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One of the interesting developments in Arabic-language cinema over the past decade or so has been the proliferation of genre – road movies, coming-of-age dramas and the like – narrative models largely designed by and for American cinema.For award-winning American screenwriter/producer/director James Schamus the utility of genre is obvious.Schamus is best known for his long collaboration with Ang Lee, working with the Taiwanese director on nine films. He produced and co-wrote "Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon," 2000, which won four Academy Awards and remains the highest-grossing non-English-language film in the U.S. Schamus co-founded the U.S. production company Good Machine in the early 1990s.First-time filmmakers have been on Schamus' mind these days.Over the course of its six days, participants do little else but discuss film.Schamus opened Qumra 2016 with a projection of "Crouching Tiger". The following afternoon Schamus conducted a lively master class with film scholar Richard Pena. Schamus says that at this point it was impossible to say whether the acquisition was a good idea or not.Schamus is also professor of professional practice at Columbia University's school of the arts, where he teaches film history and theory.This wide-ranging experience, and a fondness for storytelling, are all brought to bear in conversation which, on this day, alights upon the flexibility of genre film, specifically the Western.
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