One of the major players of the American independent film scene in the early 1990s, James Schamus has gradually been moving toward the mainstream through a series of collaborations with Taiwanese director Ang Lee. The California native, who is on faculty at Columbia University, entered the films as a producer on Raul Ruiz's short "The Golden Boat" (1990). He became involved with Apparatus, a production company founded by indie filmmakers Christine Vachon, Todd Haynes and Barry Elsworth and served as executive producer of Haynes' acclaimed "Poison" (1991). He and Vachon have collaborated on several acclaimed films including Tom Kalin's "Swoon" (1992), a retelling of the Leopold-Loeb murders, Haynes' "Safe" (1995). about a woman with allergic reactions to her environment, and "Office Killer" (1997), photographer Cindy Sherman's feature directorial debut.