Oscar-nominated screenwriter-producer-film executive James Schamus has a new award to place on his mantle: The Kanbar Award for Excellence in Screenwriting. The San Francisco Film Society recently announced that Schamus will receive the honor at the 53rd annual San Francisco International Film Festival, taking place April 22-May 6. The Kanbar Award will be presented to Schamus by maverick moviemaker John Waters at the Film Society Awards Thursday, April 29 at the Westin St. Francis Hotel.

“The 2010 Kanbar Award highlights the writing accomplishments of a man with a uniquely multifaceted career as a writer, producer, executive and scholar,” says Rachel Rosen, SFFS director of programming. “We’re pleased to be able to honor James Schamus, who appreciates, as does Maurice Kanbar [the Film Society member, whom the award is named after], the essential role that screenwriting plays in the genesis of a great film.”

Schamus will also be honored at the Sundance Kabuki Cinemas on Saturday, May 1, with an onstage interview with critic B. Ruby Rich to be followed by the West Coast premiere of Ang Lee’s newly-completed director’s cut of the civil war epic, Ride with the Devil (1999). Schamus wrote and produced the film, and, thus far, has collaborated with Lee on 11 features, including Eat Drink Man Woman, The Ice Storm and Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon (for which Schamus received an Academy Award nomination for Best Adapted Screenplay).

A key figure in the American independent film scene for more than two decades, James Schamus is not only an award-winning screenwriter and producer, but a successful film executive as well. Schamus is CEO and co-founder of Focus Features, which remains dedicated to releasing innovative and daring films from around the world.
Schamus is also a professor at Columbia University’s School of the Arts, where he teaches film history and theory, and currently serves on the board of directors of Creative Capital.

For tickets ($20 Film Society members/$25 general) and information on the tribute to James Schamus at Sundance Kabuki Cinemas, visit http://www.sffs.org.