James Schamus

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 former CEO of motion picture production, financing, and worldwide distribution company Focus Features, a subsidiary of NBCUniversal.

James Schamus
James Schamus 2016.jpg
Schamus in 2016
James Allan Schamus[1]

(1959-09-07) September 7, 1959 (age 62)[1]
Alma materUniversity of California, Berkeley
  • Producer
  • screenwriter
  • director
Spouse(s)Nancy Kricorian (2 children)

Life and careerEdit

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 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. 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] In May 2015, it was announced that Symbolic Exchange signed a first-look deal with Beijing's Meridian Entertainment.[10]

Film creditsEdit

Year Film Director Producer Writer Notes
1990 The Golden Boat No Yes No
1991 Pushing Hands No Yes Yes Also additional scenes
1993 The Wedding Banquet No Yes Yes
1994 Eat Drink Man Woman No Yes Yes Associate producer
1995 Sense and Sensibility No Yes No
1996 She's the One No Yes No
Walking and Talking No Yes No
1997 The Ice Storm No Yes Yes Prix du Scénario (Best Screenplay Award)[11]
Nominated – BAFTA Award for Best Adapted Screenplay
Nominated – Writers Guild of America Award for Best Adapted Screenplay
1999 Ride with the Devil No Yes Yes
2000 Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon No executive Yes Also songwriter;
Nominated – Academy Award for Best Adapted Screenplay
Nominated – Academy Award for Best Original Song
Nominated – BAFTA Award for Best Adapted Screenplay
Nominated – Writers Guild of America Award for Best Adapted Screenplay
2003 Hulk No Yes Yes
2005 Brokeback Mountain No Yes No BAFTA Award for Best Film
Golden Globe Award for Best Motion Picture – Drama[12]
Independent Spirit Award for Best Film[13]
Nominated – Academy Award for Best Picture
2007 Lust, Caution No Yes Yes Also songwriter;
Nominated – Golden Globe Award for Best Foreign Language Film
2009 Taking Woodstock No Yes Yes
2014 That Film About Money[14] Yes Yes Yes Short film
2015 Alone in Berlin No Yes No
2016 Indignation[15] Yes Yes Yes Directorial debut
2017 Casting JonBenet[16] No Yes No
2019 Adam No Yes No
The Tomorrow Man No Yes No
The Assistant No Yes No
2022 The King's Daughter No No Yes

Executive producer only

Career recognition and honorsEdit



  • 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 articlesEdit

Profiles and interviewsEdit


  1. ^ a b IMDB Biography Page, retrieved August 22nd, 2016
  2. ^ 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.”
  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. ^ Glaister, Dan (January 17, 2006). "'Brokeback Mountain rides high at the Globes'". The Guardian. Retrieved August 20, 2014.
  13. ^ Germain, David (March 4, 2006). "'Brokeback' named best independent film". Associated Press (via USA Today). Retrieved April 19, 2012.
  14. ^ "The Economy, Explored on Film". The New York Times. 26 May 2014.
  15. ^ "Indignation". 11 August 2016 – via IMDb.
  16. ^ Fleming, Mike Jr. (2016-04-15). "JonBenet Ramsey Murder Case Chronicled In Kitty Green-Directed 'Casting JonBenet'". Deadline. Retrieved 2017-02-27.
  17. ^ Hipes, Patrick (2017-01-17). "'Dayveon' Clip: First Look At Sundance NEXT Opener From First-Time Director Amman Abbasi". Deadline. Retrieved 2017-02-27.
  18. ^ "James Schamus, China's Meridian board 'A Prayer Before Dawn'". Retrieved 2017-02-27.
  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 linksEdit