Christine Vachon on the state of independent films and why she loves working with first-time directors "Creating the story they really want to tell"

Christine Vachon on the state of independent films and why she loves working with first-time directors “Creating the story they really want to tell”

Christine Vachon’s work at Killer Films, the state of independent cinema and working with first-time directors were among the topics addressed by the veteran independent filmmaker at a tribute dinner in her honor at the 57th Karlovy Vary International Film Festival on Sunday.

With this year’s edition of the major Czech film festival paying homage to her, Vachon shared insights and anecdotes with a select audience of cocktail-dressed guests at the spa town’s Grandhotel Pupp. The hotel served as the location for the James Bond film Casino Royale (in which it was featured as Hotel Splendide) and was cited as the inspiration for the Grand Budapest Hotel in Wes Anderson’s film of the same name.

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Several questions during a short conversation at the start of the event focused on Vachon’s priorities and the work of his production company Killer Films. “We’re known for working with first-time directors, and it’s something I really love to do,” shared Vachon. “It’s really easy to get very cynic in this business, and that cynicism is incredibly destructive. Novice filmmakers tend to make the story they really want to tell, and their joy…in what they do is something that excites me.

When asked about the Killer Films brand, Vachon said the company makes films that “we believe are truly original, provocative and really have something to say,” while also noting that the different tastes she and co-founder Pamela Koffler bring to the table ensure “miscellaneous projects”. Her conclusion: “I feel that what we do is very eclectic.”

Expanding on the taste difference between the two partners, she explained: “Our tastes are quite different. I don’t think it’s so nice to work with someone who has identical tastes, because, you know, why bother?

When asked about the state of the independent cinema space and whether it is in danger of extinction, Vachon replied, “A lot of people have been dancing on the grave of independent cinema for a long time,” stating, “It certainly hasn’t gotten harder to create content necessarily.

Vachon acknowledged, however, that independent cinema was facing key issues that the entire industry is debating: “What is the future of cinema? What does this mean for the kind of stories you want to tell? His conclusion: “What we’re really looking at now is what’s going to happen to the adult-led drama? And have people just decided they’d rather watch it at home? And what gives something that sense of urgency to send you to the theater to see it?

Questioning Vachon on Sunday evening was Leo Barraclough, writer of Varietywhich, just like The Hollywood Reporteris owned by Penske Media Corporation.

A wider audience will be able to hear Vachon during a masterclass on Monday which is part of the second day of the Karlovy Vary festival’s Eastern Promises Industry Days programme.

Vachon isn’t the only big name in the spotlight at the festival. Russell Crowe, Alicia Vikander and Ewan McGregor have already been honored with lifetime achievement awards during the first two days of this year’s edition.

Robin Wright will follow at the end of the 2023 event. The Karlovy Vary Film Festival runs until July 8.