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.[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]

Awards and nominations

Academy Awards

BAFTA Awards

Cannes Film Festival

Independent Spirit Awards

Golden Globes

Writers Guild of America Awards

Career Recognition and Honors



  • 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

Profiles and interviews

Film credits


  1. ^ a b IMDB Biography Page, retrieved August 22nd, 2016
  2. ^ https://www.nytimes.com/2010/11/28/magazine/28Schamus-t.html?mcubz=1
  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. ^ "Festival de Cannes: The Ice Storm". festival-cannes.com. Retrieved 2009-09-21. 
  12. ^ Germain, David (March 4, 2006). "'Brokeback' named best independent film". Associated Press (via USA Today). Retrieved April 19, 2012. 
  13. ^ Glaister, Dan (January 17, 2006). "'Brokeback Mountain rides high at the Globes'". The Guardian. Retrieved August 20, 2014. 
  14. ^ "ShowEast to honor James Schamus with Bingham Ray Award Film Journal International". www.filmjournal.com. Retrieved 2016-07-19. 
  15. ^ "James Schamus to Receive 2014 Outfest Achievement Award". Outfest. Archived from the original on August 26, 2014. Retrieved August 26, 2014. 
  16. ^ "Three Schools Honor Faculty, Staff and Public Figures". Columbia University. Retrieved August 20, 2014. 
  17. ^ "The Economy, Explored on Film". The New York Times. 26 May 2014. 
  18. ^ "Indignation". 11 August 2016 – via IMDb. 
  19. ^ Hipes, Patrick (2017-01-17). "'Dayveon' Clip: First Look At Sundance NEXT Opener From First-Time Director Amman Abbasi". Deadline. Retrieved 2017-02-27. 
  20. ^ Jr, Mike Fleming (2016-04-15). "JonBenet Ramsey Murder Case Chronicled In Kitty Green-Directed 'Casting JonBenet'". Deadline. Retrieved 2017-02-27. 
  21. ^ "James Schamus, China's Meridian board 'A Prayer Before Dawn'". Retrieved 2017-02-27. 

External links