James Schamus is chief executive officer (CEO) of Focus Features (www.focusfeatures.com), a motion picture production, financing, and worldwide distribution company committed to bringing moviegoers the most original stories from the world’s most innovative filmmakers. Mr. Schamus formed Focus with David Linde in May 2002.
An integral contributor to the American independent film business for over a decade, Mr. Schamus has the unique distinction of being an award-winning screenwriter and producer who is also a film executive.
Mr. Schamus has had a long collaboration as writer and producer with Ang Lee on ten feature films, with the director’s Brokeback Mountain, starring Heath Ledger and Jake Gyllenhaal, released worldwide through Focus. The film is Focus’ all-time top-grosser, with global ticket sales of over $180 million. Brokeback Mountain, on which Mr. Schamus served as a producer, won, among other honors, 3 Academy Awards; 4 Golden Globe Awards; 4 BAFTA Awards; and the Producers Guild of America’s top prize, the [Darryl F. Zanuck] Producer of the Year Award, Theatrical Motion Pictures.
In addition to Brokeback Mountain, Focus’ other celebrated releases have included five more Academy Award winners, Roman Polanski’s The Pianist, Sofia Coppola’s Lost in Translation, Fernando Meirelles’ The Constant Gardener, and Michel Gondry’s Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind, and Walter Salles’ The Motorcycle Diaries; and Joe Wright’s Pride & Prejudice, Todd Haynes’ Far from Heaven, François Ozon’s Swimming Pool, and Alejandro González Iñárritu’s 21 Grams.
Mr. Schamus is also Associate Professor in Columbia University’s School of the Arts, and he currently serves on the board of directors of Creative Capital. He was the 2006 Presidential Fellow in the Humanities at the University of Chicago, and received his Ph.D. in English from U.C. Berkeley in 2003.
Source: University Programs and Events Planning Resources, November 2006