A Fearless Storyteller: Producer Christine Vachon

Posted: September 13, 2016 at 11:38 am, Last Updated: September 22, 2016 at 9:32 am

On Wednesday, September 28, the GMU Visiting Filmmakers Series will host A Conversation with Christine Vachon, an extraordinary independent film producer. At the event, Women in Film and Video of Washington, DC (WIFV) will present Vachon with the 2016 Women of Vision Award. Vachon’s films have earned Oscars, Emmys, Golden Globes, Independent Spirit Awards, and many other accolades.

Moviegoers may not recognize the names of producers as they do actors or directors, but there’s a reason producers are the people who accept Best Picture Oscars. “Producers are the ones who get movies made, from the concept to the contracts to bankrolling the folks at the craft services table,” Vachon explains in her 2006 book A Killer Life: How an Independent Film Producer Survives Deals and Disasters in Hollywood and Beyond. “I think producing is about being fearless but also about being lucky.”[1]

For more than two decades, Vachon has proven herself fearless and made her own luck. Fellow producer Ted Hope, a frequent collaborator, says: “When Christine gets her eyes on something, she’s going to find a path to getting it done, and if that path isn’t there yet she’ll pave it herself.”[2] As an independent producer, Vachon champions first-time directors and controversial subjects without the support of the Hollywood studio system. She is committed to “movies as an art form, as an opportunity to ask questions and challenge assumptions. … I’m attracted to scripts inspired by true stories. … When you quit with the fairy tales…you make better art. You also make people a little nervous.”[3]

To date, Vachon has produced over 100 films and authored two books about her experiences. She shows no sign of slowing down. Last year, Vachon’s production company, Killer Films, celebrated its 20th anniversary and Vachon became Program Director of the Master of Fine Arts Degree in Film at Stony Brook University.[4] “It’s what I live for,” Vachon reveals, “the art of film…the flash of magic that eclipses everything.”[5]

For more information on the September 28 event, click here.

To check out Vachon’s current projects, visit the Killer Content website here.

 

Vachon films owned by the Mason Libraries or the Washington Research Library Consortium:

Poison (1991)

Swoon (1992)

Safe (1995)

I Shot Andy Warhol (1996)

Office Killer (1997)

Velvet Goldmine (1998), nominated for an Oscar

Boys Don’t Cry (1999), won an Oscar and a Golden Globe

Hedwig and the Angry Inch (2001), nominated for a Golden Globe

Chelsea Walls (2001)

Storytelling (2001)

Far from Heaven (2002), nominated for four Oscars and four Golden Globes

One Hour Photo (2002)

Dottie Gets Spanked (2004)

Infamous (2006)

I’m Not There (2007), nominated for an Oscar, won a Golden Globe

Savage Grace (2007)

Mildred Pierce (2011), won five Emmys and a Golden Globe

Still Alice (2014), won an Oscar and a Golden Globe

Carol (2015), nominated for six Oscars and five Golden Globes

 

Vachon has written two books, both of which are part memoir, part “nuts-and bolts guide for first-time producers.”

The Mason Libraries own her 2006 book, A Killer Life: How an Independent Film Producer Survives Deals and Disasters in Hollywood and Beyond

Vachon’s bestselling 1998 book, Shooting to Kill: How an Independent Producer Blasts through the Barriers to Make Movies that Matter, is available through the Washington Research Library Consortium.

 

[1] Vachon, Christine with Austin Bunn. A Killer Life: How an Independent Film Producer Survives Deals and Disasters in Hollywood and Beyond. Simon & Schuster, 2006.

[2] Quoted in Ross, Matthew. “Women’s Impact List: Christine Vachon, Film Producer.” Daily Variety, 29 July 2005, p. A10.

[3] Vachon 2006.

[4] Abramovitch, Seth. “Killer Films’ Daring Survival Instinct.” Hollywood Reporter, 2 October 2015, p. 128, 130, 132.

[5] Vachon 2006.

 

Elyse Becker is a Gateway Library staff member, film lover, book lover, and novelist who currently has 121 books and 6 films checked out from the library.

 

Write to Elyse at jbecker5@gmu.edu

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