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Matthew C. Blank and James Schamus Moving Image Musueum tribute

Herbert S. Schlosser, Chairman of the Board of Trustees of the Museum of the Moving Image, announced today that Matthew C. Blank, Chairman and Chief Executive Officer of Showtime Networks, and James Schamus, Chief Executive Officer of Focus Features, will be honored at the Museum’s annual black-tie benefit on Wednesday, April 30, 2008, at The St. Regis Hotel. Each year, the Museum honors two leaders in the entertainment industry whose vision and innovations have dramatically influenced the moving image.

Ron Meyer, President and Chief Operating Officer of Universal Studios, and Leslie Moonves, President and Chief Executive Officer of CBS Corporation, are the Dinner co-chairs.

Mr. Schlosser stated, “Both Matt Blank and James Schamus have had enormous success in transforming the face of mainstream American entertainment. The Museum of the Moving Image is proud and privileged to recognize these two executives for their positive and lasting contributions to the cable and motion-picture industries.”

Matt Blank, in a career spanning three decades, has made a significant and indelible mark on the cable television industry. He has been with Showtime since 1988, becoming Chairman and CEO in 1995. Under his leadership, the network has become one of the most successful cable channels in the industry with critically acclaimed and popular original series including The Tudors, Weeds, Dexter, Californication, Brotherhood, This American Life, The L Word, and Tracey Ullman’s State of the Union, a new sketch comedy premiering March 30. Other groundbreaking projects over the years have included the series Soul Food and Queer as Folk and films such as Maya Angelou’s Down in the Delta and the Academy Award-winning Gods and Monsters, both of which received theatrical releases. Showtime has also aired films that audiences would not have had a chance to see otherwise, such as Adrian Lyne’s Lolita and Bastard Out of Carolina directed by Anjelica Huston. Blank joined Showtime as Executive Vice President for Marketing and became President and Chief Operating Officer in 1991. Previously, he was at Home Box Office for 12 years. In addition to being a Museum Trustee, Matt Blank serves on the Board of Directors of the Harlem Children’s Zone, the Creative Coalition, and PENCIL.

An integral contributor to the American independent film business for over two decades, James Schamus has the unique distinction of being an award-winning screenwriter and producer who is also a film executive. He is CEO of Focus Features, a motion picture production, financing, and worldwide distribution company committed to bringing moviegoers the most original stories from the world’s most innovative filmmakers. He formed Focus with David Linde in 2002. Schamus has had a long collaboration as writer and producer with Oscar-winning director Ang Lee on ten feature films, including Brokeback Mountain and Lust, Caution, both of which were released worldwide through Focus. In addition to Brokeback Mountain (for which Schamus, as producer, was a Golden Globe Award winner and Academy Award nominee), Focus’s Academy Award-winning films have included The Constant Gardner, Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind, Lost in Translation, The Motorcycle Diaries, and The Pianist. Earlier this year, Focus’s Atonement was nominated for seven Oscars including Best Picture, winning for Best Original Score. Prior to the formation of Focus, Schamus was co-president and co-founder of the independent film production company Good Machine, which was recently honored with a 10-year retrospective at the Museum of Modern Art. James Schamus is also Professor in Columbia University’s School of the Arts, where he teaches film history and theory; and he currently serves on the board of directors of Creative Capital.

Rochelle Slovin, director of the Museum said, “Funds raised at this gala dinner will help support the Museum’s education programs and the building of a new education center. These programs serve thousands of students and teachers each year, offering them fresh perspectives on the study of history, social studies, literature, mathematics, and science. The expansion will allow the Museum to serve even more students and to offer new programs.”

Museum of the Moving Image ( is dedicated to advancing the public understanding and appreciation of the art, history, technique, and technology of film, television, and digital media. It does so by collecting, preserving, and providing access to the nation’s largest permanent collection of moving image artifacts; screening significant films and other moving-image works; presenting exhibitions of artifacts, artworks, and interactive experiences; and offering educational and interpretive programs to students, teachers, and the general public. A major expansion and renovation, scheduled for completion in 2009, will add new film theaters, galleries, and an education center.


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