing or co-writing The Ice Storm, Eat, Drink, Man, Woman, Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon and Hulk (all directed by Ang Lee), and producing Brokeback Mountain and Alone in Berlin. At Focus he oversaw the production and distribution of Lost in Translation, Milk, Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind, Coraline, and The Kids Are All Right. In addition to his tenure at Columbia University, he has also taught at Yale University and at Rutgers University. He is the author of Carl Theodor Dreyer's Gertrud: The Moving Word, published by the University of Washington Press. He earned his BA, MA, and Ph.D. in English from University of California, Berkeley.
Schamus made his feature directorial debut with Indignation, an adaptation of Philip Roth's novel of the same name. Schamus also wrote the script for the film, which stars Logan Lerman, Sarah Gadon, and Tracy Letts, and is the story of a Jewish student at an Ohio college in 1951. The film premiered at the 2016 Sundance Film Festival, and was theatrically released by Roadside Attractions on July 29, 2016.
He was president of the jury for the 64th Berlin International Film Festival. He has also been on the jury of the New York International Children's Film Festival, and has served on the editorial boards of Film Quarterly and Cinema Journal, as well as on the board of Creative Capital and the Heyman Center for the Humanities.
|1990||The Golden Boat||Yes||No||Raúl Ruiz|
|1991||Pushing Hands||Yes||Yes||Ang Lee||Also additional scenes|
|1993||The Wedding Banquet||Yes||Yes|
|1994||Eat Drink Man Woman||Associate||Yes|
|1995||Sense and Sensibility||Yes||No|
|1996||She's the One||Yes||No||Edward Burns|
|Walking and Talking||Yes||No||Nicole Holofcener|
|1997||The Ice Storm||Yes||Yes||Ang Lee|
|1999||Ride with the Devil||Yes||Yes|
|2000||Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon||No||Yes||Also songwriter|
|2007||Lust, Caution||Yes||Yes||Also songwriter|
|2014||That Film About Money||Yes||Yes||Himself||Short film|
|2015||Alone in Berlin||Yes||No||Vincent Perez|
|2017||Casting JonBenet||Yes||No||Kitty Green||Documentary|
|The Tomorrow Man||Yes||No||Noble Jones|
|The Assistant||Yes||No||Kitty Green|
|2022||The King's Daughter||No||Yes||Sean McNamara|
- Poison (1991)
- Swoon (1992)
- Safe (1995)
- Happiness (1998)
- Lola and Billy the Kid (1999)
- Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon (2000)
- Buffalo Soldiers (2001)
- Auto Focus (2002)
- Suffragette (2015)
- Junction 48 (2015)
- Dayveon (2017)
- A Prayer Before Dawn (2017)
- Furlough (2018)
Awards and nominations
|1997||The Ice Storm||Prix du Scénario (Best Screenplay Award)|
Nominated – BAFTA Award for Best Adapted Screenplay
Nominated – WGA Award for Best Adapted Screenplay
|2000||Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon||Nominated – Academy Award for Best Adapted Screenplay|
Nominated – Academy Award for Best Original Song
Nominated – BAFTA Award for Best Adapted Screenplay
Nominated – WGA Award for Best Adapted Screenplay
|2005||Brokeback Mountain||BAFTA Award for Best Film|
Golden Globe Award for Best Motion Picture – Drama
Independent Spirit Award for Best Film
Nominated – Academy Award for Best Picture
|2007||Lust, Caution||Nominated – Golden Globe Award for Best Foreign Language Film|
Career recognition and honors
- ShowEast's Bingham Ray Spirit Award, October 2016
- 18th annual Outfest Achievement Award, June 2014
- President of the Jury, Berlin International Film Festival, February 2014
- Evelyn Burkey Award, Writers Guild of America, January 2014
- Hamptons Film Festival, Industry Toast, October 2012
- Point Foundation, Point Inspiration Award, April 2012
- Gotham Independent Film Project Awards, Career Tribute, November 2010
- San Francisco Film Festival Kanbar Lifetime Achievement Award for Screenwriting, April 2010
- The Hollywood Reporter Independent Icon Award, Sundance, January 2010
- National Arts Club, Medal of Honor for Film, November 2009.
