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
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 and Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon (all directed by Hulk Ang Lee), and producing and Brokeback Mountain . At Focus he oversaw the production and distribution of Alone in Berlin , Lost in Translation , Milk , Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind , Coraline . He is Professor of Professional Practice in The Kids Are All Right 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. 
Schamus made his feature directorial debut with
, an adaptation of Indignation 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. 
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. He was president of the jury for the  64th Berlin International Film Festival. 
Symbolic Exchange, a film development company based in New York City. On May 2015, it was announced that Symbolic Exchange signed a first-look deal with Beijing's Meridian Entertainment.  
Executive producer only
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 Theater 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
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
Writer's 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 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", , Winter 2015. Filmmaker (magazine)
"Hollywood is Not American", , October 17, 2014. The Hollywood Reporter
"James Schamus Reveals Secrets of the Oscar Voting System", , January 8, 2014. Variety (magazine) "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", , August 19, 2011. Filmmaker (magazine) "Afterword."
A Killer Life. By Christine Vachon. New York: Limelight Editions, 2007.
"The Apartment", , November 4, 2007. The New York Times "Next Year in Munich: Masculinity, Zionism and Diaspora in Spielberg's Epic,"
Representations, Fall 2007, no. 100.
"'Brokeback Mountain': An Exchange", , April 6, 2006. The New York Review of Books
"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?",
, Fall, 2002 (reprinted from Filmmaker (magazine) 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.
^ a b
, retrieved August 22nd, 2016 IMDB Biography Page
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 .
"The Man Behind the Movies".
"James Schamus Directorial Debut . Indignation Acquired By Lionsgate's Summit Entertainment" Deadline.com . Retrieved .
McNary, Dave (March 24, 2016). "Logan Lerman's 'Indignation' Gets July Release" . Retrieved .
"NYICFF Jury". Gkids.com . Retrieved .
"Berlinale 2014: International Jury". Berlinale . Retrieved .
McNary, Dave (2015-05-27). "Ex-Focus Head James Schamus Teaming With China's Meridian Entertainment". Variety . Retrieved .
"James Schamus' Symbolic Exchange Pacts With China's Meridian Entertainment". The Hollywood Reporter . Retrieved .
"Festival de Cannes: The Ice Storm". festival-cannes.com . Retrieved .
Glaister, Dan (January 17, 2006). ". 'Brokeback Mountain rides high at the Globes '" The Guardian . Retrieved 2014.
Germain, David (March 4, 2006). ". 'Brokeback' named best independent film" Associated Press (via USA Today) . Retrieved 2012.
"The Economy, Explored on Film". The New York Times. 26 May 2014.
"Indignation". 11 August 2016 – via IMDb.
Jr, Mike Fleming (2016-04-15). "JonBenet Ramsey Murder Case Chronicled In Kitty Green-Directed 'Casting JonBenet. '" Deadline . Retrieved .
Hipes, Patrick (2017-01-17). ". 'Dayveon' Clip: First Look At Sundance NEXT Opener From First-Time Director Amman Abbasi" Deadline . Retrieved .
"James Schamus, China's Meridian board 'A Prayer Before Dawn '" . Retrieved .
"ShowEast to honor James Schamus with Bingham Ray Award | Film Journal International". www.filmjournal.com . Retrieved .
"James Schamus to Receive 2014 Outfest Achievement Award". Outfest. Archived from the original on August 26, 2014 . Retrieved 2014.
"Three Schools Honor Faculty, Staff and Public Figures". Columbia University . Retrieved 2014.