James Schamus Honored By Outfest

While the exit of James Schamus from Focus Features was abrupt and unceremonious, his taste for tolerance hasn’t been forgotten. Outfest, the Los Angeles-based nonprofit organization promoting equality by creating, sharing, and protecting LGBT stories on the screen, will present Schamus with the 18th annual Outfest Achievement Award for a body of films including Brokeback Mountain, Milk and others. It’s the group’s highest honor and will be presented prior to the Outfest Los Angeles LGBT Film Festival’s Opening Night Gala screening of Life Partners on July 10 at the Orpheum Theatre in Los Angeles.

brokeback mountain“The scope and the depth of James’s work as a writer, producer and studio head, has had a tremendous impact on the LGBT community,” said Kirsten Schaffer, Outfest Executive Director. “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.”

Schamus joins past award winners including Kimberly Peirce, John Waters, Jane Lynch, Bill Condon, Fenton Bailey and Randy Barbato, Don Roos, Donna Deitch, Kenneth Anger, Gregg Araki, Todd Haynes, Jane Anderson, Christine Vachon, Rob Epstein and Jeffrey Friedman, Gus Van Sant, Ian McKellen, John Schlesinger, and Strand Releasing.

  1. What does it mean to have a “taste for tolerance”? Do you mean that James Schamus likes making films where factions of folks are tolerated? That sounds rather moral to me and I consider James Schamus to be a man of distinction and great character. What I think his films do are that they look past moralization and embody our humanity. I would say instead he has a taste for identity issues, authentic self-expression and exploring our humanity in all its facets, with an emphasis on the good of man/woman.

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