Berlin Fest Names Former Focus Features CEO James Schamus Jury President

James Schamus

An Oscar nominee, he ran Universal's specialty division Focus Features for more than a decade until the studio decided it wanted to make over the unit, putting FilmDistrict's Peter Schlessel in charge and sending Schamus packing.

UPDATED: Christoph Waltz, Bond producer Barbara Broccoli and French director Michel Gondry are also members of this year's Berlin jury.

The Berlin International Film Festival has named James Schamus jury president for its 64th edition, which runs Feb. 6-16.

The Oscar-nominated screenwriter and former Focus Features head will oversee Berlin's international jury, which votes on the winners of the festival's coveted Gold and Silver Bear honors, organizers announced Tuesday.

He will be joined on the Berlin jury by two-time Oscar winner Christoph Waltz, Skyfall producer Barbara Broccoli, French director Michel Gondry and Danish actress Trine Dyrholm (In a Better World). Francis Ha star Greta Gerwig, Iranian filmmaker and painter Mitra Farahani and Hong Kong action star Tony Leung complete this year's Berlin jury.

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As a screenwriter, Schamus is most closely associated with Ang Lee, having penned the script to Lee's 1993 Golden Bear winner The Wedding Banquet, as well as delivering Oscar-nominated screenplays for Brokeback Mountain (2005) and Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon (2000). As CEO of Focus Features for more than a decade, Schamus left an indelible mark on the independent film industry worldwide. He left Focus last year after a shake-up at the group prompted by Focus' quasi-merger with FilmDistrict.

Berlin took its time appointing a jury president this year. The announcement comes well after Cannes named New Zealand filmmaker Jane Campion to be jury president for this year's edition in May.

Last year's Berlin jury president was Chinese director Wong Kar Wai, whose jury awarded the 2013 Golden Bear to Romanian tragicomedy Child's Pose.

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Wes Anderson's The Grand Budapest Hotel, which opens this year's Berlin Film Festival, is one of the hot competition titles. Other contenders include Aloft, the English-language debut from Claudia Llosa, who won the Berlin Golden Bear in 2009 with The Milk of Sorrow; Alain Resnais' Life of Riley; '71, from British director Yann Demange; the Greek drama Stratos, from director Yannis Economides; and The Beloved Sisters, from veteran German filmmaker Dominik Graf.

George Clooney's historical drama The Monuments Men will have its world premiere out of competition in Berlin.