- 9th Annual Woodstock Film Festival, Trailblazer Award, October 2008
- 19th Annual GLAAD (Gay Lesbian Alliance Against Discrimination) Media Awards, Golden Gate Award, May 2008
- American Museum of the Moving Image Honoree, April 2008
- ShoWest/NATO (National Association of Theatre Owners) Freedom of Expression Award, March 2008
- Golden Horse Award, Best Film, Best Screenplay Adaptation (James Schamus and Wang Hui-ling), "Lust, Caution," 2007
- Jacob Burns Film Center, Vision Award, September 2007
- British Academy of Film and Television Arts, Best Film, "Brokeback Mountain," 2005
- 21st Israel Film Festival, Visionary Award, November 2005
- Presidential Fellow in the Arts, University of Chicago, November 2005
- Producers Guild of America, Darryl Zanuck Award for Producer of the Year, 2005
- Los Angeles Film Critics Association, Best Picture of the Year, "Brokeback Mountain," 2005
- New York Film Critics Circle, Best Picture, "Brokeback Mountain," 2005
- Out Magazine, Out 100 Award, 2005
- Distinguished Entertainment Industry Award, Anti-Defamation League, 2005
- Writers Guild of America East, Richard B. Jablow Award for Devoted Service to the Guild, March 2002
- NBC Screenwriters Tribute, Nantucket Film Festival, 2002
- Grammy Award Nomination, Best Song Written For A Motion Picture, Television, Or Other Media, "A Love Before Time" from Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon, 2002
- Hugo Award, Best Dramatic Presentation for Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon, 2001
- Excellence in Achievement Award, California Alumni Association, 2001
- Crystal Apple Award, New York City Mayor's Office, 2001
- Provincetown International Film Festival, Filmmaker on the Edge Award, 2001
- Yale Film Studies Award, Yale University, 2000
- Achievement Award, Jerusalem Cinematheque, 2000
- British Film Critics' Circle Awards Nomination, Best Screenwriter, "The Ice Storm," 1999.
- Gladys Borchers Lecturer, University of Wisconsin, 1998.
- Nuveen Fellow, University of Chicago, 1997
- University Lecturer, Columbia University, 1997
- Cable Ace Award, Best Historical Documentary Special or Series, "Wonderland," (Executive Producer), 1997
- IFP Gotham Award, Producer of the Year, 1996
- Zanuck Award Nominee, Producers Guild of America, 1996
- Nova Award, Producers Guild of America, 1996
- The Philip and Ruth Hettleman Award, Columbia University School of General Studies, 1996
- Independent Spirit Brian Greenbaum Memorial Award for Producing, 1994
- Taking Woodstock. New York: Newmarket Press, 2009. Screenplay and Introduction.
- Carl Theodor Dryer's Gertrud: The Moving Word. Seattle: University of Washington Press, 2008.
- Lust, Caution. New York: Pantheon, 2007. Screenplay (with Wang Hui-Ling) and Introduction.
- The Hulk. New York: Newmarket Press, 2003. Screenplay and Introduction.
- Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon: Portrait of the Ang Lee Film. New York: Newmarket Press, 2000. Screenplay (with Wang Hui-Ling) and Notes.
- Ride With the Devil. London: Faber & Faber, 1999. Screenplay, Introduction, and Notes.
- The Ice Storm. New York: Newmarket Press, 1997. Screenplay, Introduction, and Notes.
- Two Films By Ang Lee: "Eat Drink Man Woman" and "The Wedding Banquet". New York: The Overlook Press, 1994. Introduction and Screenplays (with Ang Lee, Neal Peng, and Wang Hui-Ling).
Essays and articles
- "23 Fragments on the Future of Cinema", Filmmaker (magazine) , Winter 2015.
- "Hollywood is Not American", The Hollywood Reporter, October 17, 2014.
- "James Schamus Reveals Secrets of the Oscar Voting System", Variety (magazine), January 8, 2014.
- "Preface." "Musts, Maybes, and Nevers: A Book About The Movies". By David Picker. Charleston: CreateSpace, 2013.
- "See Here Now: Festival Red Carpets and the Cost of Film Culture," in Coming Soon to a Festival Near You: Programming Film Festivals, ed. Jeffrey Ruoff. Scotland, UK: St. Andrews Film Books, 2012.
- "Raul Ruiz Remembered by James Schamus", Filmmaker (magazine), August 19, 2011.
- "Afterword." A Killer Life. By Christine Vachon. New York: Limelight Editions, 2007.
- "The Apartment", The New York Times, November 4, 2007.
- "Next Year in Munich: Masculinity, Zionism and Diaspora in Spielberg's Epic," Representations, Fall 2007, no. 100.
- "'Brokeback Mountain': An Exchange", The New York Review of Books, April 6, 2006.
- "Oy", Filmmaker, March 24, 2006.
- "Aesthetic Identities: A Response to Kenneth Chan and Christina Klein", Cinema Journal, Summer 2004, Volume 43, Number 4.
- "Dreyer's Textual Realism." Rites of Realism: Essays on Corporeal Cinema, Ivone Margulies, ed., Duke UP, 2003.
- "Sing to Us, Muse, of the Rage of the Hulk", The New York Times, May 11, 2003.
- "Whatever Happened to B Movies?", Filmmaker (magazine), Fall, 2002 (reprinted from The Off Hollywood Report, Fall 1990).
- "A Rant." The End of Cinema As We Know It: American Film in the Nineties, Jon Lewis, ed., NYU Press, 2002.
- "Fragments Towards an Introduction to Elia Sulieman's Chronicles." Filmmaker, Winter 2002.
- "16 Fragments on Auteur Theory, or Sarris's Revenge." Citizen Sarris: American Film Critic, Emanuel Levy, ed., Scarecrow Press, 2001.
- "Talking Pictures", Filmmaker, Winter, 2001.
- "HOLIDAY FILMS; The Polyglot Task of Writing the Global Film", The New York Times, November 5, 2000.
- "IFP Rant", Filmmaker, Spring, 2000.
- "The Pursuit of Happiness: Making an Art of Marketing an Explosive Film", The Nation, April 5–12, 1999.
- "20 Fragments on the Art of Screenwriting." Scenario, Summer 1996.
- "Long Live Indie Film", Filmmaker, Fall, 1995.
Profiles and interviews
- "Indignation director James Schamus: Film is Dead, And That's Okay" Indiewire. August 1, 2016.
- "Indignation Interview" Indiewire. February, 2016.
- "James Schamus Directing Debut Indignation Wins Over Sundance Audience" The Wrap. January 24, 2016.
- "Indignation: Sundance Review" The Hollywood Reporter. January 25, 2016.
- "Accidental CEO The College. Summer 2014.
- "Case Study: James Schamus", Produced By. October 2014.
- "James Schamus: 'The job is an ego crushing ass-kick to the soul. I love it!'", The Guardian. January 28, 2014.
- "On James Schamus and Focus Features", Filmmaker. October 3, 2013.
- "The Man Behind the Movies", California Magazine (Cal Alumni Association). Fall, 2013.
- "The Professor of Micropopularity", The New York Times. November 26, 2010.
- "Ang Lee + James Schamus: A Pinewood Dialogue", Museum of the Moving Image. November 9, 2007.
- "The Professor in the Back Lot", The New York Times. September 17, 2006.
- "A Conversation with Tony Kushner," On Writing (Writers Guild of America, East): New York. Fall, 2005.
- IMDB Biography Page, retrieved August 22, 2016
- McNary, Dave (March 24, 2016). "Logan Lerman's 'Indignation' Gets July Release". Retrieved August 22, 2016.
- Rotella, Carlo (November 26, 2010). "The Professor of Micropopularity". The New York Times.
The story of America, of Western culture, is often the story of queer culture, of being Jewish" — Schamus is Jewish — "of being outsiders and refugees who find a place that is the not-place.
- "James Schamus". IMDb. Retrieved August 22, 2016.
- "The Man Behind the Movies".
- "James Schamus Directorial Debut Indignation Acquired By Lionsgate's Summit Entertainment". Deadline.com. Retrieved February 7, 2016.
- "Berlinale 2014: International Jury". Berlinale. Retrieved December 31, 2013.
- "NYICFF Jury". Gkids.com. Retrieved March 23, 2012.
- "James Schamus to be Honored at San Francisco International Film Festival - MovieMaker Magazine". www.moviemaker.com. February 25, 2010. Retrieved February 8, 2023.
- "The Economy, Explored on Film". The New York Times. May 26, 2014.
- "Indignation". August 11, 2016 – via IMDb.
- Fleming, Mike Jr. (April 15, 2016). "JonBenet Ramsey Murder Case Chronicled In Kitty Green-Directed 'Casting JonBenet'". Deadline. Retrieved February 27, 2017.
- Hipes, Patrick (January 17, 2017). "'Dayveon' Clip: First Look At Sundance NEXT Opener From First-Time Director Amman Abbasi". Deadline. Retrieved February 27, 2017.
- "James Schamus, China's Meridian board 'A Prayer Before Dawn'". Retrieved February 27, 2017.
- "Festival de Cannes: The Ice Storm". festival-cannes.com. Retrieved September 21, 2009.
- Glaister, Dan (January 17, 2006). "'Brokeback Mountain rides high at the Globes'". The Guardian. Retrieved August 20, 2014.
- Germain, David (March 4, 2006). "'Brokeback' named best independent film". Associated Press (via USA Today). Retrieved April 19, 2012.
- "ShowEast to honor James Schamus with Bingham Ray Award | Film Journal International". www.filmjournal.com. Retrieved July 19, 2016.
- "James Schamus to Receive 2014 Outfest Achievement Award". Outfest. Archived from the original on August 26, 2014. Retrieved August 26, 2014.
- "2001 Hugo Awards". Hugo Awards. World Science Fiction Society. September 3, 2001. Archived from the original on May 7, 2011. Retrieved November 30, 2022.
- "Three Schools Honor Faculty, Staff and Public Figures". Columbia University. Retrieved August 20, 2014.