James Schamus was elected to a three-year term on the Crandell Theatre board at its January annual meeting. Schamus, who has had a home in Columbia County for 25 years, is a longtime supporter of the Crandell, and was honored at the 2018 FilmColumbia festival. By providing FilmColumbia with advance screenings of films he produced, such as Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon, The Pianist, and Brokeback Mountain, Schamus helped anchor the young festival with quality cinema.
“By adding his invaluable perspective to our film programming efforts, James Schamus will help us navigate these changing and challenging times in the film industry,” said Crandell Board President Lydia Kukoff. “He has shown himself to be fully engaged in the issues of maintaining and sustaining the Crandell as a vital presence in the Chatham community.”
“People-supported theaters such as the Crandell are not just crucial to the future of film art, they are essential to the health and vibrancy of our local communities,” Schamus added. “As a shared space of discovery and celebration, the Crandell draws in and radiates outward the best of our town and region.”
Schamus is an award-winning screenwriter (The Ice Storm), producer (Brokeback Mountain), and former CEO of Focus Features (Dallas Buyers Club, Lost in Translation, Milk, The Pianist). His feature directorial debut, an adaptation of Philip Roth’s Indignation, starring Logan Lerman, Sarah Gadon, and Tracy Letts, premiered at the Sundance and Berlin Film Festivals in 2016, and was released by Roadside Attractions. The film had an advanced screening at the Crandell prior to its nationwide premiere. Schamus created, executive produced, and was showrunner on last year’s hit Mexican limited series for Netflix, Somos. Recent works from his New York-based production company, Symbolic Exchange, include Kitty Green’s The Assistant, starring Julia Garner; Andrew Ahn’s Driveways, starring Hong Chau and the late Brian Dennehy; and Rhys Ernst’s award-winning trans comedy Adam, starring Margaret Qualley. Schamus is Professor of Professional Practice in Columbia University’s School of the Arts, where he teaches film history and theory.