“Don’t learn too much from your mistakes in this business.” Half-way through our week of “Mistakes", we find a guiding light in producer and writer extraordinaire James Schamus (The Ice Storm, Brokeback Mountain) who takes to the floor to broaden our minds about the many states of failure. In his own screenwriting practise, James favours those he calls the “nobodies” of a story. But who are the nobodies of interest in film and have we mistakenly relegated them to the side-lines? Definitely no stranger to a film industry in which he has worked for nearly thirty years, and being the lateral thinker that he is, James offers an insightful presentation, soberly titled, “Killing It: Career Suicide.”
James Schamus is an award-winning screenwriter (THE ICE STORM), producer (BROKEBACK MOUNTAIN), and former CEO of Focus Features (DALLAS BUYERS CLUB, LOST IN TRANSLATION, MILK, THE PIANIST). He also teaches film history and theory at Columbia University. His feature directorial debut, an adaptation of Philip Roth’s “Indignation”, premiered at the 2016 Berlinale. His production company Symbolic Exchange produced Kitty Green’s documentary CASTING JONBENET (Berlinale Panorama 2017) and Andrew Ahn’s DRIVEWAYS (Berlinale Generation 2019).
Ben Gibson is the director of the DFFB film school in Berlin. He was previously director of degree programmes at the Australian Film, Television and Radio School and a visiting professor at Goldsmiths. From 2001 to 2014, he was director of the London Film School. He is a former independent producer and was head of production at the British Film Institute from 1988 to 1998. Before that he was a distributor, exhibitor, theatre director, film critic and journalist.