I was thrilled to see Christine Vachon this evening, giving the highly-anticipated State of the Cinema address. I had never heard her speak before, and she was everything I imagined she would be: funny, witty, tough, pragmatic, engaging, unapologetic, and deeply committed to filmmakers. When she was producing films and then co-founded Killer Films in the mid-nineties, I was studying film as an undergraduate and remember clearly seeing Happiness, Poison, and Safe. For the first time I was completely exposed to that kind of filmmaking which is neither commercial nor extremely experimental. That discovery has remained with me. I have always thought of Christine Vachon as an auteur- she certainly has the daring of one (who else would have produced Todd Haynes way before he became HBO’s latest darling?). By being a purveyor of a certain kind of filmmaker and of quite singular visions, she has, in effect, framed my film consumption in a way that an auteur might with one film.
For those of you who have not seen the films she has produced, here’s a good sampling, from serious to funny: