James Schamus to Receive Outfest Achievement Award

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James Schamus

The former Focus Features CEO will be honored on opening night of Los Angeles' LGBT film festival.

James Schamus, a triple Oscar nominee and former CEO of Focus Features, will receive the 18th annual Outfest Achievement Award. The award will be presented to him July 10 at L.A.'s Orpheum Theatre before Outfest, the Los Angeles LGBT film festival, screens its opening-night feature Life Partners.

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“The scope and the depth of James’ work as a writer, producer and studio head has had a tremendous impact on the LGBT community,” Kirsten Schaffer, Outfest executive director, said. “He has shepherded stories and storytellers who have defined the LGBT experience for three decades — from the new queer cinema films of Tom Kalin and Todd Haynes to the boundary-pushing Pariah and from the historical insight of Milk to, of course, the iconic Brokeback Mountain.”

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Schamus, a Columbia University professor, combines distinguished scholarship with a nose for art house hits, such as the Oscar magnet Dallas Buyers Club, released shortly after he left Focus. He received a best-picture nomination for Brokeback and adapted screenplay and song nominations for Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon. He also wrote the book Carl Theodor Dreyer's Gertrud: The Moving Word.

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Previous winners include Kimberly Peirce, John Waters, Jane Lynch, Bill Condon, Gus Van Sant, Ian McKellen and John Schlesinger.