Superheroes, making moviegoing a bigger event and the Hollywood writers strike were among the topics of a Monday masterclass featuring legendary independent film producer Christine Vachon that was part of the second day of the Karlovy Vary International Film Festival’s Eastern Promises Industry Day program.
One of the questions Vachon received was whether cinemas are doing enough to cultivate the moviegoing experience and audience. “What the theaters are trying to do is create a bigger experience,” she said. “It’s about creating environments that make the experience feel more like an event.”
She added: “I know in Europe this is an old hat, but in America, the idea of eating a meal or having a drink in a movie theater is still relatively new and creating an event where your seat is extraordinarily comfortable with the projections actually. decent.” Vachon then joked that “I don’t know if in New York you are ever going to get rid of the subway rumbling.”
Vachon was also asked if she ever had thoughts of making films about folks wearing spandex and saving the world. “Why would anyone have me do that?! That is not where my fantasies go,” she replied. “It would be really great if one of the movies I made a lot of money, but I’m not well suited to make a Marvel movie. I’m just not that interested.”
Is there a dream project she would like to get off the ground? “I really want to do something about the ’80s in New York,” Vachon shared. “I feel everything I’ve seen hasn’t gotten it right. I would say the ’80s bleeding into the ’90s, that period in New York City, which was a time of the extraordinary collision of art and music and cinema but also the AIDS crisis, and it was just such an insane, insane time to be there I just haven’t found that story.”
Of course, Vachon was also questioned about the Hollywood writers strike. “I remember the 2008 strike and how devastating that was,” she recalled. ”Killer (Films) barely got out of it intact. My concern is: I know a lot of young writers and how hard it is for them, especially the ones who are just getting their career started.”
She added: “Most of the demands on the table are right. The streamers have abandoned the business so much, and they’ve got to make it right. Obviously, Killer supports the writers. We’re not part of the collective bargaining group, we have no power whatsoever. We have made it our business though as a company, to be supportive of writers in every way possible — and directors, nurturing new talents. We have helped a lot of writers get their first breaks.”
The session covered the state of independent film and Vachon looking back at various famous projects she has worked on, from Boys Don’t Cry, Happiness and Velvet Goldmine.
The 57th edition of the big Czech festival, which runs through Saturday, July 8, is paying homage to Vachon and her work. By screening You Sing Loud, I Sing Louderstarring Ewan McGregor and his daughter and directed by Emma Westenberg, and Past Lives by director Celine Song, the Karlovy Vary festival said it wanted to honor “one of the most important producers of independent film” in Vachon.
Lauding her for having helped “bring to life dozens of award-winning films,” the fest highlighted her “many years working with outstanding talents in the field of independent cinema (Todd Haynes, Todd Solondz, Paul Schrader)” and producing the directorial efforts. of such stars as Helen Hunt and Ethan Hawke. In 1996, Vachon and Pamela Koffler founded Killer Films, which “today is one of the most important companies in the field of independent cinema,” the Karlovy Vary fest team also noted.
When unveiling the homage, fest organizers had also highlighted Vachon’s TV work, including on the production team that won a 2008 Emmy Award in the category of outstanding nonfiction series for This American Lifeon TV movie Mrs. Harrisand on the miniseries Mildred Piercedirected by Haynes and starring Kate Winslet, which won five Emmys.
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