CULTURE

Wanted: Original, exciting films

Christine Vachon, president of the jury of the Thessaloniki International Film Festival which is currently under way and runs to November 26, is intimately connected to the development of modern independent American cinema. Within the past 11 years, Vachon has participated in the production of some 30 feature films with her company Killer Films. Killer contributions Among those are Kimberly Peirce’s «Boys Don’t Cry,» which earned Hilary Swank an Academy Award; Todd Haynes’s «Far From Heaven;» John Cameron Mitchell’s «Hedwig and the Angry Inch;» Larry Clark’s «Kids;» and Mary Harron’s «I Shot Andy Warhol.» Vachon’s work with Killer Films has established her as one of the pillars of progressive cinema today and she was recently honored with a retrospective exhibition at New York’s Museum of Modern Art. The American producer has also received a slew of awards for her work as an activist, particularly on human and gay rights issues. Prior to her arrival in Thessaloniki from New York, where she lives and works, Vachon spoke to Kathimerini about the criteria she applies when selecting films and on the future of cinema. «Whether we like it or not, the future of cinema will be less and less on film and the public’s experience of it will increasingly take place within the home,» she says. «I have a feeling that the trend will be for us to watch fewer movies at the theater and that more movies will come out directly on DVD. How will studios make a profit from this? If this is how things turn out, studios will find another way to make the films profitable,» she added. What criteria does Vachon use when selecting films for her production company and what will she be looking for in Thessaloniki? «This is the first time I will serve as president of a jury and I am very excited. I’m hoping to see original, exciting films. I would like to see the work of directors I don’t know. In the United States, we don’t often have the opportunity to see films from Europe,» she admitted. «The criteria in Thessaloniki will be the same as for the movies I produce. I want to see original ideas, sometimes provocative ones, that also have potential commercially. The audience has become mature enough to accept provocative films. The more good movies are out there, the greater the audience’s expectations become,» she added. No crisis On the current crisis that appears to be facing independent American film production, Vachon is optimistic. «Every two years or so people say that independent cinema is no longer as interesting as it used to be or it is becoming more dependent,» she said. «Then, suddenly, a movie comes along out of nowhere and wows everyone. There is always something new to be said and I hope that somewhere out there, there is a new, powerful cinema being developed that I know nothing about,» she added.