The University of Chicago News Office
April 24, 1997 Press Contact: Julia Morse
(773) 702-8359

Nuveen brings producer to the University of Chicago

James Schamus, film producer of such critically acclaimed films as Sense and Sensibility, The Brothers McMullen and Eat Drink Man Woman, will kick off a new collaboration between the University of Chicago and The John Nuveen Company when he speaks at the University at 4 p.m. Friday, May 2, in the Film Studies Center Auditorium.

Schamus is the first Fellow of the Nuveen Fellows Program, a five-year venture which will explore the intersection of public culture and scholarship by bringing leaders in culture and the arts to the University for special programs and events. As creative participants in their fields, Nuveen Fellows offer distinctive insights into contemporary social, cultural and artistic life. Schamus will give a special presentation at Nuveen in addition to his lecture at the University.

“Over the years, the John Nuveen Company and its corporate officers have demonstrated their commitment in many ways to the University and to humanistic study in particular,” said Philip Gossett, Dean of the Humanities. “The Nuveen Fellowship program is a fine example of the way that a major corporation and the University can interact effectively, jointly developing programs of interest both to the corporate community and to the broader University community. We are delighted to be part of this effort and we are looking forward to the exciting visit of James Schamus to Chicago.”

Schamus’ lecture, “Narrative Rights,” will discuss what rights people have over their own biographical stories.

“Suppose I wanted to buy the rights to your life story in order to make a movie,” Schamus said, explaining the premise of his talk. “What, exactly would I be buying from you? What about the traces or echoes of your life story that will end up on the soundtrack album, theme park ride and plastic action figures I’ll inevitably produce along with the movie? And how did you get those rights to begin with?”

Schamus will explain how such property rights become legally recognized and organized and how this legal machinery affects human interactions.

Schamus co-founded the Good Machine Inc. production company in 1991 and has been involved in producing numerous award-winning films. In 1996, the Independent Feature Project honored Schamus and Good Machine partner Ted Hope with the Gotham Award for outstanding achievement in producing.

His current projects include The Ice Storm starring Kevin Kline, Sigourney Weaver and Joan Allen; Frank Grow’s digitally created experimental film Love God; Cindy Sherman’s Office Killer, starring Jeanne Triplehorn, Molly Ringwald and Carol Kane; and The Myth of Fingerprints, starring Roy Scheider, Blythe Danner, Julianne Moore and Noah Wyle.

Assistant professor of film theory, history and production at Columbia University, Schamus has written on the work of Danish filmmaker Carl Dreyer and is the author of The Apparatus Guide to No-Budget Filmaking.
Last modified at 03:50 PM CST on Wednesday, June 14, 2000.

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