Friday, 6 October 2006
focus on christine vachon
ACMI is proud to present Focus on Christine Vachon, celebrating the films of Christine Vachon, the highly prolific producer of some of the most original independent films to emerge in the last two decades including Kids, Happiness, Go Fish, Safe, Velvet Goldmine, Hedwig & the Angry Inch, I Shot Andy Warhol, Poison, A Dirty Shame, and the Oscar-winning Boys Don't Cry.
At a time where an 'indie film' is increasingly just a phrase used to market limited release studio product, the films produced by Killer Films - the New York-based production company Vachon co-owns with partners Pamela Koffler and Katie Roume - are the real deal.
Focus on Christine Vachon reflects the daring, singular stamp of Vachon's vision, which has seen her build a reputation as an 'auteur producer', known for bringing offbeat and frequently subversive stories of transgressive sexuality and sexual politics to an international arthouse audience.
Focus on Christine Vachon includes three features by first-time directors that confirmed Vachon as a creative producer unafraid to push the envelope, and who possesses an uncanny knack for spotting hot new filmmaking talent. Often described, somewhat controversially, as landmarks, in 'New Queer Cinema', these debut films were Poison, a confronting triptych of horror stories from debut feature director Todd Haynes; Tom Kalin's Swoon (1992), a daring feature about the real-life sensational story of two wealthy, Jewish teenage boys convicted of the 'thrill killing' of 13 year-old Bobby Franks; and Rose Troche's hip 'lesbian rom-com' Go Fish (1994).
Poison won the Grand Jury Prince at 1991 Sundance while simultaneously attracting public vitriol from right wing critics who denounced it, sight unseen, as 'gay porn' and attacking the National Endowment for the Arts (NEA) for their funding of the project. A resultant NEA news conference organised to publicly defend the film and their decision to fund it, fanned the flames and the resultant mass media coverage across America propelled the film (and Haynes name) well beyond the film festival and single-cinema release circuit.
Vachon has since gone on to produce all of Haynes subsequent films including Safe, Velvet Goldmine and the Academy Award nominated Far From Heaven, all screening in Focus on Christine Vachon along with the early Haynes short Dottie Gets Spanked, a stylised, bittersweet nod to Haynes childhood fascination with I Love Lucy.
Focus on Christine Vachon will also include special previews of two new feature films: The Notorious Bettie Page, the latest feature from Mary Harron (I Shot Andy Warhol ) about '50s pin-up girl Bettie Page; and Mrs Harris, a HBO production based on a real-life murder case, starring Annette Bening in an Emmy-nominated role as Jean Harris, the jilted headmistress of a posh girl's school who kills her lover, "Scarsdale Diet" guru Dr. Herman Tarnower (Ben Kinglsey).
Other films screening in Focus on Christine Vachon include: Office Killer, the debut feature from internationally renowned photographer and artist Cindy Sherman; Larry Clark's controversial Kids; Mary Harron's I Shot Andy Warhol; Todd Solondz's Happiness; Kimberley Pierce's Boy's Don't Cry, featuring Hilary Swank in a compelling Oscar-winning performance as transgendered teen Brandon Teena; Hedwig and the Angry Inch, John Cameron Mitchell's screen adaptation of his highly successful off-Broadway musical and Rose Troche's third feature The Safety of Objects.
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