James Schamus

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James Schamus
James Schamus 2016.jpg
Schamus at the Monclair Film Festival, 2016
James Allan Schamus[1]

(1959-09-07) September 7, 1959 (age 59)[1]
Alma materUniversity of California, Berkeley
OccupationProducer, Screenwriter, Director
Spouse(s)Nancy Kricorian (2 children)

James Allan Schamus (born September 7, 1959) is an American screenwriter, co-founder of Good Machine production company, and the CEO of Focus Features, the motion picture production, financing, and worldwide distribution company, until its merging with FilmDistrict.

Life and career[edit]

Schamus was born in Detroit, Michigan, to a Jewish family.[2] 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.[3]

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 the upcoming Alone in Berlin. At Focus he oversaw the production and distribution of Lost in Translation, Milk, Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind, Coraline, The Kids Are All Right. He is Professor of Professional Practice in Columbia University's School of the Arts, where he teaches film history and theory. 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.[4]

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.[5] The film premiered at the 2016 Sundance Film Festival, and was theatrically released by Roadside Attractions on July 29, 2016.[6]

Schamus participates as a member of the Jury for the NYICFF, a local New York City Film Festival dedicated to screening films for children between the ages of 3 and 18.[7] He was president of the jury for the 64th Berlin International Film Festival.[8]

Schamus founded Symbolic Exchange, a film development company based in New York City.[9] On May 2015, it was announced that Symbolic Exchange signed a first-look deal with Beijing's Meridian Entertainment.[10]

Film credits[edit]

Year Film Producer Writer Directed by Notes
1990 The Golden Boat Yes No Raoul Ruiz
1991 Poison executive No Todd Haynes
Pushing Hands Yes Yes Ang Lee Also additional scenes
1992 Swoon executive No Tom Kalin
1993 The Wedding Banquet Yes Yes Ang Lee
1994 Eat Drink Man Woman Yes Yes Associate producer
1995 Safe executive No Todd Haynes
Sense and Sensibility Yes No Ang Lee
1996 She's the One Yes No Edward Burns
Walking and Talking Yes No Nicole Holofcener
1997 The Ice Storm Yes Yes Ang Lee
1998 Happiness executive No Todd Solondz
1999 Ride with the Devil Yes Yes Ang Lee
Lola and Billy the Kid executive No Kutluğ Ataman
2000 Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon executive Yes Ang Lee
2001 Buffalo Soldiers executive No Gregor Jordan
2002 Auto Focus executive No Paul Schrader
2003 Hulk Yes Yes Ang Lee
2005 Brokeback Mountain Yes No
2007 Lust, Caution Yes Yes
2009 Taking Woodstock Yes Yes
2014 That Film About Money[11] Yes Yes Himself Short film
2015 Suffragette executive No Sarah Gavron
Junction 48 executive No Udi Aloni
Alone in Berlin Yes No Vincent Perez
2016 Indignation[12] Yes Yes Himself Directorial Debut
The King's Daughter No Yes Sean McNamara
2017 Dayveon[13] executive No Amman Abbasi
Casting JonBenet[14] Yes No Kitty Green
A Prayer Before Dawn[15] executive No Jean-Stéphane Sauvaire
2018 Furlough executive No Laurie Collyer

Awards and nominations[edit]

Academy Awards[edit]

BAFTA Awards[edit]

Cannes Film Festival[edit]

Independent Spirit Awards[edit]

Golden Globes[edit]

Writers Guild of America Awards[edit]

Career Recognition and Honors[edit]



  • 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[edit]

Profiles and interviews[edit]


  1. ^ a b IMDB Biography Page, retrieved August 22nd, 2016
  2. ^ https://www.nytimes.com/2010/11/28/magazine/28Schamus-t.html
  3. ^ "James Schamus". IMDb. Retrieved 2016-08-22.
  4. ^ "The Man Behind the Movies".
  5. ^ "James Schamus Directorial Debut Indignation Acquired By Lionsgate's Summit Entertainment". Deadline.com. Retrieved 2016-02-07.
  6. ^ McNary, Dave (March 24, 2016). "Logan Lerman's 'Indignation' Gets July Release". Retrieved 2016-08-22.
  7. ^ "NYICFF Jury". Gkids.com. Retrieved 2012-03-23.
  8. ^ "Berlinale 2014: International Jury". Berlinale. Retrieved 2013-12-31.
  9. ^ McNary, Dave (2015-05-27). "Ex-Focus Head James Schamus Teaming With China's Meridian Entertainment". Variety. Retrieved 2017-09-14.
  10. ^ "James Schamus' Symbolic Exchange Pacts With China's Meridian Entertainment". The Hollywood Reporter. Retrieved 2017-09-14.
  11. ^ "The Economy, Explored on Film". The New York Times. 26 May 2014.
  12. ^ "Indignation". 11 August 2016 – via IMDb.
  13. ^ Hipes, Patrick (2017-01-17). "'Dayveon' Clip: First Look At Sundance NEXT Opener From First-Time Director Amman Abbasi". Deadline. Retrieved 2017-02-27.
  14. ^ Jr, Mike Fleming (2016-04-15). "JonBenet Ramsey Murder Case Chronicled In Kitty Green-Directed 'Casting JonBenet'". Deadline. Retrieved 2017-02-27.
  15. ^ "James Schamus, China's Meridian board 'A Prayer Before Dawn'". Retrieved 2017-02-27.
  16. ^ "Festival de Cannes: The Ice Storm". festival-cannes.com. Retrieved 2009-09-21.
  17. ^ Germain, David (March 4, 2006). "'Brokeback' named best independent film". Associated Press (via USA Today). Retrieved April 19, 2012.
  18. ^ Glaister, Dan (January 17, 2006). "'Brokeback Mountain rides high at the Globes'". The Guardian. Retrieved August 20, 2014.
  19. ^ "ShowEast to honor James Schamus with Bingham Ray Award | Film Journal International". www.filmjournal.com. Retrieved 2016-07-19.
  20. ^ "James Schamus to Receive 2014 Outfest Achievement Award". Outfest. Archived from the original on August 26, 2014. Retrieved August 26, 2014.
  21. ^ "Three Schools Honor Faculty, Staff and Public Figures". Columbia University. Retrieved August 20, 2014.

External links[edit]