Gala Honoree: James D. Stern
James D. Stern is the Chief Executive Officer of Endgame Entertainment. He founded Endgame as a private entertainment financing and production fund in February 2003. During its first iteration, Endgame specialized in production, financing of third party projects, and late stage financial investments. In 2006, due to the success of the first fund, Endgame raised additional capital and became an operating company with an increased focus on full scale production.
Since its inception, Endgame has financed or co-financed 25 films, 14 Broadway shows, and a children’s television series. During that time, Endgame’s value has appreciated dramatically and it is now one of the fastest climbing new companies in Hollywood.
Endgame recently wrapped production on “The Hungry Rabbit Jumps,” directed by Roger Donaldson and starring Nicolas Cage, January Jones, Guy Pearce, Jennifer Carpenter, and Harold Perrineau. Recent releases include last year’s “An Education” (Sony Pictures Classics) starring Carey Mulligan, Peter Sarsgaard, Alfred Molina, Emma Thompson, Dominic Cooper, Rosamund Pike, and Olivia Williams, which garnered three Academy Award nominations including Best Picture and Best Actress. Another recent release is the acclaimed documentary “Every Little Step” about the making and revival of Broadway’s beloved musical A Chorus Line (Sony Pictures Classics). Co-produced and co-directed by Stern, “Every Little Step” crossed the $1.7 million mark at the box office and became one of the year’s biggest specialty division documentaries in addition to being shortlisted for an Academy Award.
Other recent titles include Summit’s caper comedy “The Brothers Bloom” starring Rachel Weisz, Adrien Brody, and Mark Ruffalo, and Sony Pictures Classics’ “Easy Virtue,” directed by Stephan Elliott and starring Jessica Biel, Ben Barnes, Kristin Scott Thomas, and Colin Firth. Previous Endgame releases include the Bob Dylan biopic “I’m Not There,” directed by Todd Haynes and featuring an Oscar nominated performance by Cate Blanchett as well as performances by Christian Bale, Richard Gere, and the late Heath Ledger. Earlier films include “Hotel Rwanda” and “Lord of War” for Lionsgate, “Proof” for Miramax, “White Noise” for Universal, “Stay Alive” for Hollywood Pictures, and the New Line comedy “Harold and Kumar go to White Castle.”
Mr. Stern also directed and produced “The Year of the Yao” (New Line), a documentary about Yao Ming’s first year in the NBA as well as the political documentary “So Goes the Nation” (IFC), which examined the American electoral system and the 2004 Presidential campaign. Before starting Endgame, Mr. Stern directed and produced IMAX hit “Michael Jordan to the Max” and HBO’s darkly comic psychological thriller “It’s the Rage” starring Joan Allen, Gary Sinise, and Jeff Daniels, which garnered Best Picture, Best Director, and Best Screenplay awards at the Milan Film Festival.
During Mr. Stern’s illustrious theatrical career, he has produced 15 Broadway and off Broadway shows, including the current revival of Stephen Sondheim’s A Little Night Music starring Catherine Zeta-Jones and Angela Lansbury, Will Ferrell’s record-breaking You’re Welcome America, Stomp, Little Shop of Horrors, The Wedding Singer, Legally Blonde, and multiple Tony winners The Producers and Hairspray. Upcoming theatrical projects include the musical adaptation of the film “Leap of Faith” with music by Alan Menkin (Beauty & the Beast, The Little Mermaid, Little Shop of Horrors, Aladdin).
In addition to his producing and directing career, Mr. Stern founded and ran the financial investment company Stern Joint Venture, L.P. (“SJV”), a hedge fund “fund of funds.” Under his leadership SJV has compounded an annual rate of return of 19.75% since its inception in 1989. SJV began investing with five hedges and has grown in size and scope to investments in 45 hedge funds.
Mr. Stern has a B.A. in directing from the University of Michigan and an MBA in marketing and finance from Columbia University.