James Schamus Partners With Black List to Discover Horror Screenwriter

James SchamusSymbolic Exchange and the Black List are partnering to find an emerging screenwriter who would write an original horror film, Variety has learned exclusively.

The project would fall within the Writers Guild of America’s low-budget guidelines. The Black List has similar partnerships with The Picture Company and Studiocanal, Warner Bros., Disney and the National Football League.

As of Wednesday, writers will be able to opt into consideration for the opportunity by hosting their script on the Black List’s website and indicating their interest in working with Symbolic Exchange. Joe Pirro, head of production for Symbolic Exchange, will oversee the development of the chosen project.

“Some of the most artful, smart, and challenging independent films of the past few years have revisited the horror genre from new perspectives,” Schamus said. “We’re excited to encourage emerging writers to keep pushing the creative envelope, while, of course, scaring the daylights out of us.”

Schamus, the former Focus Features chief, started Symbolic Exchange last year and partnered with China-based Meridian Entertainment in a financing deal. He also made his feature film directorial debut with an adaptation of Philip Roth’s “Indignation,” which premiered at Sundance.

Schamus is also known for his long collaboration with Ang Lee, writing many of the screenplays for the director’s works, such as “Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon” and “The Ice Storm.”

Franklin Leonard, founder of the Black List, said, “I’ve been an admirer of James Schamus and his work since long before I started working in the film industry. It’s an enormous honor for the Black List to partner with Symbolic Exchange on this process, especially since it’s highly likely that it will result in an exciting new writer developing an incredible horror project with one of my idols.”

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