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Hamptons Film Fest Will Honor James Schamus

Photo of Peter Knegt By Peter Knegt | Indiewire June 19, 2012 at 11:10AM

The Hamptons International Film Festival has announced that Focus Features CEO James Schamus will be honored at the festival's annual industry toast.
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James Schamus
Brian Brooks Former Focus Features CEO James Schamus.

The Hamptons International Film Festival has announced that Focus Features CEO James Schamus will be honored at the festival's annual industry toast.

The event will come during the 20th anniversary edition of the fest, taking place October 5th at East Hampton Point. The festival itself runs October 4-8, 2012.

Past recipients of the honor have included Marcie Bloom, Bob Berney, Ted Hope, Wouter Barendrecht, and Ben Barenholtz.

Full press release below.

East Hampton, NY (June 18, 2012) – The  20th Annual Hamptons International Film Festival is honored to present Focus Features CEO James Schamus with this year’s Industry Toast. Mr. Schamus will be fêted by his peers on Friday, October 5th at East Hampton Point. The 20th Annual Hamptons International Film Festival will take place this year over Columbus Day Weekend, from October 4th – 8th

As a screenwriter, producer, and academic, Mr. Schamus has enjoyed a prolific career in the motion picture industry. He is Professor of Professional Practice in Columbia University’s School of the Arts, where he teaches film history and theory. Before co-founding the worldwide film company Focus Features, which is celebrating its 10th Anniversary in 2012, he served as co-president of the independent film production company Good Machine. Among the highlights of Mr. Schamus’ screenwriting career are his work on The Ice Stormand Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon, both directed by his longtime creative collaborator Ang Lee; he was Academy Award-nominated as producer on Mr. Lee’s Brokeback Mountain, which became Focus’ all-time top-grossing film.

“In the Festival’s 20th year, it is a privilege to honor James, who is such a well- respected leader in the field,”  said Hamptons International Film Festival Director Karen Arikian.  “He has had a long and influential role in the independent film world in New York and in LA. and his deep understanding of the creative process has produced some of the most riveting films of the past years. He is also a generous mentor, passing on his knowledge and experience through his teaching career at Columbia University.  There is no one more deserving of this honor.”

“It’s a great honor to be subjected to the Hamptons Roast – I mean, Toast – a now-venerable tradition that brings together a truly wonderful community of independent film lovers,” said Mr. Schamus.

The Hamptons International Film Festival Industry Toast honors those who have played a significant role in the independent film industry over the years. Past recipients have included Marcie Bloom, Bob Berney, Ted Hope, Wouter Barendrecht, and Ben Barenholtz.

ABOUT THE HAMPTONS INTERNATIONAL FILM FESTIVAL

The Hamptons International Film Festival was founded in 1993 to celebrate independent film – long, short, fiction and documentary – and to introduce a unique, varied spectrum of international films and filmmakers to the public. The Festival is committed to exhibiting films that express fresh voices and differing global perspectives, with the hope that these programs will enlighten audiences, provide invaluable exposure for filmmakers and present inspired entertainment for all. Taking place among the charming seaside historic villages of Long Island’s east end, the Hamptons International Film Festival’s intimate, informal atmosphere makes the festival an ideal destination for cinephiles. The 20th anniversary edition takes place over Columbus Day weekend, October 4th- 8th, 2012.

The Hamptons International Film Festival greatly appreciates the support from their corporate sponsors including, American Airlines, Altour, Silvercup Studios, Baume & Mercier, A&E and Gibson, Dunn & Crutcher LLP; and thanks Focus Features for its support. For more information about the Festival and its year round programs, visit www.hamptonsfilmfest.org.

ABOUT JAMES SCHAMUS AND FOCUS FEATURES

An integral contributor to the American independent film business for over two decades, James Schamus has the unique distinction of being an award-winning screenwriter and producer who is also a film executive. He is chief executive officer (CEO) of Focus Features (www.focusfeatures.com), which exists to produce, acquire and distribute original and daring films that challenge the mainstream to embrace and enjoy voices and visions from around the world that deliver global commercial success. Mr. Schamus formed Focus with David Linde in May 2002. The singular global company operates as Focus Features in North America and Focus Features International (FFI) in the rest of the world. One of the world’s leading international sales agents, FFI also encompasses international distribution, marketing and publicity. FFI has the special ability to tailor international distribution to suit each film, whether licensing distribution rights to independent companies, or securing distribution through Universal Pictures International. FFI distributes up to 10 titles annually, approximately half of which are from Focus’ considerable domestic production/release slate and half of which come from partners across the globe.

