Behind each filmmaker there is sometimes an alter ego, faithful among the faithful, without whom nothing would have been possible. American producer Christine Vachon, at the head of her New York company Killer Films, with Pamela Koffler, has been supporting Todd Haynes since the end of the 1980s – just as she has produced several films by Todd Solondz and John Waters.
On the eve of the release in France of May December , Todd Haynes’ tenth feature film, with Julianne Moore and Natalie Portman, also co-producer of the film, Christine Vachon answers our questions from the American Sundance festival (Utah), temple of “indie” cinema, of which she has become a worthy representative. The year 2023 will have been prosperous for the producer, with two dramas in competition at Cannes, May December and Past Lives. Our lives before , by Celine Song.
There she appears on the computer screen, round, cheerful face, same short messy hair as in the 1980s – an old black and white photo shows Todd Haynes and Christine Vachon, smiling twenty-somethings, side by side on the roof of a brick building that could be New York. Both were born in the early 1960s, campaigned at Act Up, and Christine Vachon became, in fact, the emblem of queer cinema, telling new stories of homosexual lives shattered by AIDS. “There was a sense of urgency, and we knew that if we didn’t tell our stories, no one was going to do it for us ,” she said . I wanted to make great films that no one else was making. »
Larry Clark, Cindy Sherman…
She was the producer of the sulphurous Kids (1995), Larry Clark’s first feature film, but also of the horror film Office Killer (1997), by Cindy Sherman, as well as Boys Don’t Cry (1999), by Kimberly Peirce, inspired by the murder of a young trans man, Brandon Teena, who shook the United States. Hilary Swank’s performance in the role of the boy earned her the Oscar for Best Actress in 2000.
Christine Vachon, who grew up in New York, met Todd Haynes at Brown University in Rhode Island, but they did not become close until a few years later, and together founded the production company Apparatus. “In New York, at the end of the 1980s, there was an excitement in art, cinema, fashion, music ,” she explains . Jim Jarmusch and Spike Lee were making their first films. I also wanted to direct, I did two very experimental attempts, because I wanted to be part of this movement. Then I became more and more interested in the making of the works. »
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