Focus Features, the indie specialty unit at Universal Pictures, launched in 2002 at the Cannes Film Festival. It was helmed by James Schamus and David Linde, but now that Linde is Universal's co-chairman, all eyes are on Schamus to keep Focus in its winning streak (they received 16 Academy Award nominations and 4 wins in 2005). Schamus will not only oversee Focus' international financing and distribution channels, but also develop specialized and animated films, as well as manage Focus' genre label, Rogue Pictures.
As a fan of the former Good Machine, Schamus' first indie production company, I'm willing to bet that Focus will stay on top of the specialized film division market. It was with Good Machine that Ang Lee and Schamus began their successful collaborations, and that Schamus and Ted Hope set about advancing the art of international financing to fund artistically riskier films at home. Schamus, who holds a Ph.D. in Film Studies from U.C. Berkeley, appears to be a mix of scholar and savvy businessman: he's a widely published film historian and theorist, and he executive-produced several Good Machine features that won the Grand Jury Prize at the Sundance Film Festival, including Edward Burns' The Brothers McMullen, Tom Noonan's What Happened Was. . . , and Todd Haynes' Poison.

categories Movies, Cinematical