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: