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’Kill Your Darlings’ producer on campus

Film producer Christine Vachon shared words of wisdom with Emerson filmmakers on October 7, shortly before her film, Kill Your Darlings, was screened as part of the twice-weekly Bright Lights Series in the Bright Family Screening Room at the Paramount Center.

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Kill Your Darlings producer Christine Vachon spoke with Emerson students during a screening event for the film October 7 in the Paramount Center. (Photo by Nick Eaton '17)

Kill Your Darlings, released last year (with cast members Daniel Radcliffe, Michael C. Hall, David Cross, and Jennifer Jason Leigh), is a biographical drama about a 1944 murder that draws together the great poets of the time, including Allen Ginsberg, William Burroughs, and Jack Kerouac.

Vachon, whose credits include Boys Don’t Cry, One Hour Photo, and Far From Heaven, also spoke about the Horizon Award, a program she recently helped launch that connects young female filmmakers with mentorship from industry leaders at the Sundance Film Festival.

In an interview before her campus appearance, Vachon said, “it’s a time of incredible opportunity” for aspiring filmmakers.

“If you want to be telling stories, you can,” Vachon said. “You can do it with [a smartphone]. You can post it and your friends will all see it, along with some people who aren't your friends. It's a lot easier than it was. I think the hard thing is figuring out what part of it really interests you.”

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Christine Vachon speaking with students in the Bright Family Screening Room of the Paramount Center on October 7. (Photo by Nick Eaton '17)

What has improved for women in the film industry?

“In terms of the actual film sets themselves, that’s changed completely,” she said. “Thirty years ago, you'd say, ‘Hey, I heard there was a girl gaffer on that movie.’  And now, it’s super-common for film crews to be very mixed. In terms of women really directing, the statistics aren't that great and I think it’s better in TV. It seems to be a little bit easier since a lot of women want to have families. In television, it’s maybe a little bit easier to have hours that aren't as insane. But in the feature film world, it's not that great.”

What motivated you to help launch the Horizon Award?

“Really, just those statistics (which say of the 250 highest money-making movies in the United States in 2012, only 9 percent had women directors). Cassian Elwes [producer of Dallas Buyers Club] approached me and said, ‘Did you see those statistics? They're so terrible and this [award] is something we can do about it.’”

What advice would you give to aspiring women filmmakers?

“I would say be very open. Walk through different doors that open. Don't get too obsessed and believe there has to be one specific path. I know a lot of people in undergraduate film programs…tend to be on a writer/producer track, and [think] there is nothing else.”

What inspired you to produce Kill Your Darlings?

“I just read the script and loved it. That’s usually what it is for me.”