Filmmaker James Schamus in Conversation at the Crandell Theatre on July 12

(Chatham, NY, July 1, 2024) — Oscar-nominated filmmaker James Schamus, well-known for his longtime collaboration with Director Ang Lee and the range of his creative roles across feature film and television, will headline the theater’s next Crandell LIVE! event on July 12. Beginning with the 7 pm screening of We Grown Now, which Schamus produced, the evening will conclude with a discussion of Director Minhal Baig’s acclaimed film and an audience Q&A.

We Grown Now follows 12-year-old best friends Malik and Eric in 1992 Chicago as they discover the joys and hardships of growing up in the infamous Cabrini-Green public housing complex (now demolished). They idolize Michael Jordan, compete in jumping contests, and play hooky at the Art Institute. When a shooting in the community challenges everything they know and love, they must face the realities of growing up fast. Written and directed by Minhal Baig, who grew up in the racially diverse Rogers Park neighborhood on Chicago’s north side, the film was nominated for three Independent Spirit Awards, including Best Feature. Baig says she wanted to make a movie that could both acknowledge the challenges of living in a place like Cabrini-Green while sharing what was beautiful and joyous about it. She won the Changemaker Award at the Toronto International Film Festival last year. “We Grown Now has precisely two, pint-sized aces up its sleeve, its astonishingly expressive little-man leads,” wrote film critic Kimberley Jones in The Austin Chronicle.

James 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, and was released by Roadside Attractions. He created, executive produced, and was showrunner on the hit Mexican limited series for Netflix, Somos. 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; Rhys Ernst’s award-winning trans comedy Adam, starring Margaret Qualley; and Mike Ott’s McVeigh, starring Alfie Allen and Tracy Letts, which premiered this month at the Tribeca Film Festival. Symbolic is currently in production on Andrew Ahn’s reboot of Ang Lee’s The Wedding Banquet, starring Bowen Yang, Lily Gladstone, Joan Chen, Kelly Marie Tran, and Youn Yuh-jung. Schamus is currently collaborating with composer Huang Ruo on an opera for The Met, and is Consulting Producer on the next TV series from the Duffer Brothers (Stranger Things). Schamus is Professor of Professional Practice in Columbia University’s School of the Arts, where he teaches film history and theory. He served last year on the negotiating committee of the Writers Guild of America during their successful five-month strike. He joined the Crandell Theatre Board of Directors in January 2023.

To reserve your ticket, visit

Crandell LIVE! now presents Q&As with celebrated actors, filmmakers, writers and special guests throughout the year, extending the spirit of October’s FilmColumbia Festival and its featured Q&As. Many of these events have been important fundraising benefits in 2023-24, as we continue to raise funds for the Crandell’s complete restoration and renovation.


About the Crandell

The Crandell Theatre in Chatham, NY, is one of a few community-based, nonprofit theaters in the United States devoted to film and one of fewer than one hundred single-screen movie theaters nationally. Since 2010, Crandell Theatre, Inc. has raised more than $1 million to purchase the historic theater and make needed repairs. The current Crandell board is engaged in a multimillion-dollar campaign to renovate and restore the area’s oldest, largest, single-screen theater and enhance the moviegoing experience for generations to come. For more information, visit, or call 518-392-3445.