Prior to the formation of Focus, Mr. Schamus was co-president of the independent film production company Good Machine, which he co-founded in 1991. Mr. Schamus and his partners at the company produced over 40 films during an 11-year period, in partnership with filmmakers such as Ang Lee, Todd Solondz, and Nicole Holofcener. Mr. Schamus received Academy Award nominations in the Best Adapted Screenplay and Best Original Song categories for his work on Ang Lee’s Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon. The blockbuster Good Machine feature, which Mr. Schamus co-wrote and executive-produced, won 4 Academy Awards.

Mr. Schamus has had a long collaboration as writer and producer with Ang Lee on eleven feature films, with the director’s Brokeback Mountain, starring Heath Ledger and Jake Gyllenhaal, released worldwide through Focus Features. 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.

Focus’ celebrated releases have included eight more Academy Award winners: Gus Van Sant’s Milk, Sofia Coppola’s Lost in Translation(which grossed over $100 million worldwide), Roman Polanski’s The Pianist, Mike Mills’ Beginners, Fernando Meirelles’ The Constant Gardener, Michel Gondry’s Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind, Walter Salles’ The Motorcycle Diaries, and Joe Wright’s Atonement; and Henry Selick’s Coraline, Cary Fukunaga’s Sin Nombreand Jane Eyre, Joel and Ethan Coen’s Burn After Reading(which grossed over $155 million worldwide) and A Serious Man, Martin McDonagh’s In Bruges, Joe Wright’s Pride & Prejudiceand Hanna, Todd Haynes’ Far from Heaven, François Ozon’s Swimming Pool, Alejandro González Iñárritu’s 21 Grams, and Tomas Alfredson’s Tinker, Tailor, Soldier, Spy.

Domestically, the Focus Features slate includes Moonrise Kingdom, the new feature from Wes Anderson, starring Bruce Willis, Edward Norton, Bill Murray, Frances McDormand, Tilda Swinton, and Jason Schwartzman; Lorene Scafaria’s Seeking a Friend for the End of the World, starring Steve Carell and Keira Knightley; Sam Fell and Chris Butler’s ParaNorman, the new 3D stop-motion comedy thriller from animation company LAIKA; Jamie Travis’ contemporary comedy For a Good Time, Call…, starring Ari Graynor and Lauren Anne Miller; Closed Circuit, the suspense thriller directed by John Crowley and starring Eric Bana and Rebecca Hall; Paul Weitz’s comedy/drama Admission, starring Tina Fey and Paul Rudd; Gus Van Sant’s Promised Land, the contemporary drama written by and starring Matt Damon and John Krasinski;the historical tale Hyde Park on Hudson, directed by Roger Michell and starring Academy Award nominees Bill Murray and Laura Linney; and Joe Wright’s epic love story Anna Karenina, starring Keira Knightley, Jude Law, and Aaron Johnson.

One of the world’s leading international sales agents, FFI also encompasses international distribution, marketing and publicity. FFI has the special ability to tailor international distribution to suit each film, whether licensing distribution rights to independent companies, or securing distribution through Universal Pictures International.

FFI distributes up to 10 titles annually, approximately half of which are from Focus’ considerable domestic production/release slate and half of which come from partners across the globe. In addition to those previously mentioned titles, the FFI slate includes Woody Allen’sTo Rome with Love, starring Woody Allen, Alec Baldwin, Roberto Benigni, Penélope Cruz, Judy Davis, Jesse Eisenberg, Greta Gerwig, and Ellen Page; Arthur Newman, Golf Pro, the comedy starring Colin Firth and Emily Blunt for director Dante Ariola; Academy Award-nominated filmmaker Ruairi Robinson’s thriller The Last Days on Mars; Mike Flanagan’s horror tale Oculus; Andrew Adamson’s drama Mr. Pip, based on the celebrated novel and starring Hugh Laurie; and the epic fantasy Cloud Atlas, starring two-time Academy Award winner Tom Hanks for writer/directors Tom Tykwer and Andy and Lana Wachowski.

Focus Features and Focus Features International are part of NBCUniversal, one of the world’s leading media and entertainment companies in the development, production, and marketing of entertainment, news, and information to a global audience. NBCUniversal owns and operates a valuable portfolio of news and entertainment television networks, a premier motion picture company, significant television production operations, a leading television stations group, and world-renowned theme parks. Comcast Corporation owns a controlling 51% interest in NBCUniversal, with GE holding a 49% stake.

This article is related to: James Schamus, Hamptons International Film Festival





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